Raffi Karibian will take over head coaching duties of the Granite City boys’ basketball team this winter. Karibian was the assistant coach of the boys’ program from 1998-2008.
After an eight-year hiatus, Raffi Karibian will be returning to the Granite City boys’ basketball program this winter.
This time, Karibian will be the head coach.
Karibian was hired to replace Steve Roustio to coach the Warriors for the 2016-2017 season. Roustio headed the boys’ program for eight years before resigning in March.
Karibian, a 1991 GCHS grad and a physical education teacher at the school, was named head coach during a Granite City Board of Education meeting on May 10.
“It’s very exciting to be named the head coach at Granite City High School,” Karibian said. “Obviously, when you play basketball and tennis at Granite City High School and you’re now the head coach of the sports that you played when you went to school here, it’s a thrill and you’re excited and you want to do well for your hometown and for your community.”
Now, Karibian is already making plans of preparing his team for next season. He takes over a Granite City team that finished 14-15 last year and lost key players such as Kenny Berry and brothers Tra’ and Ron Allen to graduation.
“First and foremost, I want to get to know my team a little bit,” Karibian said. “We started working out a little bit. We’ll get the summer practices going in June and July and we’re playing in a league on Tuesday nights and hopefully, we’ll get a little bit better and a little bigger and stronger to prepare for us for the fall workouts and upcoming winter season. As far as the season goes itself, we want to improve every day in practice and improve throughout the season and get the most possible wins we can.”
Karibian is also working on putting together a coaching staff for next winter.
“I’m going to retain coach (Brandon) Owens, who was on the staff last year,” Karibian said. “I’m trying to hire an assistant coach for the JV level, but he’s waiting on a position. In the junior high position, the eighth-grade coach just resigned, so we have to fill some spots there too as well.”
Karibian said he will continue head coaching duties for the boys’ tennis program. The Warriors’ boys tennis season came to an end on Friday at the Triad Sectional.
“As right now, I want to stay with the tennis position,” said Karibian, who has been the Warriors’ head tennis coach since 2006. “We’ll see how it goes and how my time is divided. Hopefully, I can do a well-enough job to where I can take care of both positions to the satisfaction of the school.”
Karibian’s last season with the Granite City boys’ program was in the 2007-2008 season, when he was assistant under Carl Luehmann. Karibian was assistant for the boys’ squad for 10 years, two under John Van Buskirk and eight under Luehmann.
“John Van Buskirk is like family to me,” Karibian said. “I owe him a lot for everything he did for me, getting me an education in coaching and starting me off playing tennis as a youth. He was one of my coaches in high school in basketball. After he resigned, coach Luehmann kept me on his staff and gave me an opportunity to be his assistant, which led me to getting opportunities to be a head coach. I owe those two gentlemen quite a bit.”
After the 2008 season, Karibian continued to coach basketball.
“I coached another year in junior high on the girls’ side and coached at UMSL for one year and I was head girls’ coach for four years (2010-2014) at GCHS,” Karibian said. “Last year, I got back into it helping a friend out in Missouri on the boys’ side a little bit, so I got my excitement level up a little bit and the opportunity (of GCHS boys’ basketball coach) came about this year and I ran with it.”
Follow #AdVsports on Twitter