North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Four Questions: A Conversation with…David Craft



            David Craft is a veteran coach and athletic director at Hickory High School. A graduate of Hickory High and Wingate College, David has served at the school since 1989.

            He teaches social studies at Hickory and also serves as the school’s baseball coach and athletic director.  He earned his 400th career victory as a head baseball coach last spring.

            David really grew up as a Red Tornado– his father was an outstanding teacher and basketball coach at Hickory High many years ago.


You grew up in a family in which your dad was an outstanding high school coach.  How did that influence your decision to pursue a career in coaching?

I was very lucky to grow up in a house where my father was a teacher and a coach. I saw how hard he worked, how competitive he was, and got to grow up around sports at a very early age. Our lifestyle revolved around athletics, and my parents were very supportive. My brother and I did follow my father into the teaching/coaching profession and are very proud to be doing what we do.


What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in high school athletics during your career?

Specialization in one sport is the biggest change in high school sports. Personally, I think it helps athletes to play more than one sport while they are in high school.  I think more student-athletes are motivated to do well in school today than ever before because they know they must meet the standards if they want to play at the next level.


What is your best memory of high school athletics personally, from your own involvement in them? You have coached some outstanding teams during your career.

My best memories would be seeing athletes do well in real life. It is always great to have them come back to campus and to be able to stay in contact with them after they play. Then we get a chance to watch them raise a family or even coach their brother.

All coaches remember all their teams and all their hard work. I think there is a general respect you share for all your players who work and sacrifice throughout the year and they are all special. I feel very fortunate to have coached some outstanding players who have gone on to great success after high school as well.

Here are just a few of them: David Boone (UNC),Denny Lail (Wingate),Todd Setzer (Lenoir-Rhyne), Jason Keever (Lenoir-Rhyne), Matt Keever (Lenoir-Rhyne), Michael Clontz (Lenoir-Rhyne), Ben Gibbs (West Point), John Patterson (Lenoir-Rhyne), Tayler Middleton(Wingate), Bransen Christopher(Emory and Henry), Ryan Garlow (Charleston Southern), Doug Rockett (Lenoir-Rhyne), Robert Goodman (Lenoir-Rhyne), Daniel Willis (Lenoir-Rhyne), Hank Eimer (Elon), Wes Barkley (Gardner-Webb), Patrick Jenkins(University of North Carolina at Asheville), Danny Cronin (Mars Hill), Tommy Obst (Lenoir-Rhyne), Anderson Marvin(Davidson), Austin Johnson(FB, New Orleans Saints), Derek Boliek (Richmond), Tyler Barnette(Charlotte), Tyler Poole(Coastal Carolina), Robert Whaley (Appalachian State),Wilson Boyd (Clemson), Isaac Harrow (Appalachian State), and Zac Jarrett (Charlotte).


In your limited spare time, what are some of the activities you are involved in away from athletics?

I am very fortunate that my wife Judy lets me do this job and doesn’t mind the long hours, and we’ve got two daughters who are also very supportive of me. Other than enjoying my family, I’d have to say I enjoy working out and also spend some time working in the yard.