The USD 435 Abilene School Board approved Erik Graefe to be the next head boys’ basketball coach on Friday. Coach Graefe served under Terry Taylor the last six years as the Junior Varsity coach and prior to that he was the 8th grade coach.
Graefe was part of a staff that helped guide the Cowboys to a 3rd Place finish at 4A State Tournament in 2017. It was the highest finish for an Abilene team since 1992. The Cowboys also won the NCKL all six seasons while he coached under Taylor. This year Abilene finished 14-8 overall and won the league outright with a 9-1 record. Graefe’s J.V. teams compiled an 80-21 combined record and the varsity went a remarkable 100-33 and 53-6 in the NCKL during his time on the staff.
Basketball has always been a way of life in the Graefe family. His father, Bin was an All-League player at Casper Community College and finished his playing career at Northern Colorado. Bin would then go on to coach at four community colleges Casper, Colby, Central Wyoming and Coffeyville and is a member of the Colby Hall of Fame.
The three Graefe brothers followed in their father’s footsteps. Troy, the oldest, played at Northern Colorado and is the current coach at Greeley Central High School in Colorado. Mike, the middle child, was an All-Big Sky player at Idaho State. He was invited to the Phoenix Suns rookie camp and played one season in the CBA. He went on to coach for several years, and is now the Athletic Director at Meridian High School in Boise ID.
Erik played at Riverton High School in Wyoming and then played two seasons of college basketball at Central Wyoming under his father. Afterwards, Coach Graefe attended Kansas State University where he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees by 1999. During graduate school and after, Coach Graefe taught undergraduate Speech classes at Kansas State University.
Coach Graefe began his coaching career in 1986 at St. Steven’s Indian School in Ethete, Wyoming, where he coached one year. During his time in Manhattan, he spent one season as a Freshman coach for Coach Taylor. He would then later take over the 8th Grade program at Abilene Middle School in the 2007-08 season. Graefe guided the Longhorns to two NCKL tournament titles in his eight seasons. In 2014-15 coach Graefe again joined the AHS coaching staff as a Junior Varsity Coach.
In addition to coaching, Graefe has been a spiritual leader in our community and surrounding communities. He has served as the pastor at New Basel UCC in Southern Dickinson County, and taught classes for the Ecumenical Ministry at Kansas State University. He is currently the pastor at Zion UCC in Junction City .