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Three with Yale Ties to Enter New England Basketball Hall of Fame

Earl "Butch" Graves '84
Earl "Butch" Graves '84

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Two Yale graduates, Earl “Butch” Graves ’84 and Karen Yarasavage ’87, as well as former Bulldogs’ coach and current administrator Amy Backus have been selected for induction into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Graves and Yarasavage are being honored for their playing careers at Yale, while Backus is being recognized for her efforts as head women’s basketball coach at Middlebury (Vt.) College.

Graves, the captain of the 1983-84 Bulldogs, is Yale’s all-time leading scorer with 2,090 career points and is one of only four players in Ivy League history to amass over 2,000 points. The two-time All-Ivy honoree was selected in the third round of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and played professionally with the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Graves, who received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale, is the president and CEO of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. He received the 2009 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, an award presented annually since 1973 to former student-athletes whose collegiate careers ended 25 years ago and who have gone on to excel in their chosen professions.

Yarasavage was the team leader in field goal percentage in her freshman season and stills hold the program record for career field goal percentage at .615. She also led the Bulldogs in rebounding in 1986-87. As a senior, she was team captain, a first team All-Ivy selection and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Yarasavage graduated with a degree in psychology as a member of the Class of 1987.

Always a strong supporter of the Yale women’s basketball program, her legacy was recognized in 2006 with the institution of the Karen Yarasavage Award at the annual year-end team banquet. The award is presented annually to the player who most displays the attributes of grit and determination, Karen’s trademarks.

As head coach at Division III Middlebury College from 1987-94, Amy Backus racked up a career record of 106-41. She led her 1992-93 Panthers’ squad to the ECAC New England Division III Championship, earning the NEWBA Coach of the Year Award in the process. Her 1993-94 team fell one win shy of claiming a second ECAC Title.

Backus has earned additional recognition from the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for her association with the women’s basketball program at Middlebury College, which will receive the Scholar-Athlete Honor Program Award. The award is given annually to one intercollegiate women’s program and one intercollegiate men’s program that has continually combined excellence on the court with distinguished undergraduate academic achievement and post-graduate career success.

Backus, who played collegiately at Central Michigan University, coached the Yale women’s basketball team for six seasons from 1999-2005. She currently serves as Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance & Varsity Sports at Yale.

The New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Oct. 9 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity