FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne Komets announced Tuesday that Gary Graham has been named as the club’s new head coach. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. As per team policy, terms of the contract will not be disclosed.
"I’m extremely proud of this opportunity the Komet organization has given me," Graham said. "We will begin a new chapter of Komet hockey with a lot of new faces, but the identity of this team will be simple; total commitment to getting better each and every day. We will bring a fast, young, hungry team into the Coliseum that our great fans can be proud of. There is no other team in hockey I would rather be coaching than the Fort Wayne Komets.”
Graham replaces Al Sims, who announced his retirement after the 2012-13 season.
"Gary is the right coach at the right time for the Komets," Komet president Michael Franke said. "He knows the Komet way of doing business and will be a tremendous asset to the Komet organization."
Graham is returning to the Komets after guiding Pensacola last season to the Ice Flyers first Southern Professional Hockey League Championship. The Ice Flyers finished 2012-13 with a 33-18-5 record and 71 points, two points shy of capturing the regular season title. It was the first time Pensacola skated to a regular season winning percentage over .600 (.634) since joining the SPHL in 2009-10.
The 2013 SPHL Presidents’ Cup Title was Graham’s fourth career league crown. Before his stint with Pensacola, Graham collected three league championships in four seasons as an assistant coach with the Komets (earned league titles in 2009, 2010, 2012).
Prior to Graham’s first tenure with the Komets, the Fort Wayne native enjoyed success as head coach of the Indiana Jr. Ice Tier 1 team, guiding the Ice to a 38-17-3 record in the Midwest Elite League during 2008-09 before serving as associate coach for the USHL Clark Cup Champion Indiana Ice.
Graham, 34, majored in Exercise Science at Ball State University and resides in Fort Wayne with his children Connor and Isabella.