WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Johnny Craig

2014-03-31T18:00:00Z 2014-03-31T21:13:58Z WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Johnny CraigMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
March 31, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

It wasn't a spring break, but it was an eventful weekend getaway for Kaplan College president Johnny Craig.

The 1996 Gavit grad did not totally escape the college environment. He was inducted into Johns Hopkins University's Athletic Hall of Fame. The former all-Lake 10 Athletic Conference pick at Gavit and 2000 Centennial Conference player of the year made the trip to Baltimore for the ceremonies.

"Tremendous honor for me to be inducted," Craig said. "It is a chance to go back, see my old coach (Bob Babb), but I am truly humbled and flattered of going into the school's hall of fame."

Craig said he is fortunate to have played college baseball and to get an education at one of the top schools in the country. He graduated in 2000 with a bachelors in political science and then got an MBA from Purdue. At Johns Hopkins, he was a first-team all-conference pick as catcher for three years and was a second-team pick as a freshman (1997). A .356 career hitter, he still is in the top 10 in many records. He also met his wife of 11 years Claudia at the Baltimore school. They have two children.

Many local students go away and don't return, but Craig wanted to come back.

"I grew up in Hammond and we are 15 miles from one of the greatest cities in the world," Craig said. "This is a pretty good area to raise a family. I came from here and am proud to say I am from here."

Kaplan College, which is in Hammond, used to be Sawyer College. Craig said the school's focus is educating students and placing them in their chosen career.

"We want them to maximize what they learned and get out and start making money," Craig said. "We have rolling admissions, so we always have students enrolling. Our goal and mine as president is helping students succeed. These are local men and women who want to get an education and get into a new career."

He said he likes the fact that local people are getting an opportunity to better themselves.

"When I look on campus, I see kids from the Region, Hammond kids, Munster, Highland, St. John, Lansing," Craig said. "I see a few people I grew up with who are going back to, or starting school. These are people just like me, good neighborhood people."

He remembers playing for Gavit and the fun he had.

"Coach Jerry Blastick ran a great program, but he was strict," Craig said. "We loved playing for him. I remember one year he had the first day of practice at 12:01 a.m. and my dad driving me at like 11:30 p.m. to school for practice.

"We won a lot of games, played hard and were conference champs my senior year (1996)."

To submit a "Where Are They Now?" idea, contact Mike Nieto at mike.nieto@nwi.com or (219) 933-3232.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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