Athletic fields

Hickory High athletic fields and complexes will be named for Elder, Craft


At a recent meeting of the Hickory Public Schools Board of Education, the name selection for two sports facilities at Hickory High received a unanimous vote from the board members.

Presented to the Board of Education by Hickory High (HHS) Athletic Boosters President Roger Young, the name recognition will honor two coaches who have a long and dedicated history of service at Hickory High.

While the football stadium remains named Frank Barger Stadium, the new football field will be named after coach David Elder. The HHS baseball field is named after Troy Washam, but the baseball complex will be named after Coach David Craft.

Coach David Elder, former Hickory High head coach for women’s football and basketball at Hickory High, will be recognized during the pre-game celebration on October 8, 2021, during the Hickory High reunion. The HHS Athletic Booster Club invites the public to join in the evening in honor of coach David Elder. They will recognize the 25th anniversary of the “1996 State Championship Football Team”. The Athletic Booster Club hope that all who have been coached and mentored by Coach Elder will join in the celebration. Elder serves WHKY Radio as an analyst for Hickory High School football and basketball games throughout the seasons.

The evening celebration on October 8 includes a pre-game barbecue dinner at 5:15 p.m. on the training ground adjacent to the tennis courts. The cost is $ 15 / person, which includes the barbecue and sides, as well as a game ticket. Everyone must register for the celebratory barbecue meal / ticket no later than October 1.

To register, visit the Hickory High School Athletic Boosters Club online:

For any questions regarding the celebratory dinner and events, contact: Les Stewarts, email:

At 6:40 p.m. on October 8, the team’s inauguration and recognition ceremony will take place on the stadium field. The Red Tornado Homecoming kicks off at 7:00 p.m. against North Iredell.

Coach David Elder

After a coaching career spanning more than 35 years, including 561 victories and four state championships, Elder was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Hall of Fame.

Elder was selected to serve as the head coach of the HHS Tornado football team in 1994 after serving 13 years as an assistant. Elder racked up 85 wins over the next nine years, the second in HHS history behind coach Frank Barger.

Elder is well remembered in the community and statewide for his 1996 season at Hickory High as this team led a 16-0 season, securing the State Championship after beating Ragsdale High in Game 42. -0. Hickory High had the longest winning streak in the 1996-97 seasons, with 28 consecutive wins.

“In 1994, with 3 seniors, 9 juniors, 12 sophomores and 4 freshmen, we basically played this season with a JV team playing a college calendar,” Elder said. “After a 4-7 season that year, we went 10-3 in 1995, then in 1996 we won it all with a 16-0 record and a state championship in just 3 years! Continuing in 1997, we started the year with a 12-0 record before losing in the state playoffs – but only after setting an academic record of 28 straight wins.

“My wife, Cindy, has always been the mother of the team because I was the father of the team if a player needed us away from the field or the court. We were there then and we’re here now if they ever need us, ”Elder said. All of the senior’s adult children are products of Hickory Public Schools. They are the parents of five children, including Shane Elder, Jake Sisk, Jessica Elder McDonald, Josh Elder and Mark Sisk. They also have seven grandchildren.

A graduate of Taylorsville High School in 1963, Elder played football for Lenoir-Rhyne College (now the University) for four years and was inducted into the LRU Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. A member of Catawba County Sports Hall of Fame, Elder also joined the first class of the Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

“It is a great honor that the Hickory High football field bears my name,” said Elder. “I give this glory to God. When my family told me about it, I couldn’t talk about smiling and laughing for several minutes and repeating over and over: “really, does this happen to me … and do I deserve this?” ? “Once it all started, I thought about how it all started as an assistant coach under two men I admire and respect tremendously, Frank Barger and Larry Wittenberg,” Elder said.

Trainer David Craft

For more than three decades, Coach David Craft, who continues to serve Hickory High School as the school’s history teacher, coach and athletic director, led the Tornado baseball teams as a head coach with an average of 15 wins per year. Coach Craft has also led student-athletes to 10 conference championships.

As the HHS athletic director since 2013, Craft also served as an assistant football coach for the HHS from 1990 to 2009.

A 1983 graduate of Hickory High School, Craft is proud to be a product of Hickory Public Schools where he has participated in three sports including football, basketball and baseball.

Pursuing a major in social science education at Wingate College, Craft played baseball as both a catcher and first base on his varsity team.

In 2016, the NCHSAA awarded Craft the Charlie Adams Award. Craft is also the recipient of Conference Coach of the Year and Regional Baseball Coach of the Year.

Married to Judy, the Crafts are parents to two daughters, Jennifer and Ashley, both graduates of Hickory High and UNC-Chapel Hill. They are currently enrolled in the doctoral school.

The Craft Baseball complex will feature a three-lane indoor batting and pitcher’s area for softball and baseball teams, a playing area renovation at Troy Washam Field and a new safety net made possible through numerous private donations. and commercial.

“I am very touched and honored by the Hickory Public Schools Board of Education and the HHS Athletic Booster Club for this recognition. It is a team effort and all of the former team members, coaches and administrators have helped our baseball and sports program, ”said Craft. “We can’t wait to play the state-of-the-art Troy Washam field and practice in the new batting cage area. It will really help our program to grow and our athletes are so excited. “

The official opening of the Craft Baseball Complex will be announced in spring 2022.

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