March 12, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame men’s soccer head coach Bobby Clark has announced the hiring of BJ Craig as an assistant coach on the Fighting Irish staff. Craig spent last season in the same capacity at the University of Louisville. Prior to that, he had a four-year stint as head coach at Saint Francis University (Pa.). Craig replaces the departed Jamie Clark, who took the head coaching position at Harvard last month.
“Notre Dame is a special place and to have an opportunity to build on the tradition and success of the athletic program and specifically men’s soccer, makes it a great place to be at,” says Craig. “There is a special group of players on this team that want to consistently be the best team in the country and I look forward to helping them reach this in everything we do.”
Last season at Louisville, Craig helped guide the Cardinals to an 11-7-4 record and a berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals won a first-round match against Duke, 1-0, before falling at Ohio State, 1-0.
The Cardinals finished second in the BIG EAST Conference Red Division with a 6-3-2 league mark and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament before falling to Connecticut, the eventual champion. Louisville sophomores Phil Edington and Othaniel Yanez both copped all-league honors for the Cardinals.
Craig led his 2006 Saint Francis team to the school’s first-ever appearance in the Northeast Conference championship match. He led the Red Flash to a 10-7-3 mark, tying a school record, which was previously set in Craig’s second season with the program in 2004.
In four seasons with Saint Francis, Craig recorded a 31-31-13 career mark, which is second on the school’s all-time coaching wins list. He led the Red Flash to its first two NEC Tournament appearances and also produced the program’s first winning season during the 2004 campaign en route to being named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year. Craig would go on to lead them to winning records the following two seasons and he developed two NSCAA Regional All-Americans and seven NEC all-conference selections.
Craig joined the Red Flash staff after serving as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College from 1998-2003. In the fall of 2002, he helped lead the perennial Ivy League power to a conference championship and a 9-7-1 final record. The Big Green posted a 5-1-1 league mark and finished the 2002 season ranked third in the Northeast Region. Craig also helped direct the Big Green to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2000.
Prior to joining the Dartmouth staff, Craig served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., from 1995-96. During his tenure at Gordon, the Fighting Scots posted a 30-8-4 record and qualified for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament both seasons.
“BJ brings fantastic experience to Notre Dame,” states Bobby Clark. “At Louisville, he was a big part of their revival. He also did a phenomenal job when he was at Saint Francis. I am very familiar with BJ because I knew him from when he was an assistant at Dartmouth. He’s worked our camp here at Notre Dame every year so he’s familiar with our players. He’s a very mature coach and I think he and (fellow assistant) Chad Riley will make a tremendous tandem and help me with keeping Notre Dame among the elite teams in the country.”
Craig is a 1993 graduate of Gordon College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He lettered two seasons for Gordon College, helping lead them to a Commonwealth Coast Conference championship in 1992. Craig earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1997. He is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and holds a USSF B License.
“Bobby (Clark) had a big part in bringing me here,” adds Craig. “He’s one of the great teachers in the game. Having the right people is what makes a place great and that’s how it is at Notre Dame, from the staff to the administration.”
Craig and his wife Erin have four children, Noah (11), Micah (9), Jonah (6) and Mattea (4).