Grace Prep recently lost a legend in Coach and Athletic Director in Richie Alfred, who retired this previous school year. With the positions vacant, the school needed someone to step in and fill these roles. The perfect person for the job was Coach Duke.
Coach Duke was a former student athlete at Grace Prep and attended the school most of his life. Being a former student athlete, he knew the expectations of the school, the athletic department, and was very familiar with the model.
Duke says,“I always kind of pegged the Grace Prep job as a sort of dream job or a job that’s right up there at the top of my lists for jobs… I went to Grace Prep for elementary school, middle school, and high school… As soon as I first heard it was open I knew I wanted to apply for it.”
While at Grace Prep, Duke played on the basketball team throughout middle and high school. He had a great coach, who was a mentor to him, and helped him develop as a player, person, and also helped prepare him for his job today.
Duke says, “Coach Ray spanned basically my whole time at Grace Prep and he is one of those guys I have a great relationship with just because we spent so much time together and we also grew together; him as a coach and me as a player.”
One of the challenges Duke has encountered his first year has been navigating the difficulties of COVID-19. He has set up many safety protocols and established a theme for the year to help our student athletes stay safe and succeed this year.
Duke says, “One thing we have nailed down is our theme which is together. We are better together, not just on the field or court but in class or social interactions, we don’t want people to feel alone during this challenging time. To overcome this challenge we stress distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks… just personal hygiene safety. We are trying to give our student athletes the most normal experience we can.”
Duke is hoping to make a great impact this year at Grace Prep and is leading our students and teams to success.