Thomas Graves ’83 played sweeper in soccer, center in basketball and both singles and doubles in tennis. But as a student-athlete during St. Andrew’s early years, his most important contribution to his teams may have been his unwavering pride in his school.
“To me he was one of those guys that was not afraid to play against anyone. He felt like his team could be just as good as anyone else’s,” said current Athletics Director Al Hightower. “He just represented St. Andrew’s.”
Graves, who graduated as an All-Met athlete and was recognized as St. Andrew’s Male Athlete of the Year, is among six alumni and one teacher/coach who will be inducted into the St. Andrew’s Athletic Hall of Fame this year. The inaugural class will be honored on Oct. 15 during a ceremony at the new Student Center.
“I feel honored,” Graves said. “I’m very proud and glad to have been an ambassador for my school and I will continue to try to do that.”
Under former coach Gabe Hodziewich—a fellow Hall of Fame inductee—Graves and the varsity soccer team took home the school’s first PVAC championships in 1982 and 1983.
“We always felt like we were kind of the underdog as a new school. We knew people from other private schools who had deep rosters—we did not,” Graves said. “No one expected us to do so well, but we did it.”
Hodziewich recalled Graves as a determined, competitive athlete who, after suffering an ankle injury, still took to the field every day.
“That’s the kind of kid he was,” Hodziewich said. “He was a real cheerleader on the team. He would get kids moving.”
Graves would go on to study at the U.S. Naval Academy after being recruited to play soccer. He served in the Navy for 22 years and then worked for the federal government. He is currently the Director of Grants Management for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
His connection to St. Andrew’s endures through his four children—Michael ‘09, Matthew ’10, Caroline ‘15, and Camille ‘21. Three of his children, Matthew, Caroline and Camille followed in his footsteps by playing soccer.
“It’s more fun to watch them than thinking about when I played back in high school,” Graves said.
He remains a cheerleader for the school—he said he always tells people how the school has grown over the years while remaining a welcoming, nurturing environment.
This doesn’t stop him, however, from joking with his children about how he had to play soccer on a baseball diamond before St. Andrew’s had a field of its own.
“St. Andrews has been very good for our family,” Graves said. “I’m proud I went there and proud my kids go there.”