news-category: Athletics

Gardner-Webb Coach Tim Craft Accepts Offer From Western Carolina University

Tim Craft cuts the net at the championship game in 2019.

National Search to Find Next Men’s Basketball Head Coach is Underway

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—GWU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tim Craft has accepted the head coaching job at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. A national search for Gardner-Webb University’s next head coach has already begun. Associate Head Coach Jeremy Luther will serve as interim head coach.

“I want to thank and congratulate Tim Craft on his 11 years at Gardner-Webb,” GWU President Dr. William M. Downs affirmed. “His impact on players and fans will be positive and enduring, and Bulldog Nation will forever remember that magical March run six seasons ago when Coach Craft led our program to its first NCAA tournament appearance. On behalf of the University, I wish Tim and his family much success at the next stop in their journey.”

Craft firmly established himself as one of the Big South Conference’s premier basketball minds, winning 188 games through 11 seasons and leading the program to its first NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in 2018-2019. He has six wins over Power 5 schools during his tenure at GWU.

“This is a bittersweet day as we say goodbye to Gardner-Webb and a community that we love so dearly,” Craft shared. “We believe that the Lord is leading us to a new, exciting opportunity for our family, but as we leave, we feel so blessed and thankful to have spent 11 years at GWU. We have made amazing memories here on and off the court, and we are so grateful for all those that have helped make them possible. I believe that GWU currently has outstanding leadership in place and will continue to thrive on the basketball court and in all areas in the future. The Craft family will always be big fans of the Runnin’ Bulldogs!”

Craft, 47, became just the fourth head coach in Big South Conference history to win at least 15 games in each of his first four seasons, joining Ron Bradley (Radford), Gregg Marshall (Winthrop) and Nick McDevitt (UNC Asheville) in that exclusive club. On Feb. 2, 2022, he also became the eighth Big South coach and third-ever Gardner-Webb coach to reach 150 wins with a 65-57 road win at High Point.

“I am grateful to have worked with Tim these past two seasons,” asserted Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich. “Our Runnin’ Bulldog program has a fantastic reputation nationwide due to the work he and his staff have done for the past 11 years. We wish Tim and his family the best.”

Gardner-Webb ended the 2023-’24 season with an overall record of 17-16. The Dawgs were 11-5 in Big South Conference play during the regular-season, setting a new conference record of 10 seasons of 10-plus Big South wins under Craft.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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