Highlighting the Kraft Era:
The 2014-15 seasons will mark the 19th year that Greg Kraft has served as the Director of track & field/cross country at Arizona State University, a tenure that has seen the Sun Devils rise to the ranks of the nation’s elite. Kraft, a four-time USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year and a three-time Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year, has become a highly decorated coach that continually works with some of the most decorated student-athletes in Sun Devil history. Highlights of Kraft’s career include the sweep of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Indoor Championship in 2008, a feat at the time that had only been accomplished by one other program and coach in NCAA history. Prior to 2008, other highlights include the 2007 women’s team that went undefeated, sweeping the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, as well as Mt. Pacific and Pac-10 Conference titles.
Individually, Kraft’s personal highlights include former Sun Devil Dwight Phillips winning long jump Gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Dwight, who additionally won four IAAF World Outdoor titles, made his first Olympic team following his senior year in 2000. Other highlights include Yuma’s Jacquelyn Johnson who became only the fourth female in NCAA history to become a 4-time National Champion in the same event. Jacquelyn, like Dwight, would culminate her senior season with an Olympic berth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The 2013-14 campaign saw the Kraft led Sun Devils extend their streak of individual National Champions to nine straight years with titles going to Shelby Houlihan and Bryan McBride. Shelby’s first outdoor national title would also be ASU’s first at 1500 meters. Shelby’s first national title came off the heels of her impressive Pac-12 Championship double win over 1500 and 5000 meters. Bryan McBride would also be crowned National Champion in 2014. The Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor product would earn his title in the high jump with a championship jump of 7’ 5 ¾”. All in all, the 2014 track & field campaign was another successful year with ASU earning 8 separate individual All-America honors: Houlihan ( indoor mile, indoor 3000m, outdoor 1500m), Anna Jelmini (indoor shot put, outdoor discus:, Ryan Milus (indoor 60m), Tatum Bernard-Taylor (indoor 60m), and Bryan McBride (outdoor high jump). Additionally, three of ASU relays also garnered All-America honors: the men’s outdoor 4 X 100m relay (Ryan Milus, Will Henry, Devan Spann, Daveon Collins), the men’s outdoor 4 X 400m relay (Keith Cleveland, Will Henry, Daveon Collins, Devan Spann) and the women’s outdoor 4 X 100m relay (Asiah Gooden, Brianna Tate, Alycia Herring, LaTroya Franklin).
Coach Kraft came to Tempe in the fall of 1996 after a very successful career at the University of South Carolina. The 1996 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year is now the second longest tenured coach in ASU track & field history. Trailing only legendary coach Baldy Castillo’s 26 years. Kraft’s goal upon his arrival to Tempe was to build a program that was athletically balanced throughout the three seasons of; cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. Kraft’s ambition was also to have a track & field program that had a balanced team approach involving the four disciplines of; sprints/relays, jumps, throws and middle-distance/distance runners. Mission accomplished. Arizona State University consistently attracts the top talent in the nation to Tempe that challenges for national titles, conference gold and high academic achievement. Says coach Kraft, “Our program is process based. Our student-athletes and coaches understand that we are all relevant to our team’s success. Success on the track and in the classroom is very important to our coaches and student-athletes. Our coaches and student-athletes understand that we must work every day to improve our self. That approach has allowed our student-athletes to consistently graduate on time and for our student-athletes to consistently enjoy success on the track both individually and as a team”. To that point, for the past 15 straight years a Sun Devil team has finished in the Top 3 at the Pac-12 Championships in either cross country or outdoor track & field. Forty five times the Sun Devils have at least finished the year with a Top 25 NCAA Championship finish. Additionally the men and women of Arizona State University have been honored with a combined 224 All-America honors. Academically, the USTFCCA has routinely honored a Sun Devil team with National All-Academic distinction. The 2014 year was no different with the men’s cumulative grade point average of 3.06 and the women’s cumulative grade point average of 3.35 earning yet another team honor. Additionally, 113 Sun Devils have earned individual USTFCCCA National All-Academic distinction in track & field/cross country. The Pac-12 has honored 299 Sun Devils with either first or second team distinction for their All-Academic selections in track & field/cross country.
Coach Kraft takes pride in the all-around success of his programs and student-athletes. Kraft takes equal pride in the success enjoyed by his former assistant coaches that are now heading their own programs. A sampling of former Kraft assistants:
•Darryl Anderson, Head Coach, Texas Christian University
•Dana Boone, Head Coach, Texas State University
•Walt Drenth, Head Coach, Michigan State University
•Ryan Cole, Head Cross Country Coach, US Air Force Academy
•Jason Dunn, Head Cross Country Coach, University of Oklahoma
•Corey Ihmels, Head Coach, Boise State University
•Larry Judge, former Head Coach, University of Wyoming
•Jeff Small, Head Coach, Marshall University
•Ralph Spry, Head Coach, Auburn University
Kraft stated, “I have had the pleasure of working with some outstanding coaches during my 26 years as a head coach, I can say without question my current staff is the most talented and well-rounded of any that I have worked with. David Dumble and Luis Quintana have each earned numerous coaching awards from the USTFCCCA. Ronnie Williams’ sprint team was only one of six programs in the country last year to have all four relays qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Jeremy Rasmussen possesses a unique and varied skill set that makes our total program better. Otis McDaniel brings a fresh perspective to our sprint group that is a wonderful compliment to Coach Williams. And finally, no one is more passionate for our sport than our pole vault coach Ron Barela.”
Kraft is married to the former Maggie Keyes of Mill Valley, CA. Maggie is a former collegiate record setting miler who won AIAW, TAC and Millrose Games titles. She was also a member of the USA’s first ever World Championship team in 1983. The Kraft’s have two sons, Kyle and Cory, both of whom are ASU graduates. Kyle graduated from ASU with a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering. Younger brother Cory, who was a three year letter winner as a pole vaulter on the ASU track & field team, graduated with his B.S in Kinesiology.
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