JTHS Alumni Spotlight: Tim Graf, Joliet East Class of ‘76
Career & Education At-a-Glance
- Indiana University
- 2006 IDOC Teach of the Year
Joliet East High School Alumnus Tim Graf (’76) sets a positive example on how one’s education can be used to empower others. Graf has dedicated his time after high school to serve the local community through a variety of ways as an educator, athlete, and entrepreneur.
Throughout his time at Joliet East, Graf worked hard and took advantage of the opportunities available to him. His favorite high school experience by far was being on the Track Team. Tim first started his long track and field career by taking 1st place in Illinois for the 100M dash in 1976. His passion for athletics continues to this day.
Reflecting on those busy high school days, Graf recalled having supportive teachers in his life and said, “I was especially inspired by Mr. Bruce Tomkins. He made me work for everything like I'd have to in college!”
With that said, Graf continued to persevere and continued his education and his track career at Indiana University and competing in Division 1 NCAA competition. While at Indiana University, Graf was the Big Ten 300-yard champion in 1978 and 1979, Big Ten champion in the 100M dash, and the Big Ten Conference champion in the 4x100M relay in 1979 and 1980. Tim Graf also completed the 1980 US Olympic Trials in the 200M dash.
From 1996 to 2006, Graf was the Masters Track All-American in the 100M, 200M and 400M dashes. In 2004 Tim was the Masters National runner-up in the 100M and 200M dashes. In 2012, Tim took 3rd place in the Masters Nationals 60M dash and took first place in the 4x200M relay, and in the Outdoor Masters Nationals, took 6th place in the 100M and 4th place in the 200M.
Tim founded Graf Speed Enhancement in 1988 and was the first speed and agility program in the United States. Since then, Tim has trained several NFL, MLB, NBA, MSL and LAX professional players. Currently he is training the Olympic players for softball and track and the National High School Rugby Team.
In addition, Graf has had a successful career working as a teacher at the Stateville Correctional Center, teaching pre-GED and GED to inmates. Graf’s commitment to teaching resulted in his recognition as the 2006 IDOC Teacher of the Year.
When asked for advice for current students, Graf says, “Work hard, put down your phone and learn through interacting with people.”