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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lee: Coaches accept good, bad when kids play sports

Eastern Washington University defensive coordinator John Graham has taken in three Cheney games this fall.

It’s not that he has his eye on some prized recruit, but he does have a vested interest. Make that two vested interests – sons Andrew and Ty play for the Blackhawks.

They more than play, too. Andrew, a senior, is a two-year starter at quarterback and sees considerable action at safety. Ty, a sophomore, is also a two-way player.

Graham has been able to watch three of his sons’ games in person this fall. He’s slightly distracted from the job that puts meat and potatoes on the table. He’ll get to see them one more time, the final game of the regular season, Nov. 7 against Clarkston.

“The hardest part of the job is not getting to see your kids play,” said Graham, who is in his sixth season at EWU after 13 seasons at Central Washington. “But they’ve grown up in it. That’s all they know is me doing this.”

Graham has gone so far as to think about a new career.

“We’ve had conversations about me doing other things so I could be around more,” Graham said. “They love being around the college game and being a part of what we do. It’s a family thing.”

They were in Frisco, Texas, in early 2011, when EWU won the national title in a wild comeback against Delaware. So there are perks for the boys.

“They’ve gotten to see some cool stadiums and see some big-time games,” Graham said. “They were on the stage with me (at Frisco) when we were presented the championship trophy. That was probably the coolest thing.”

Graham’s younger brother, Nate, is the quarterbacks/running backs coach at Gonzaga Prep.

This football and coaching thing is in the genes.

The Grahams grew up in Reardan where dad, Dan, was a longtime football coach. He led the Indians to State B-11 championships in 2002 and 2003. He was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008.

Graham has the most pity for his wife, Becky.

“She’s the one that really gets stretched getting the boys where they need to be and our (fifth-grade) daughter to soccer,” Graham said.

They wouldn’t trade the activity, though, for anything else.

This and that

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the Louie-McGee brothers from Lake City play on the football field this fall, you’re missing a treat. The Native Americans are in their third year playing at LC after moving from the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. They fly around the field with reckless abandon. LC plays host to Coeur d’Alene on Friday in a game that should decide the 5A Inland Empire League title. … Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos anticipates undergoing his first chemotherapy treatment Thursday – the day before the big showdown across town. The first word of his cancer was reported here last week. “If you’re going to have cancer, it’s the cancer to have,” Amos said of his strain of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “It’s the most treatable and curable.” … If you’ve picked up on the fact that there’s something different about Lake City coach Van Troxel on game nights, then you’re spot on. He’s walking back and forth on the sidelines with the usual headset on, but he’s not carrying the usual clipboard or calling the plays. This year, in an effort to run a hurry-up offense, Troxel, in his 35th year as a head coach, has turned over play-calling to former defensive coordinator Russ Blank, who is upstairs in the press box. He sends the play down to assistant Wade McGee, father of the Louie-McGee boys, and he signals it to his son, Tucker, the quarterback. Now that doesn’t mean Troxel is without input. He maintains veto power.

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