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Baranek: Bryan Craig wrong beyond the writing

Sexually explicit self-help book authored by former Rich Central High School girls basketball coach Bryan Craig. | Supplied photo

Sexually explicit self-help book authored by former Rich Central High School girls basketball coach Bryan Craig. | Supplied photo

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Updated: October 9, 2012 2:32PM



I really wanted to talk with Bryan Craig on Thursday. Had he returned my call I would have congratulated him on finally doing something right last Friday by resigning as Rich Central’s girls basketball coach.

Craig quit hours after a SouthtownStar story broke about his self-published book titled, “It’s Her Fault,” which contains myriad salacious and graphic references to women and their body parts, and rock-headed advice on how to go about having a relationship with the opposite sex.

Based on his ludicrous psychology and his amateurish prose, Craig never will be a most-read author. But he certainly has been a most-read about author for the past several days.

Little of it, save a few players who have said they enjoyed playing for him and the female teacher at the school who edited the book and said she was forever indebted to him for counseling her during her divorce, has been flattering.

Most of it has centered on what the District 227 board is going to do with an employee who by day and evening over the past several years has been a student counselor/girls basketball coach at Central, and by late night has been a strip club bouncer/sex book writer.

Craig saved them a little bit of effort by quitting as the girls basketball coach. In a Sept. 18 meeting, the district should completely free him to concentrate on his writing career by relieving him of his counseling position.

What was this guy thinking? He should have known that, even if his soul and intentions were as pure as snow, the concept of a high school coach and counselor spending his off time working in a strip club is shaky in its own right. But he had to know that writing a book about sex — one in which women are reduced to so many cuts in a butcher case — wouldn’t fly with horrified parents and a school district that now has on its hands a public relations nightmare.

What he does in his life doesn’t add up like 2 + 2 = 4.

That Craig won’t talk about it leaves the door open to think the worst. I’ve known Craig since he became coach in 2008 and can honestly say I’ve never used the word “creep” after any of our interactions. He never struck me as a predator, and I’m not inclined to think he was among the students at Rich Central. But he sure has some weird ideas in his head about women and a penchant to shout them to the world. It’s not hard to imagine curious kids asking about those views, were he to keep his job in the counselor’s office.

Words I have said about Craig in the past were “not smart.” Frankly, I’m surprised he wasn’t removed from his coaching position after the 2011-12 season. What a fiasco.

The first sign his program was spinning out of control occurred Dec. 1, when in a game against Bloom two of his players went wild on the officials and received multiple technical fouls. The two players (Alex Stanford and Layne Murphy) and Craig were ejected and suspended for one game by the IHSA. In the aftermath, Bloom coach Ron Newquist said, “In 29 years of coaching I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Little did any of us know how much more we were going to see.

Rich Central principal Jammie Poole Jr. made a pretty bold statement after the incident, hinting that the suspension would extend past the one-game IHSA mandate.

“That is not the Olympian way of doing things,” Poole said. “We do want to send the message that that type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

But it was. They might have gotten a good talking to, but both players and Craig were back for the Dec. 7 game against Rich South.

It cost Rich Central a lot more than one game when it was discovered Feb. 1 the concurrence forms regarding the transfer of Ashley Blohm-Bivins were not turned in by the Jan. 30 deadline. Craig kind of threw athletic director Don Parker under the bus on that one, but I can’t imagine too many coaches of successful programs who don’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s on matters of eligibility.

Finally, there was a little matter of overscheduling, which caused the IHSA to warn Rich Central that if it didn’t cancel a Feb. 7 game against Morgan Park the Olympians would not be eligible for the state playoffs.

I can’t remember how many times during that disaster of a season I was encouraged to ask what in the heck this guy was doing running a basketball program. And I always replied, “Why pile it on? He’s got enough grief. You know, he seems like such a good guy ... ”

And he might be. But not for the high school community. Good luck, Bryan. I hope you find your true calling.

P.S. Get a better editor.



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