Faculty Spotlight: Coach Gray


Ever been to a Cherokee 7th grade basketball game and seen a coach who seems to never stop yelling and is always into the game? Or maybe heard students talk about a PE coach who they can’t get enough of? This is Coach Gray, a teacher of 30 years at Cherokee who is retiring after this year. Coach Gray teaches many classes and coaches in different sports that will be discussed later in the article.

Coach Gray started teaching at Cherokee in 1988. He started out as a PE and health teacher. He was first asked to teach golf, which he turned down. When the Outdoor Awareness club began a couple of years later, Coach Gray ran it. Later it was turned into a semester class. Coach Gray told me that Outdoor Awareness has enough material in it that it could be an all-year class, but wasn’t possible at Cherokee. Coach Gray’s favorite part about Outdoor Awareness is that a lot of students will never experience the different things they do again.

Coach Gray also coaches various sports. He coaches basketball, track, and a new sport this year, archery. He also coached the Kickapoo baseball team called Legion. They are now known as Tribe. Coach Gray assisted the head coach for the 8th-grade basketball team for two or three years. He then began coaching 7th-grade boys basketball. He started coaching girls basketball a couple of years later. He said he doesn’t have a favorite, and that they both have their strengths. For track, he was the head coach for five years and then assisted for seven, for a total of twelve years in track. He has coached discus, shot put, and relays and now coaches high jump. Coach Gray told me that his favorite part of coaching is “working with young kids and seeing them develop both on the court and off the court.”

Coach Gray lives in Marshfield, and he grew up on the west side of Springfield. He attended St. Agnes for elementary and middle school and Central for high school. When he was younger, he wanted to be a professional baseball player, He has a wife and two kids, and his favorite pastime is spending time with his family. He also enjoys bird and more hunting and fishing.

Coach Gray has been a wonderful part of the staff here at Cherokee. Whenever the topic of Coach Gray comes up, everyone only has good things to say about his PE coaching, sports coaching, and teaching. It will be sad to see him go, but I think everyone who has had him agrees he has earned his retirement! Thank you, Coach Gray, for your contribution to our middle school lives and for making Cherokee a better place.