February 21, 2008
Contact: Jason Wille, Sports Information Director
ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER RAY CRAFT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Ray Craft, who has served on the IHSAA Executive Staff since 1983, has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2008.
Craft, 71, was appointed assistant commissioner in July, 1983, and later promoted to Associate Commissioner in 1994. He also served on the IHSAA Board of Directors from 1980-83 while Principal at Shelbyville High School. During his tenure on the IHSAA staff, he has been responsible for the administration of baseball, boys basketball, boys and girls cross country, girls golf, soccer, boys tennis and wrestling.
In the sports he’s administered, Craft has been responsible for the evaluation and assignment of tournament officials, the selection of host sites, and the interpretation of game rules and the IHSAA by-laws. He also has screened and processed athletic transfer reports, unsporting behavior reports, foreign exchange student forms and served in an advisory capacity to the Indiana State Medical Association Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Medicine. Additionally, he’s interacted with high school principals, athletic directors, coaches groups and committees throughout the state.
“Athletics helped shape me from a young age and has always been a large part of my life,” said Craft. “I appreciate the support of (former commissioner C. Eugene) Cato and the members of the Board who gave me the opportunity to work on the staff at the IHSAA. I’ve also appreciated the support of the board members, coaches, game officials and the athletic directors over the last 25 years.”
“Ray’s career and dedication to the IHSAA speaks for itself,” said Commissioner Blake Ress. “Personally, I value Ray both as a friend and as an associate, and I will miss his insight and his counsel. He possesses a wealth of historical knowledge about the IHSAA and his understanding of our by-laws and the rationale behind them is a resource that cannot be readily replaced.”
“Ray was the most loyal and trustworthy individual the IHSAA could have,” said former Commissioner C. Eugene Cato, who headed the Association from 1983-95. “He exercised extremely good judgment in his decision-making and always had the student-athletes’ best interest in mind. His services will be greatly missed by the IHSAA and the member schools.”
During his career, Craft has served at nearly every level of secondary education and interscholastic sports.
He has taught health, physical education, biology, and driver’s education at Lapel (1958-59), Milan (1959-63) and Clinton Central (1963-71) high schools and also coached baseball, basketball, track and cross country during that time. He served as an athletic official in baseball, basketball, football, and track. Craft was principal in the Clinton Central School Corporation (1968-71), assistant principal and athletic director in the Shelbyville Central School Corporation (1971-74), and principal of Shelbyville High School (1974-83).
Born Nov. 5, 1936 in Middletown, Ohio, Craft is a 1954 graduate of Milan High School, where he was a starting senior guard on that year’s IHSAA state championship basketball team and scored a game-high 14 points in that legendary contest against Muncie Central. The 1954 Milan team later served as inspiration for the movie, “Hoosiers”, in which Craft played the role of the tournament official who greeted the Hickory team upon its arrival at Butler Fieldhouse. After high school, Craft played basketball four years for Tony Hinkle at Butler University were he earned a B.S. degree. He later earned an M.S. degree from Indiana University.
In 1993, Craft was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Evan Bayh. It is the highest honor an Indiana governor may bestow upon a citizen who has contributed greatly to Indiana’s heritage.
Craft was a member of the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Basketball Team in 1954 and the Lions Club Silver Anniversary Team in 1979. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He’s also a past president of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and is a member of the organization’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
He has held membership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Indiana Secondary School Administrators and Elks Club.
Craft and his wife, Virginia, a retired elementary teacher, reside in Shelbyville. Their son, Mark, is a teacher in Columbia, SC, and their daughter, Sue Ellen, teaches at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. They are the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren.
Requests for a formal application for the vacated position on the IHSAA Executive Staff will be accepted through Wednesday, March 26, 2008. Inquiries should be directed to Commissioner Blake Ress at firstname.lastname@example.org. The interview process will begin later this spring, with the intention of the new assistant commissioner joining the staff on July 1, 2008.