Thursday, July 26, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Longtime assistant wrestling coach Mike Craft has been hired as the head coach at Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga. for the 2012-13 season.
Craft served as the Heritage Generals assistant wrestling coach the past four years and was instrumental in helping coach the team to the Georgia AAA state traditional championship in February.
Craft replaces former head coach Kenny Hill who resigned after the 2011-12 season.
“I am excited to be the head coach of such a great program which I have been part of the past four years,” said Craft, who has also held the position of Team Heritage (USAW, AAU) Director/Head Coach for the past four years.
“I have worked under some outstanding head coaches which I feel has helped prepare me for this opportunity.”
In the first four years of the Heritage wrestling program (2009-12), the Generals were state runners-up in the duals (2011, 2012) and top three in the traditional three times prior to winning the 2012 state crown.
The Atlanta Metro area native was also an assistant coach at Ringgold High School for nine years as the Tigers won seven state wrestling championships (traditional and/or duals) from 2002-2008.
Craft also coached three years at Murray County (1989-91) under head coach Chuck Smith and worked with several wrestlers who won the 1992 state team title. Craft then moved to Westlake High School where he was athletics director and assistant wrestling coach prior to coaching at Ringgold.
A University of Georgia graduate in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in health/physical education and a master’s degree in 1988 in health/physical education-exercise science, Craft wrestled and ran track for Clarkston High School in Atlanta.
Craft has also been an assistant football coach at Murray County and Westlake and head boys soccer coach at Ringgold, is currently an assistant cross country coach at Heritage and has worked four summers at the Ken Chertow wrestling camps.
Craft’s assistant coach is Hardin Satterfield.
The Year of the New Coaches - Changing of the Guard
A few long time head coaches have retired in the last few years.
Here is a partial list of new head coaches in Tennessee and North Georgia and who they replaced
Mike Craft, Heritage (Ringgold, Ga.)... Kenny Hill (Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame)
Josh Mariakis, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe ... Donnie Weborn
Jacky Blosser, Clarksville ... Jeff Jordan (National Wrestling Hall of Fame)
Jake Yost, Cleveland ... Eric Phillips (led Cleveland to 2011 state traditional title)
Jim Higgins, Soddy Daisy ... Steve Henry (National Wrestling Hall of Fame)
Ben Smith, Bradley Central ... Steve Logsdon (Chattanoga Sports Hall of Fame)
(Smith replaced Logsdon after the 2010-11 season)
Brad Laxton, East Ridge ... Brad Jackson (current athletic director at East Hamilton HS) ...(Laxton replaced Jackson after the 2009-10 season)
Ryan Cooper, East Hamilton (3rd year)... school's first coach
Tom Moss, Sale Creek... Danny Gilbert (national wrestling hall of fame, current athletics director at Signal Mountain HS) ... (Moss replaced Gilbert after the 2009-10 season)
Ben Nelson, Baylor... Jim Morgan (National Wrestling Hall of Fame ... Baylor, UTC, Greater Chattanooga Halls of Fame)
(Nelson replaced Morgan after the 2009-10 season)
Mike Newman, McCallie ... Gordon Connell (National Wrestling Hall of Fame, MTSU Wrestling Hall of Fame, Masters world champion)
(Newman and Connell were co-head coaches until Gordon retired after the 2010-11 season)
Al Morris, Tullahoma ... Cody Cleveland (now an assistant coach at McCallie)
John Lennon, Chattanooga Central ... Marquis Dotson
Joe Jellison, Signal Mountain .... John Lennon (now at Chattanooga Central)
Josh Craft, Chattanooga Christian ... Dr Dave Redd
(Craft replace Dr. Redd after the 2010-11 season)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com