A deathly silence had fallen upon the Metamora weight room.
Danny Grieves had just done a Friday news dump: the Metamora boys basketball coach revealed he will retire following this season. He was originally set to step away from coaching after the 2024-25 season, but decided the end of this season was time to end his 44-year career.
“You could hear a pin drop,” he said, noting he told his players and staff after a strength and conditioning session this past weekend. “I told them, ‘It’s just time my time to go.’ ”
Grieves has led Metamora to back-to-back 30-wins seasons the past two years, as the Redbirds won the 2023 Class 3A state championship and finished as state runner-up in 2022. Metamora also has had nine 20-plus win seasons under Grieves, as well as a 33-game win streak over the last two years.
His teams have four regional championships and made the 2018 3A Elite Eight. He credits assistants Justin Dehm, Mike Brockhouse, Jordan Dehm and Patrick Vaughan for being great ambassadors of the program.
“Sometimes you just know it’s your time,” said Grieves, who just turned 65 and says he’s still in good health, “so it’s just my time to get out. … I don’t have quite as much energy as I used to. Man, I got some really good young coaches that are just hungry as they can be.
“I got a great staff. Therein lies our success, so the right people are still in line to take it over and do well.”
The 1976 Peoria High grad was hired in June 2011 by former Metamora superintendent Randy Toepke. During the interview, Grieves was told that he shouldn’t have the same expectations that he had in Mississippi where he had just won a state championship.
That’s when the three-and-half-hour interview almost abruptly ended.
“You got the wrong guy for the job then,” Grieves recalls telling the hiring committee, “because that’s what I’m going to do every day in preparation to try and get to that pinnacle and that point.
“It took a while to get there. It’s kind of cool we got there in the state championship game twice.”
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The one-time Peoria Notre Dame head coach will stick around the area, while also retiring at the end of the school year from teaching physical education. Grieves will be able to be a fan instead of a coach to his grandson, Ashton Grieves, for his senior season at Metamora.
But for now, the elder Grieves’ focus can be on this year’s team and not worrying about the future of Metamora basketball.
“It’ll be the funnest year I’ve had in a while,” Grieves said. “… Now all’s we got to do is worry about getting better and having fun.
“This is a fun bunch. We could get pretty decent.”
Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.