By Brandon Speck
Baldwyn didn’t look far for its new boys basketball coach – just a seat down to assistant Raymond Craven.
“I know the seats get hotter the closer to the end of the bench you get,” Craven said, “but I’m excited.”
Expectations will be hot, too, but that’s nothing new to Baldwyn or Craven. Baldwyn has been to four of the last five Class 2A state championship games. Craven has been an assistant under former coach Jason McKay for all of them, coming out of his ninth year. The Bearcats return all five starters from March’s state runner-up.
McKay, the school’s new superintendent, is open about the workload shared by the Thrasher product.
“I’ve got the most confidence in the job he will do,” McKay said. “He knows the game of basketball and cares about the kids. He’s had a lot of responsibility and is a major reason for the success we’ve had.”
The two started the current run together. When McKay took over nine years ago, Craven was named assistant. He did junior high as well his first seven years.
“I’ve been very fortunate for him to let me help a lot, probably more than most assistants get to,” Craven said. “I’ve just been very fortunate to be under such a good coach and learned.”
His first act will be trying to get the team together today to talk about summer ball and the future.
Craven doesn’t want to sound cocky about the program’s goals, but in Baldwyn they are clear.
“Our goal ultimately is to get a state championship,” Craven said. “I’m hoping to do a lot of the things the same way, just kind of put my stamp on it. I hate to change what’s worked.”