SOUTH WALTON, Fla. (WMBB) – After 39 years of coaching in the Panhandle, South Walton girls basketball coach, Kevin Craig, announced he has one more season left for his Hall of Fame career.
Craig spent 22 seasons with the Fort Walton Beach girls program and won a state championship in 1994 and 1999 before heading to South Walton and building the team from scratch.
He won his third state title in 2013 with the Seahawks, where he has spent 17 years coaching, but after nearly two decades, Craig said it’s coming to an end.
“It’s just time,” Craig said. “I mean it was like when I was at Fort Walton, it was just time. It was no certain thing, I just thought it was time to move on and do something else.”
Craig joined South Walton just two years after the school was opened, and turned an 0-23 team before he arrived, to a Panhandle powerhouse, that won a state title in 2013.
“That group I’ll never forget because of how tough they were,” Craig said. “One of our former boy’s coaches once said you could take those seniors and walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night with them because they would have your back.”
Craig was inducted into the hall of fame with the FSHAA, the Florida Association of basketball coaches, and the All Sports Association, but his accolades are not how he wants to be remembered.
“I have a lot of passion for what I do, and the way I coach, I think a lot of people see that,” Craig said. “Although I’ve tamed down quite a bit over the years. But also, that I care about the kids.”
The Seahawks head girls basketball position has been held uncontested for nearly two decades now, but with Craig exiting after the season, there are rumors of who might be next.
“Not many people know about this,” Craig said. “But there’s this guy, I think they call him Coach K at Duke, when he found out this job was going to be open, that’s the reason he’s retiring. Don’t let that out.”
Craig’s job is not complete just yet, with eight seniors on the roster and the 21-22 season still in his control, the expectations for his final year are as high as ever before.
“The goal is to go to the final four,” Craig said. “And that’s setting the bar pretty high, but why not. You know, when You have so many seniors, and so many other kids coming back, that’s just the goal.”