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Panhandle Father-Son Coaching Rivalry Begins

August 14, 2015
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With Michael Craig hire at Walton, father-son rivalry to hit coaching ranks

Kevin Craig, the South Walton girls basketball coach, likes to say he’s 157-0 in pick-up games against his son, Michael Craig.

Kevin Craig, the South Walton girls basketball coach, likes to say he’s 157-0 in pick-up games against his son, Michael Craig.

Now, the younger Craig doesn’t tell the same version of the father-son rivalry. Even so, he’ll get his chance Nov. 16 to erase all doubt – except they’ll be coaching, not playing.

That’s the day Michael’s Walton girls team, assuming the Walton County School Board approves his recent hire, will play Kevin’s South Walton team. That’s the day a county rivalry merges with a family one.

“I think I’m 157-0 at this point,” the elder Craig said, noting he’d play two-on-one games against Michael and younger son Casey. “I’m really happy he got an opportunity. He has two kids, a 4 year old and a 6 month old.”

Michael coached the JV boys team at South Walton, along with assisting for the Gulf Coast State College men’s team. This will be his first varsity head coach opportunity – leading a group that is expected to be young with only one or two returning starters and mostly underclassmen.

“I’d much rather come in with ninth- and 10th-graders and start from the beginning,” Michael said. “It gives them opportunities to make their mark.”

Michael is a 1995 graduate from Fort Walton Beach and a 2013 graduate from Troy University. So it’s been awhile since he’s squared off against dear old dad, whose memory may be a bit off.

“I think maybe in my father’s age he might be starting to create a revisionist history,” Michael said.

It appears the father-son combo can settle it once and for all in just a few months.

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