The Bruins will have a new coach next season. Travis Craig, a six-year assistant with the Bruins, was introduced as the new coach on Friday. He will take over the position from former coach, Brook Harlan.
Harlan will still be around Rock Bridge, helping out when needed, but not as a coach. After three years of leading the Bruins, Harlan, a 1999 Rock Bridge graduate, decided to focus on his job as one of two culinary instructors with the Columbia Area Career Center. The center recently went from three instructors to two.
“I think the best move for the team was for someone else to take over,” Harlan said.
After the season, Harlan started thinking about the wrestling team’s needs and discussed the possibility of resigning with Craig. Harlan spent his days shuttling back and forth between the career center and the wrestling team, and he said that he could not give it the necessary attention. Craig expressed interest in applying for the job, and Harlan made his decision to resign.
“He is down-to-earth and very humble,” Harlan said about Craig. “The team respects him, and it will be an easy transition. Travis will do an excellent job.”
Craig’s familiarity with the program helped in Harlan’s decision because it made him more comfortable, but he said that he trusted the administration to hire the best candidate.
“I’ve been with the seniors for three years and it helps a lot to have the same style of coaching,” Craig said.
Craig, 25, came to Rock Bridge six years ago after graduating from Oak Park High School (Kansas City, Mo.) in 2001. He finished second at the state meet at 140-pounds during his junior and senior years, and he helped Oak Park win its first state championship in 2000.
Craig started coaching at Rock Bridge during his sophomore year at MU. He graduated from MU in 2006 with a degree in Psychology.
“My high school coach at Oak Park drilled into us to give back to the sport, so it was an obvious thing to do,” Craig said. “I’d really like the team and wrestling at Rock Bridge to become a program that runs year-round. Not just with wrestling, but helping the guys achieve their goals outside of wrestling.”