CR graduate Gravatt to lead Riders’ baseball team

 

CAMDEN — Long before Jeff Gravatt came along, his dad was a member of the Caesar Rodney High baseball program.

Kevin Gravatt played on the Riders’ state championship squad in 1975.

“My dad likes to tell all kinds of stories about his journey through the program under his coach, Joe Vrudny,” said Jeff Gravatt. “He especially likes to bring up the fact that he was a member of the only state championship baseball team.”

But now the younger Gravatt is going to see if he can help bring CR another state title.

The 27-year-old Gravatt was recently hired as the Riders’ head baseball coach. He replaces Rich Szvitich, who retired after leading CR for the past eight seasons.

A 2008 Caesar Rodney grad, Gravatt was a team captain for the Riders before playing at Delaware State. He’s been an assistant coach in CR’s program for the past eight years.

Jeff Gravatt

Jeff Gravatt

Besides his dad, Gravatt has deep roots in the district. Not only do his parents, including his mom, Rebecca, work in the district, but so do several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Gravatt’s uncle, Darrell, coaches the Riders’ soccer programs. Jeff Gravatt is in his fifth year as a driver’s ed teacher at the high school.

“The Caesar Rodney school district is very special not only to me but my entire family,” said Gravatt. “When people hear ‘Gravatt,’ they think CR. My family bleeds blue and gold.”

As for his father, Gravatt said, “He helped build the tradition that I am looking to continue. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Gravatt also has experience with travel-ball programs, coaching with both the Delaware Blue Hens and First State Hornets.

Under Szvitich, CR went 92-61 with four state tournament appearances. The Riders reached the DIAA state semifinals in 2010.

But CR finished only 7-11 last spring and has missed the state tourney each of the last two seasons. The Riders had just five seniors on last year’s roster.

“I am very excited to lead this program,” said Gravatt. “Our players are a very motivated bunch. We have a great group of guys who are committed to excellence not only on the diamond but in the classroom as well.”

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