Friday was a homecoming of sorts for Al Craig.
The 2006 Monticello graduate and former Champaign Central and Oakwood football coach was the final guest color analyst of the regular season to join me in the WHMS 97.5-FM broadcast booth.
Actually, we were in the top row of the bleachers as his alma mater hosted Unity. But it was a nice evening for a football game between two Illini Prairie Conference rivals.
“I coached for so long, I haven’t really made it back to Monticello too much for games over the years,” Craig said. “I still have a lot of friends that live there and I’m really excited to see the new facilities, I’ve seen pictures and it looks awesome. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Craig — a teacher at Stratton Elementary in Champaign — says his coaching days are behind him. He guided the Comets to a pair of Class 2A playoff appearances during his time as the program’s head coach from 2018-21.
But getting a chance to watch a star-studded coaching clash that featured Cully Welter — recently named the head coach for the Blue team in the 50th Shrine All Star game — and Scott Hamilton was a lot of fun.
“(Welter) has completely changed that program and made it a winner every year,” Craig said. “It’s been a lot of fun to watch from afar.”