As California State University-Bakersfield’s first and long-time coach, Charlie Craig set the bar high for future Roadrunner coaches.
Craig began his track and field career as a talented athlete in the sprints and jumps. He competed in the long jump, triple jump, 440-yard dash, 440-yard relay, 880-yard relay, and mile relay at Fresno State University, where he also earned a master’s degree. He later made the Olympic Trials finals in both 1964 and 1968 in the triple jump.
Craig’s coaching career began as an assistant at University of California-Berkeley under fellow USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Sam Bell. In 1971, he accepted a job at Cal State Bakersfield as an Educational Opportunity Program Director. One year later, Craig decided to start a track and field program with university students and local recruits, and the rest, as they say, is history. Building the program from scratch, he eventually coached a total of 195 All-Americans, 18 NCAA national champions, and two Olympic qualifiers. In 2002, Craig was named the NCAA Division II Track and Field Coach of the Year.
In addition to his coaching duties at Cal State Bakersfield, Craig also served the sport in a number of national and international positions, including as a technical instructor in track and field to South Korean national teams in 1982, as manager of the U.S. team at the 1985 World University Games, and as manager of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team. He also served as an assistant coach on the 1991 U.S. World Championships Team and on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team.
Craig is also recognized for his accomplishments in the Fresno State University Hall of Fame and the Bob Elias Hall of Fame.