Issue 14 – January 31, 2013

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Issue 14 – January 31, 2013

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A Powerful Coach

At our recent Men of the Church supper, our speaker was Jeff Craddock, the young (42 years old) Tarboro High School football coach.

For those of you who don’t know, Tarboro High, with a student population of around 600 students, is a football dynasty. The team has played in the N.C. State Championship for the past five years, winning three and loosing two. Last year (2012), they lost 24 to 20.

After hearing Coach Craddock speak, it is clear to me why they have a successful program.

I had never had the opportunity to hear him talk before and knew only what I heard in the community, which was all very positive. He is a transplanted Ohioan, having lived in Tarboro for the past 18 years, coming up through the ranks of assistant coaching until 2004 when he took over the job as head coach.

His first four years were mediocre at best, winning 24 games and loosing 23. Since then, his teams have won 72 games while only loosing 7, a winning percentage of over 91%, with three State Championships. By any coaching standards … impressive.

But what I discovered by hearing him speak was more impressive than his coaching record. He said that he speaks whenever he is asked to – many times during the year – to Rotary Clubs, church groups, any group that asks him. And what I determined was the reason he does this is not to hear himself talk so much as it is a way for him to get out in the community and listen to what the people are saying.

He is a natural speaker, but what he seems to like best is for the audience to ask him questions which he responds to with honesty, sincerity and enthusiasm. You can almost see him listening to the questions and gleaning from them a supply of information.

You hear him talk about his relationships with his assistant coaches, his players, his community, his wife and family and most importantly, his relationship with GOD. What I picked up on was that he seems to listen to all of them … not just listening, but sincerely and objectively paying attention to what is being said.

I don’t know many people who have that unique quality. My mother was one of the few. When I see it in a person, I am impressed and I can see why Coach Craddock is successful at motivating young men. I came away from that brief encounter, not thinking about how great a coach this guy is, but rather how unique a human he seems to be.

I think the Tarboro community is fortunate to have him as a part of our educational system. I hope he continues to listen and sincerely pay attention to our young children, not because they are winning football games but because he appears to really care about them.


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