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Raiders pick two coaches

ASHLAND — James Gravelle and Jose Chavez were named head softball and women's soccer coach, respectively, on Monday by Southern Oregon University Athletic Director Monty Cartwright in anticipation of both sports? introduction to the varsity level next school year.

Gravelle, a 1998 SOU graduate, compiled a 23-7 record over the past two seasons as the Raider club softball coach. His 2000 squad went 15-1, including seven victories over varsity opponents and a doubleheader sweep of regional small-college power Oregon Tech.

Gravelle, 26, was a cornerback on the Raiders? football team before moving to secondary coach in 1997.

He will lead SOU into its first intercollegiate softball competition 1982, when the program was eliminated due to campus-wide budget cuts.

This is a great opportunity both personally and professionally,?? said Gravelle in a statement released by the school. This program and area already has enough talent that we (SOU) could contend for a conference title right away.

Chavez, 33, is currently an assistant coach for the Houston Hurricanes professional men's soccer team, and he will return to Ashland in August to steer the Raiders into their first-ever intercollegiate season.

Chavez is a FIFA-certified coach and guided the Raiders women's junior varsity-level soccer teams the past two seasons.

A native of El Salvador who moved to Oregon in 1988, Chavez served as the head boys soccer coach at Rogue River High from 1990 until ?92.

The Chieftains totaled 31 wins against eight losses and three ties under Chavez, including a 1991 Skyline Conference title and an appearance in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

He returns nine players from his 1999 Raider team that went 7-2-1 with three wins over varsity programs.

A key for this program will be to take advantage of the excellent high school competitors in our area, said Chavez in a statement released by the school.