Coach raises funds for championship rings
BY AMELIA HARPER
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Tarboro High School Head Football Coach Jeff Craddock has embarked on a mission to raise money for championship rings for his team — for the second year in a row.
The Vikings earned their second consecutive 1-AA title in December when they claimed victory over East Surrey at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium. This was the sixth time that the Vikings have won the title in program history and the fifth title won during Craddock’s tenure.
This latest victory, Craddock said, is something his team should recall with pride for the rest of their lives.
“I think it’s important for these guys to have a championship ring because they have worked so hard all year round to achieve this victory. For the seniors, this win represents more than three years of blood, sweat and tears,” Craddock said. “Giving them a championship ring is just a way of letting them know how proud we are are of them and to thank them for their effort. The right to wear a championship ring is hard to come by and these kids deserve it.”
However, championship rings are not cheap. Craddock hopes to present rings to roughly 76 team members at a cost of $370 each, which adds up to more than $28,000. Craddock hopes to raise the money with the help of the Booster Club and other community partners. As of now, Craddock said, he has about $8,000 in pledges outside the undetermined amount the Booster Club has raised.
“We need to raise money for these rings because it is not fair to make the kids buy their own rings and there are some students who can’t afford it,” Craddock said.
For about 22 of these students, this will be the second championship ring they have earned, Craddock said.
Craddock needs to order the rings soon because they take several weeks to craft. Craddock designed the rings and that design is secret until it will be revealed at a Ring Ceremony Craddock hopes will be held sometime in March at the Keihin Auditorium on the campus of Edgecombe Community College.
Craddock is looking forward to that ceremony because he knows how much it means to students.
“This is like a dream come true for these students,” Craddock said. “Some of them have told me that getting the ring at the Ring Ceremony is better than Christmas.”
Craddock said people in Tarboro are usually very generous with such efforts.
“We have always had good support in the past,” Craddock said. “It is just a lot of money. But for most of these kids, this is nicest piece of jewelry they will likely ever own. And they have earned it.”
Anyone who would like to contribute to this effort should write a check payable to Tarboro High School and designate it for the Championship Rings. Checks should be mailed to Jeff Craddock at Tarboro High School, 1400 Howard Ave., Tarboro, NC 27886.