Four-time Olympian Todd Graves (Cusseta, Ga.) has been selected by USA Shooting as the National Shotgun Coach the organization announced Wednesday on the heels of its Fall Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas.
Graves will oversee a program that has won six medals including four gold in the last two Olympic Games. In London 2012, Team USA earned two gold medals as Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) and Vincent Hancock (USAMU/Eatonton, Ga.) won Olympic gold in convincing, record-breaking fashion.
With more than 37 years of shooting and coaching experience, Graves will work to build upon the program’s success in recent years. He’ll implement a variety of shooting camps for elite-level and developmental shooters in the coming months and is keen on working with coaches throughout the country that can provide influence, expertise and variety for all different levels of shooters within the National Team program.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to help lead USA Shooting’s Shotgun program,” said Graves. “The depth of our program continues to be demonstrated at the Olympics, World Championships and World Cups and is truly a testament to the dedication of the shooters we have and to the coaches and programs that nurture them. My intent is to work with the coaches and shooters to strengthen our approach and to ensure that we’re developing opportunities, techniques and programs that allow us to continue to be the world’s elite shotgun team.”
“We are lucky for Todd’s willingness to give back to a USA Shooting program he helped grow as an athlete and to provide our program with the knowledge and passion he possesses for this sport,” said USA Shooting CEO Bob Mitchell. “His team-first approach and willingness to seek help and guidance from those within the shooting-sports community will be a positive influence to a program we hope can continue to grow and develop in order to stay competitive.”
Graves began his shooting career as a 12-year-old and quickly became one of the most dominant skeet shooters in the history of USA Shooting. He earned a spot on four U.S. Olympic Teams including 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Graves won the bronze medal in men’s skeet to join Nancy Johnson as the only Americans to win shooting medals at the Sydney Games. At the time, Graves and Matt Dryke were the only Americans to have ever won an Olympic skeet medal.
Graves finished 11th in trap and 29th in skeet in 1992, 15th in skeet in 1996, and ninth in 2004 to finish out his Olympic shooting career.
Graves was raised in Laurel, Miss., and graduated from West Jones High School in 1982. Todd enlisted in the Army in 1984 and was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) after he completed Basic and Infantry Training at Fort Benning, Ga. In 1990, he was assigned as a team leader with the 20th Infantry Regiment in Korea, then returned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in 1991.
Assisting Graves with overall program management and helping oversee the resident program in Colorado Springs is 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in Rifle, Wanda Jewell. Jewell was previously the Operations Manager for the organization.
Image courtesy USA Shooting