High school football at Central A&M is changing this coming fall with the hiring of new head football coach Nate Graham.
The former head coach at CAM, Mark Ramsey, who is now the new head coach at Shelbyville, left CAM with a legacy that will not be forgotten. As head coach of the Raiders he went 293-93 with 24 playoff appearances, which included a state championship in 1997.
Graham was a graduate of Virden High School in 2004 and at Illinois College in 2008. He spent time as an assistant at Illinois College before his first head coaching position.
Graham has spent the last four seasons coaching Jacksonville Routt Catholic High School. Over those four seasons he finished with a 26-18 record while making the playoffs three straight years. Graham was also an assistant at Illinois College in 2008.
Graham said he was excited about this upcoming season as the Raiders new coach.
“I have family in the area. This is a great program. Why wouldn’t I want this job?,” Graham said.
Graham had a lot on his plate at Routt. He was athletic director, dean of students, taught physical education, and of course the head football coach. At CAM he is only signed to coach football and teach physical education.
Graham said he knows there comes pressure being the head coach because of expectations, but it is fine the community is football driven.
“You have to take things one play at a time. You can’t look down the road to far. You have to worry about what’s in front of you,” Graham said.
When asked about what it would take to beat the powerhouse teams in the Okaw Valley Conference, Graham was as positive as you can possibly be.
“Beating the best comes down to doing the little things right and not giving the other teams a second chance,” Graham said.
Even though Graham has family in the area it was still a big change for him. He said that assistant coach Mike Conlin has been the person to really help his transition be as smooth as possible.
He said the main thing he wants to teach his players by the time they graduate from high school is to make sure they are ready to be successful in life and ready to serve the community.
The team’s football schedule has not been released yet, but expect CAM to be a tough team as usual to beat this fall.