The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 28, 2012

Craddock credits staff for success

Van Holland

TARBORO — The Tarboro Vikings are one of the most dominating teams in the state of North Carolina when it comes to high school football and to get to where they are it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication from not only the players but also the coaching staff.

To show how much work is put in and how respected the Vikings program is, some of the coaches at the press conference Monday in Raleigh made some jokes about Tarboro football. One of the coaches from SouthWest Onslow said I am glad I am going up to 2-A next year since your team is coming down to 1-A and then some of the others said maybe someone else can win a title in 2-A since Tarboro is going down to 1-A.

The thing some of the opposing coaches or whoever it may be fails to realize is the kind of work and dedication the Tarboro Vikings coaching staff has for their program. The coaching staff puts in countless numbers of hours of hard work and dedication just as the players do. The only difference is, the coaches aren't wearing the pads and helmets, they are studying film and breaking down percentages that each player gets the ball on offense and what the opposing teams defense does in certain situations.

The Vikings coaching staff has become a family of sort, because they are with each other seven days a week from the beginning of August until the final final helmet is collected from the final player.

"Without my coaching staff there is no Tarboro football," Tarboro head coach Jeff Craddock said. " I have said that for years. I am only as good as the people I have underneath me and they do a tremendous job with our players."

Craddock knows that to win he had to have a coaching staff that was completely focused on making his program better. He said he has enjoyed working with the group he has coaching under him.

"I love working with these guys I have helping me," Craddock said. "We get along awesome and we all have great relationships on and off the field."

The entire coaching staff is with each other seven days a week. It all begins when they start their summer workouts and carries over into August when the season begins.

Craddock said his coaching staff takes the game and teaching each individual kid personally because they want their players to be the best they can be. He said the staff takes pride in how their players perform in every phase of the game.

"If you take my staff away, then we aren't the team that we have been," Craddock said. "I couldn't be more proud of our staff. All of them do a great job day in and day out."

The staff is made up of young coaches to veterans who have been around the game for a while.

The veterans on the staff include A.B. Whitley who is the defensive minded coach who preaches shut outs to his defense every week. Then there is Ken Cox who has been with the Vikings program since 1982 and was the JV head coach for many years.

This year Craddock brought in Steve Burnette, who has been an offensive line coach in the county for numerous years and was part of Raymond Cobb's program while at North Edgecombe. Burnette has taken to the kids at Tarboro and made the linemen work extremely hard this year.

The the secondary coach is Marcus Stanley, who has been with the program during the championship run and knows what it takes to shut down a passing attack.

The new fit who started calling the offense last year is Andy Harding. He has continued the traditional T-offense and has called the offense like he has been doing it forever, because the Vikings are averaging over 40 points a game this year.