The name Faye Craig is known throughout the Valley; she is one of the most prominent coaches in our region. If you haven’t been coached by her, your friend, sibling, child, or parent probably has been. Craig has been coaching for decades and has been a part of the lives of many of the Valley’s young athletes. Recently, she once again coached the midget girls basketball team at CVR to a provincial championship.
“You know, you pick a team and hope it’s going to mold and work together. And it takes a lot of effort; you have ups and you have downs,” says Craig. In the semi-finals game, they won against a team that had previously beaten them three times in the season. “It’s so nice to watch the girls’ whole year of training just come out, and see all the work pay off.”
One of the coaches who has been working with Craig this year is Valley veterinarian Jodi Wallace. Wallace explains that “Faye’s legacy is hanging on the walls of the gym and in the hearts of the athletes she has coached.” This year, the two of them – along with Taylor Faille – coached the Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR) midget girls basketball team to win the Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) championships.
Craig divides her time between many different sports teams in different schools and in the community. Wallace explains that “Faye volunteers her time at Franklin Elementary, Howick Elementary, Howick T-ball, Howick-Sainte-Martine U15 girls soccer, bantam boys basketball, junior girls basketball, and junior and senior girls field hockey. She also is the referee for our field hockey tournament games and league games. That’s a very busy schedule for someone who is retired.”
Besides the time and dedication that Craig puts into the kids she coaches, Wallace says, “Faye finds the potential in all the kids. [She] brings the best out of us. You don’t grow in your comfort zone; you grow when you are pushed to be better. Faye demands full effort out of all her athletes. This is where the champions are made.”
Not everybody has the opportunity to play sports outside of a school setting. “Many athletes do not have the opportunity to play sports on city teams. Maybe their parents work full time, or they are too far away to make playing for city teams possible.” This makes having access to sports in school even more important.
Wallace explains that Craig’s style of coaching teaches students life lessons that will help them outside of school. “Faye’s coaching teaches us life skills: show up on time, work hard, be consistent, respectful to yourself and teammates, and then you will be rewarded. Nothing gets handed to you in life. [There are] no participation awards in the real world.”
Wallace has first-hand experience with Craig’s coaching ability and drive; when she was in high school, Craig recruited her to play field hockey. Wallace went on to play internationally as the captain for Team Quebec and was given multiple scholarship offers to play in the USA. Without Craig, she wouldn’t have been given these opportunities. She says that there are “hundreds of similar stories of students who Faye has helped to succeed in sports and in life.”
This year was special for both Craig and Wallace as they were both coaching family members. Craig’s granddaughter and Wallace’s daughter were both on the team. Craig says that “All the years of coaching, it›s always been everybody else›s kids… It was nice to see it nice to see [my granddaughter’s] progress.” Wallace adds that coaching alongside Craig instills a “sense of pride. What a great feeling to help the team improve their skills over a season, and then win a banner!” To Craig, it’s been “really nice to see” former athletes coming back to coach alongside her this time around.