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Brunner QoD: How will Craig’s Promotion Affect Team?
Friday, June 24, 2005
If you'd like to pose a Question of the Day to Conrad Brunner, submit it along with your full name and hometown to Brunofirstname.lastname@example.org. Brunner’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Pacers players, coaches or management.
OF THE DAY
Q. It may seem minor to many, but to the diehard Pacers fans, I think I can speak for many when I say that David Craig will be missed on the bench. To me, he is a "true" Indiana Pacer! My question to you is, what kind of an impact will his departure from the bench have on the team? I am guessing that when a man has been there for 35 years, it will undoubtedly leave a large void in more ways than one. I am assuming that he was well liked among the players and coaches alike.
I guess I just assumed that David Craig would just kind of be there forever, much like I felt with Reggie Miller, and then when you realize that the end of an era has arrived, it is kind of a sad thing. I'll miss not seeing David Craig on the bench, he was one of the few remaining connection to the ABA days. I wish him all the best on his new endeavor! (From Jeff in New Castle, IN)
A. At the mere mention of David Craig's name, I hear his voice shouting, "FIVE, FOUR, THREE …" from the sideline as he lets the players know the shot-clock is expiring. I see him hustling up to a coach's side to update him on the number of timeouts remaining. I remember him sprinting onto the court to tend to a fallen player. Above and beyond all of that, however, I have the indelible image of a face that seems locked in a perpetual smile, an attitude unfailingly upbeat, an energy level unflagging in 35 years on the sideline and in the training room. No matter what your mood, you always feel a little better after spending some time with D.C.
Of course, he will be missed on the sideline. He's worked with 11 coaches, in two leagues, on hundreds of players in his 35 years and in the process became one of the most popular, decorated and respected men in his profession. And somehow, he managed to maintain his Michael J. Fox look of perpetual youth through it all. But it's important to remember he's moving upstairs, into a front-office position that offers him the ability to oversee the team's medical efforts from a big-picture perspective, and his depth of knowledge and personal experience will continue to be invaluable, albeit in a different way.
The final makeup of the training staff has yet to be announced but keep in mind, one of D.C.'s biggest strengths has been his ability to identify and develop young trainers. One of his former assistants, Will Sevening, just won his third NBA championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs. Kevin Johnson served with Washington and is now the head trainer in Philadelphia. Joe Harvey spent eight years with the Cincinnati Reds and (like Craig) has been inducted into the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame. So be assured the new head trainer will be fully qualified and well-prepared for the job – even though he'll have some incredibly large shoes to fill.
"If I have the ball, I will shoot it, you have to believe that," - Stephen Jackson