WACO, Texas - Riverside City College Head Coach Tom Craft has been named the 2019 American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) Coach of the Year. The award will be presented to Craft during the American Football Coaches Awards ceremony on Tuesday, January 14, at the 2020 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I’m honored and flattered to be named ACCFCA Coach of the Year on behalf of our coaching staff and student-athletes at Riverside City College who trained, prepared and worked so hard to put together the most successful season in school history,” Craft said.
Craft earned his first ACCFCA Coach of the Year honor after leading Riverside City to a 13-0 record and the program’s first California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship in 30 years. The Tigers beat College of the Canyons, 68-21, to claim the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) title, which earned their spot in the CCCAA title game against the College of San Mateo.
Craft completed his 10th season at Riverside City and has a record of 102-15. When he reached the century mark in victories this season, Craft became the first California Community College head coach to win over 100 games at two different programs. He was the head coach at Palomar College from 1983-93 and again from 1998-2001, building a win-loss record of 115-56-1.
Craft began his coaching career at Palomar almost immediately after graduating from San Diego State University in 1977. He served as the Comets’ quarterbacks and receivers coach until he was named head coach in 1983. Craft guided Palomar to nine conference titles, three state championships, four Southern California championships and three national titles. In 1994, he headed back to his alma mater, San Diego State, as offensive coordinator, leading the Aztec offense to a Top 10 ranking in both total offense and scoring offense.
Craft returned to Palomar as head coach from 1998-2001 before being named head coach at San Diego State in 2002. In his four seasons as head coach, the Aztecs won 19 games and produced one of the best passing attacks in the country. Craft returned to the community college ranks in 2007 as offensive coordinator at Mt. San Antonio College. He helped the Mounties to three straight CCCAA State Championship games, winning the title in 2009.
In 2010, Craft took over a Riverside City. In his 10 seasons, Craft has led the Tigers to nine conference titles, made 10 straight trips to the post-season, won 10 bowl games and added the CCCAA title this season. He owns the SCFA record for leading his last 20 teams to 20 straight postseason appearances. Craft won his third straight SCFA Southern Coach of the Year award in 2019.
About the ACCFCA: Before 2000, the two junior college associations, the California Community College Football Coaches Association and the National Junior College Football Coaches Association, each had its own Coach of the Year. In 2000, the AFCA invited the organizations to meet at the AFCA Convention. Three national goals were set: to form a national community college football coaches’ association, to study the possibility of a national championship game between the two organizations and to select a yearly National Coach of the Year who would be recognized by the AFCA. Their initial goal, to create an umbrella coaches association, has been accomplished. In 2002, the American Community College Football Coaches Association selected its first national coach of the year, Michael White of Reedley College. Past winners of the ACCFCA Coach of the Year are: Troy Morrell, Butler Community College, 2003; Tim Hatten, Pearl River Community College, 2004; Don Dillon, American River College, 2005; John Featherstone, El Camino College, 2006; Jeff Chudy, Bakersfield College, 2007; Jeff Jordan, Butte College, 2008; Brad Franchione, Blinn College, 2009; Bob Jastrab, Mt. San Antonio College, 2010; Bert Williams, Georgia Military College, 2013; Buddy Stephens, East Mississippi Community College, 2011 and 2014; Mark McElroy, Saddleback College, 2015; Jeff Sims, Garden City Community College, 2016; Scott Strohmeier, Iowa Western Community College, 2012 and 2017 and Steve Mooshagian, Ventura College, 2018.