Pekin boys basketball coach Jeff Walraven took time out Saturday night from talking about his team’s win to discuss a loss.
The mother of Metamora coach Danny Grieves died early Saturday morning, but Grieves was in Metamora’s gym to participate in Senior Night festivities and coach his team in its Mid-Illini Conference game against Pekin.
Pekin beat Metamora 59-55.
“We have nothing but respect for Coach Grieves, and what he did (Saturday),” Walraven said. “I’m sure his team is like our team. We’re an extended family. I have no doubt Coach Grives’ players and coaches are helping him cope with a tough time.”
Grives’ mother Val Grieves, 86, died at 1:31 a.m. Saturday in the Snyder Village nursing home in Metamora. Grieves said his mother had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease “and is now in a better place.”
The coach missed Metamora’s 51-49 win Friday night over Dunlap. He said he’s certain his mother wanted him to be in the Metamora gym on Senior Night, and coaching helped his grieving.
“For a few hours (Saturday), after stepping through the gym doors, it was pure basketball, a game I love,” he said. “High school basketball players often rely on their coaches for strength. I relied on my players and coaching staff for strength (Saturday). I’m blessed to be working here.”
Val and Don Grieves, also deceased, had six children. They were married Oct. 23, 1954 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kickapoo.
Danny Grieves is the second Mid-Illini boys basketball coach whose mother died during the season. Washington coach Kevin Brown’s mother Patti, 67, died Jan. 24 after a three-month battle with cancer.