Graham tallied 1,042 points, 732 rebound, 295 assists, 156 steals and 115 blocks in 110 collegiate games wearing navy and white. Additionally, she received several individual team awards (MVP, Hustle Award and Defensive MVP) during her four-year, injury-free career as a Knight.
Academically, Graham was a four-time member of the SUNYAC Commissioner’s List/All-Academic Team, and received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, which honors State University of New York students who best demonstrate and are recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives.
Graham’s leadership abilities and work ethic are a perfect fit for the professional expectations and demands which come with her new head coaching position.
“Melissa has been with us for the last two years in her graduate assistant role within our department and has shown a great work ethic and passion for Hilbert athletics,” said John Czarnecki, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “As a young up-and-coming talent in the collegiate coaching world, I am confident in her ability to lead this program to new heights and we all look forward to great things from Melissa.”
The Orchard Park native has been able to balance her graduate studies at SUNY Buffalo along with her role as the Agricultural Policy Advisor for Senator Patrick Gallivan, who represents New York State’s 59th district. She somehow found the energy to serve at her alma mater, Mt. Mercy Academy, as the varsity lacrosse coach as well as an assistant coach to their basketball and soccer teams while coaching a 15U Buffalo Titans AAU team for the past two springs. Additionally, Graham was a graduate assistant within the Hilbert College athletic department for two years providing sports information support and coordinating game-day game management coverage.
In just her second season as the lacrosse head coach at Mt. Mercy, she transformed the 2015 team (winless for three straight seasons) to an 8-4 record (3rd place) and a program-first appearance in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association play-offs. The Magic’s basketball program recorded 41 wins and 12 losses over the past two seasons with her contributions on the sidelines. Mt. Mercy collected a Catholic Class B New York State title in 2014 with an appearance in the NYS Federation tournament and was runner-up in the Monsignor Martin Class A championship game in 2015.
Rest is not in her vocabulary proved by her Sunday volunteer hours at her church helping young Catholics prepare for their confirmation.
Graham’s involvement in the Geneseo community as an undergrad provided the framework for her success. She was a two-year Resident Assistant, a GOLD Leadership Program peer mentor and served as the co-chairperson for the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Graham was a guest speaker at local Rotary Club, College Council, Chamber of Commerce and Alumni Council functions and attended several leadership conferences prior to her graduation in 2013.
Graham graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree majoring in biology with a minor in environmental studies and psychology while being named to the Dean’s List five semesters. She is currently enrolled in the Psychology master’s program at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she studies aggression and impulsivity in athletes. She has plans of becoming a doctoral candidate in June 2016.