Notre Dame's victory over Oregon State at Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium) W, 1-0 on September 7, 2012.
BJ Craig is entering his fifth season as an assistant coach on the Fighting Irish staff in 2012. Craig joined the Notre Dame program after being an assistant coach at the University of Louisville during the 2007 campaign. Prior to that, he had a four-year stint (2003-06) as head coach at Saint Francis University (Pa.).
The Fighting Irish have enjoyed four successful seasons with Craig on the sidelines. Notre Dame has posted a 42-26-14 record, including a 26-10-4 mark in the BIG EAST, along with three NCAA tournament appearances. In his first season with the Irish, Craig helped guide Notre Dame to the 2008 BIG EAST Blue Division title.
The Irish have produced 17 all-BIG EAST selections and 12 Major League Soccer (MLS) draft picks since Craig has been on campus. Among those draft selections were MLS All-Stars Matt Besler and Justin Morrow. Besler was on the 2011 all-star squad, while Morrow earned the distinction in 2012.
Notre Dame registered a 9-5-4 record in 2011 and went 5-3-1 in BIG EAST play. The Irish saw their season come to an end in a 1-0 setback to Villanova in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship. The Fighting Irish boasted three all-BIG EAST honorees, including Aaron Maund, who was a first-team selection. Dillon Powers and Ryan Finley were named to the second team. Powers also continued to illustrate Notre Dame's success in the classroom as he was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American.
The Fighting Irish sent three players into the MLS following the '11 campaign. Toronto FC picked Maund in the first round (12th overall pick) of the MLS SuperDraft, while Brendan King went to the Portland Timbers in the second round (27th overall). The Vancouver Whitecaps selected Greg Klazura in the second round (21st overall selection) of the supplemental draft.
In 2010, Notre Dame garnered the No. 9 seed and a first-round bye for the NCAA Championship. The Irish fell to Dartmouth, 2-1 in overtime, during the second round to finish the season with a 10-6-4 record and a No. 21 national ranking in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. The Irish went 6-2-1 in BIG EAST play and advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament for the third straight season.
Five Notre Dame student-athletes received all-BIG EAST accolades for the `10 season. Headlining the Fighting Irish honorees were first-team selections Jeb Brovsky and Steven Perry. Perry led all BIG EAST players in goals with 12 and was tied for the points lead with 28. The senior duo also was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America team. Maund and Powers were named to the all-BIG EAST second team and Harrison Shipp was selected to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Brovsky, Perry and Bilal Duckett were picked in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, while Philip Tuttle was taken in the supplemental draft. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC chose both Brovsky and Duckett, while the New England Revolution selected Perry. Brovsky was the first pick in the second round (19th overall selection) and Duckett was the first pick in the third round (37th overall). Perry went two picks after Duckett in the third round. The San Jose Earthquakes took Tuttle in the second round with the 33rd overall pick.
Craig copped accolades of his own in 2010 as he was named one of the top 20 assistant coaches in NCAA Division I men's soccer according to College Soccer News.
Craig also has seen some of his Fighting Irish players experience success on the international level. Maund and Powers both were members of the United States team that competed at the 2009 U-20 World Cup in Egypt. In August of 2010, Powers was named the MVP of the Milk Cup Tournament as he helped lead the U.S. U-20 squad to the title with a 3-0 record.
During Craig's second season on the Irish sidelines, Notre Dame posted an 11-8-4 record and finished second in the BIG EAST Blue Division with an 8-3-0 mark. Notre Dame missed out on winning the BIG EAST Championship title as the Irish were taken down in penalty kicks by St. John's, 5-3, in the final following a scoreless draw.
The Irish opened the `09 NCAA tournament with a 2-1 first-round win over Green Bay. Notre Dame suffered a 3-1 setback at Northwestern in the second round.
Six Notre Dame players garnered all-BIG EAST honors in `09. Bright Dike, who led the league in points (26) and goals (11), was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Michael Thomas joined Dike on the all-BIG EAST first team, while Morrow was a second-team pick. Brovsky and Maund were selected to the third team and Powers was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Dike, Thomas and Morrow all were selected during the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Dike went in the first round (12th overall) to the Columbus Crew, while the San Jose Earthquakes picked Thomas (19th overall) and Morrow (28th overall) in the second round. Thomas also was named a third-team Academic All-American for the `09 campaign.
In 2008, Notre Dame compiled a 12-7-2 record, including a 7-2-2 mark in the BIG EAST to win the conference's Blue Division. The Fighting Irish were seeded 12th for the NCAA Championship and fell to Northwestern, 2-1, in the second round. Notre Dame concluded the season ranked 16th in the final NSCAA poll.
Accolades were in store for the Irish during the `08 season. Besler became the first player in program history to be named a first-team All-American and first-team Academic All-American. In addition, Besler was the first Irish player to ever be named the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Besler and Dike were both first-team all-BIG EAST selections and headlined a group of five Notre Dame players to cop all-league honors.
Besler also heard his named called during the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He was taken with the eighth pick overall in the first round by the Kansas City Wizards. That marked the highest a Fighting Irish player had ever been nabbed in the MLS draft. Besler was named a 2011 MLS All-Star, becoming the first Irish alum to garner that distinction. Jack Traynor went to the New York Red Bulls in the second round of the `09 draft.
In his lone season at Louisville, Craig helped guide the Cardinals to an 11-7-4 record and a berth into the 2007 NCAA Championship. The Cardinals won a first-round match against Duke, 1-0, before dropping a 1-0 decision at Ohio State.
The Cardinals finished second in the BIG EAST's Red Division with a 6-3-2 league mark and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament before falling to Connecticut, the eventual champion. Louisville sophomores Phil Edginton and Othaniel Yanez both copped all-league honors for the Cardinals.
Craig posted a 31-31-13 record in his four seasons at Saint Francis and left with the second-most wins in program history. He led the Red Flash to their first two Northeast Conference (NEC) tournament appearances and also produced the program's first winning season during the 2004 campaign en route to being named the NEC Coach of the Year. Craig led Saint Francis to a 27-19-11 record, including an 18-11-7 mark in the NEC, over his final three seasons. The Red Flash produced a winning record in each of those three seasons and he developed two NSCAA Regional All-Americans and seven all-conference selections.
Craig led his 2006 Saint Francis team to the school's first-ever appearance in the NEC championship match. He guided the Red Flash to a 10-7-3 mark, which tied a school record that was previously set in Craig's second season with the program in 2004.
Craig joined the Red Flash staff after serving as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College from 1998-2003. In the fall of 2002, he helped lead the perennial Ivy League power to a conference championship and a 9-7-1 overall record. The Big Green posted a 5-1-1 league mark and finished the `02 season ranked third in the Northeast Region. Craig also helped direct the Big Green to an NCAA tournament berth in 2000.
Prior to joining the Dartmouth staff, Craig served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., from 1995-96. During his tenure at Gordon, the Fighting Scots posted a 30-8-4 record and qualified for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament both seasons.
Craig, a native of Westford, Mass., is a 1993 graduate of Gordon College with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He earned one varsity letter at the University of Massachusetts Lowell before transferring to Gordon College, where he lettered twice. Craig helped Gordon College to the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship in 1992. He earned a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1997. He is a member of the NSCAA and holds a USSF B License.
Craig and his wife, Erin, are the parents of four children, Noah (15), Micah (13), Jonah (10) and Mattea (8).