Marvin Graham took over as the interim men’s basketball coach for Atlantic Cape Community College in January.
On Wednesday, Graham got to drop the interim label.
Atlantic Cape named Graham coach Wednesday, but he said he never felt as though the position was guaranteed.
“It was interesting,” Graham, 51, said. “You don’t know you have something until you actually have it. I was still doing the head coaching duties as I was supposed to do, regardless if I ended up getting the coaching job or not. I still had that responsibility as the active head coach, and I continued with that role. When I finally got it, it was a relief.”
Andrew Fields, who was in his third season as head coach at Atlantic Cape, was involved in a car accident in January and was unable to return to coach.
The Buccaneers finished 2-20 last season. Graham, who resides in Egg Harbor Township, was in his first season with the team as an assistant coach.
Graham had been directly involved with recruitment for the team as an assistant, and he is looking to improve upon last season’s record.
“I have great expectations,” Graham said. “We got some good recruits coming in. I’ve told them to work on their defense, and we’re in constant communication. They know what to do, and they know what to expect from me as the coach.”
Graham played basketball at Atlantic City High School, where he graduated from in 1983. He moved on to coach local Police Athletic League and Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams in the 1980s. He’s currently working at AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center in Pomona.
“Coach Graham is an excellent recruiter,” Atlantic Cape Community College Assistant Athletic Director Michael Rennick said in a statement. “His connections with the area’s schools and youth programs will bring players to our program. And I really like his approach to the game. Basketball coaching is no longer just X's and O's. It's about team chemistry and positively motivating our student-athletes. Marv is a positive role model and will be a good manager of the various personalities of our players.”
Outside of athletic ability, Graham also stresses the importance of a player’s character on and off the court.
“I look at how they play and how they conduct themselves,” Graham said. “I look to see how they interact with the coach and other players. Bad attitude is gonna rub off on other players.
“I believe that my players are student-athletes first. Grades and conduct are very important, and that’s the message that I relay to them.”