Watch the video above to learn some more on Bryanna Craig.
Millville HS Head Coach Raffael Craig informed NJ MileSplit Wednesday that he and his family will be moving to Texas over the summer. Over the years at Millville Coach Craig has fielded many talented teams and his daughter Bryanna has proven to be one of New Jersey's brightest young stars.
Coach Craig will be taking a volunteer position at Texas Tech University to prepare himself for the jump to college coaching.
"I've always had a desire to coach college but its a dream that fades by the year as you get settled into the life you've grown accustomed to," Craig commented on the move, "It finally came down to what I thought my biggest regret would be twenty years from now and that would be not walking through the door that God had opened."
Craig's high school age daughters Bryanna, heading into her junior year, and Autumn, into her sophomore, will be transferring to Coronado HS in Lubbock, Texas to run under Coach Chris Beene. Beene had been a long time successful coach at South Plains College before taking over at Coronado HS in 2019.
Coach Craig had this to add on leaving Millville, "I am excited at the opportunity to learn and grow as a coach under Coach James Thomas and Coach Wes Kittley. While it is sad to say goodbye, I feel confident that the track and field program at Millville will be in good hands. Coach Dennis Thomas will help the new girls coach hit the ground running and I am always a phone call away. "
Bryanna Craig Has Already Established Herself As An Elite Multi-Events Athlete
The young star holds the freshman class National outdoor record in the heptathlon, set at 5,094 points from a fourth place finish at the USATF U20 Championships. That performance actually extended her own record after she had broken it initially about a week before while winning the 2019 NBNO heptathlon with a score of 4,958 points.
An AAU Champion and youth competition star for many years, she most recently won the NJSIAA Meet of Champions high jump title this past indoor season clearing 5-06 along with high finishes in the 55m hurdles, long jump, and 200m dash that same day.
She leaves New Jersey as the heptathlon state record holder and with PRs of 5-08 in the high jump, 114-9 for the javelin, 18-5.25 in the long jump, 31-4 for the shot put, 14.49 for the 100m hurdles, 25.24 in the 200m dash, 56.30 over 400m, 1:03.36 in the 400H, and 2:21.32 in the 800m! All this without a sophomore spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Autumn Craig is also showing great results as a multi-event athlete, with success at the AAU level and holding strong against more experienced girls as a high school freshman this past winter.
Coach Craig sees great things ahead for both his daughters, "Coach Beene is a great coach having won 10 consecutive NJACC National titles at South Plains College. I am confident that we will have the girls ready to make their mark down in Texas."
Raffael Craig Also Starred At Millville In High School
In 1999 he won the National Scholastic Indoor Championships then clearing 7-0 in the high jump that spring at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions graduating a multi-time state champion.
After high school he starred at the University of Connecticut winning the 2019 Indoor National pentathlon and high jump titles as well as the pentathlon at the 2000 Big East Championships. He's continued to excel at the USATF Masters level as well with multiple titles in 2018 and 2019.
He was inducted into the South Jersey Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
Millville's Success Under Coach Craig
Craig has been coaching at Millville since the indoor 2006 season when he first joined as a volunteer, he's also been involved in the club competition scene. During his time at Millville they've piled up impressive numbers of local titles and most recently they brought home their first ever Group 4 State team championship after sharing the title with Rancocas Valley.
- 2019 NJSIAA Group 4 Team State & SJ Champions, Indoor State Relay and SJ Champions
- 2019 NJ Indoor (SJTCA) and Outdoor Coach of the Year (NJ.com)
- 2019 NJ #1 Ranked Public School (#2 overall behind Union Catholic)
- 2020 Preseason NJ #1 Ranked Public School (#2 overall behind Union Catholic)
- 9x Cape Atlantic League American Conference Champions (Spring Track)
- 13x Cumberland County Champions (Consecutive) (Spring Track)
- 8x Cumberland County Champions (Girls Cross Country)
- 2019 New Balance Outdoor National Champion - Bryanna Craig - Heptathlon - 5094 - Freshman National Record - NJ State Record
- 14x New Balance All Americans, 9x AAU/USATF National Champions and 17x AAU/USATF All Americans
A Farewell And The Lasting Memories Of Coaching At Millville
Coach Raffael Craig also stated just how important his and his family's time at Millville has been to them.
"I can't tell you how important it's been for me to have been able to give back to the town that has given me so much. I would always talk about how track saved my life because prior to track I was typically in trouble. Coach Hoover showed me a different path athletically but also by modeling what a man with integrity looked like. While my time as an athlete was fun, I knew I was going to coach one day. I even put it in our year book for my career choice. Helping others have the opportunities that I was able to have because of track was a blessing in itself. Coaching my own daughter to a national title, freshman national record and state team title was icing on the cake."
"In closing I'd just like to thank the city of Millville, The Thunderbolt Club, the track coaches and every athlete that ever put on a Millville uniform. I'd also like to thank all the NJ coaches for your rivalry and friendship. It is a beautiful thing to be able to collaborate with opposing coaches for the benefit of all our athletes. I think I'll miss that most."