Following a national search, the College of Eastern Utah introduced Chris Craig as the college's 12th men's basketball coach. Craig takes over for Bryan Zollinger who recently accepted a head coaching position at Seward County Community College in Kansas.
Craig, 26, played junior college basketball at Arizona Western prior to moving on to the University of Texas at El Paso, where he played for current University of Kentucky Coach Billy Gillespie. Craig's professional career included stints with teams in Switzerland, Mexico, Ireland and Germany. He was the head player/coach for Ireland's Tralee Tigers winning Coach of the Year for leading the Tigers to its first-ever Ireland National Cup Championship. Craig was also an assistant player/coach for Ensa Union in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Craig said "This is an exciting opportunity for me. I chose to come to Price last year not only to work with Coach Z, but also to get back to the West. My year in Price has been amazing, and I look forward to staying here for a long time."
As for basketball, Craig believes that CEU can continue a winning tradition. "We are losing the nation's leading scorer in Tyler Kepkay (now at the University of Utah), but CEU has some excellent players returning that were a big part of his success," he said.
Administrators at CEU were pleased to have found their coach right in their own back yard. "We talked to candidates from all over Utah and as far away as Texas, Illinois and Oregon. Several had collegiate head coaching experience and Chris proved to be the best candidate," said CEU Vice-President Brad King.
"I've been in this business a long time and I've never seen someone as prepared to coach as Chris is," said CEU athletic director Dave Paur. "We're confident that he will be a great asset to the entire athletic program."Craig says he has already been working as if he were the head coach.
"I've never stopped recruiting for CEU - there are still a few quality kids out there who need a place to play and I think CEU is a great fit for them," he said.
Coach Craig expects to bring a "high octane" offense and tenacious defensive scheme to Eastern Utah. The students and fans can look forward to "high flying Golden Eagle basketball."
President Ryan Thomas feels Coach Craig will bring a lot of enthusiasm to this position and is excited to have him as head men's basketball coach. "We think Chris's energy will not only show on the court, but also in the community," Thomas said, adding, "He has strong plans to make the program not just the College's team, but the region's team."
The college plans to conduct an open house to meet the coach Wednesday, May 30, from 5:30pm - 7:00 pm at the BDAC Coach Craig will be available to local civic organizations. Craig says he plans to get out into the community immediately to build support. "We want our players going to the local schools to encourage kids and we want to have the community fill the gym for both the men's and women's teams this year."