Robert Craft took over the head coaching job at his high school alma mater, North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, Fla., six years ago. It was his first gig as the man in charge, and within two seasons he led his team to a 13-0 record and a state title. Tallahassee would also be where Craft and his wife, Sarah, would start their family—they now have three young children.
Needless to say, it was going to take a special place to pull Craft away from his home. That place must be North Forsyth High School.
Craft was named the seventh head football coach at North Forsyth Friday morning. His task will be to replenish a football program that has just six winning seasons since the turn of the century and only three wins over the past two seasons—the last for former head coach Jason Galt.
“When this opportunity became available, and as we began to get further into it and meet more people in the Forsyth community, especially up around the high school, I just kept hearing better and better things, so it was a no brainer,” Craft said.
One might argue that everything moves just a little bit slower on the north-side of the county, and that the football program at North is hard-pressed to field the talent that teams on the south side of the county can.
Craft has a solution: he wants the Raiders to go faster than they ever have before.
“Well, the unique thing about high school football is that you have to adapt to your personnel,” Craft said. “Our base offense that we've run (at North Florida Christian) the last six years is up-tempo, no huddle, shotgun oriented. It's a run-first offense, so that will not change. But tempo is everything. We want to be fast in everything we do. Not just our offense, but everything in practice and conditioning will be at a very high tempo.”
Craft cited the quality of high school football in Georgia as a major lure to his new digs. He has a history in the state. From 2005-09, Craft was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Colquitt County in Moultrie, Ga., serving under Tim Cokely and Rush Propst.
“There's definitely something about being part of the largest classification in Georgia, in such a talent-rich state. A state that, in my opinion, plays some of the best high school football in the country. Plus, I think the area is a growing community. I just picture that the best is yet to come here. I think this is a place with some untapped football potential, and it gets you really excited about the future.”
He also has family ties to the Atlanta area. His older sister lives in the city, while both of his parents are University of Georgia alums. Still, Craft is ready to adapt to a new area.
“I'm looking forward to it,” Craft said. “You know, living in a small town in south Georgia was new for my family, but we grew to like it a lot. Forsyth is certainly a draw. You feel like you have everything near you, but it's still a pretty rural, small town setting. I'd consider myself an extreme outdoorsmen as well, so I'm looking forward to the move.”
Craft and his wife Sarah will join the community, along with their two daughters, Ella Grace, 6, and Lyla, 4, as well as their 2-year old son, Gunnar.