Jim Cratty’s successful six-year run as junior varsity coach of Kodiak High School’s boys basketball team came to an end this season.
At the end of April, Cratty, and his family, are relocating to North Carolina, where he will pastor a church.
During his time on Kodiak’s coaching staff, Cratty posted two undefeated seasons and had only one sub .500 year.
“I liked the community, I liked the support and I liked the excitement of basketball in this town,” he said. “It was great to be a part of it, because this town is just so much behind it.”
Religion is what brought Cratty back to Kodiak in 2006 after spending a stint in the Coast Guard on the island in the 1980s. He arrived looking to resurrect Lighthouse Baptist Mission, and did just that as its pastor. It was his first full-time pastor job after spending 25 years as a youth minister.
“I came here to take a church that was struggling, and my goal was to get that church back on its feet,” Cratty said.
He quickly became Kodiak’s junior varsity coach and the top assistant for varsity head coach Ron Bryant. It wasn’t the first time the two had met; they both played on the same Coast Guard traveling basketball team when they were in the service. When Cratty arrived on the island, he was surprised to see a familiar face.
“I came out for powerball one morning and he was out there,” he said.
Bryant, in need of a junior varsity coach, offered the coaching position to Cratty. Cratty gobbled up the opportunity to continue coaching youth.
“I always have liked working with young people; I have a desire to help them,” Cratty said.
Before moving to Kodiak, he spent 16 years building the athletic program at Victory Christian School in Elizabeth City, N.C. As its first athletic director, he started the volleyball, baseball and basketball programs.
“I got them all going and they are still going,” Cratty said.
Along with working as the school’s youth pastor and athletic director, he doubled as the varsity baseball and boys basketball coach. During his last season with the hoops program, the team won a state title and finished 13th at a national Christian schools tournament.
He continued his success with Kodiak’s boys junior varsity team while coaching under Bryant, Amy Fogle and David Anderson. This year, his team went 15-0.
“I tried to be very specific with the boys on what they were allowed to do and not allowed to do,” Cratty said. “The game is supposed to be fun and it is a lot more fun if you only get corrected when you know you have crossed the line.”
Cratty never applied for the varsity position, because of the time commitment it takes to run a program. Besides his pastor work, he also works at KSS on the Coast Guard base.
Cratty grew up playing baseball — he was an assistant coach for Kodiak’s baseball team for three years — and didn’t play basketball until after high school.
"When I started coaching, I started learning the game — I started studying it," Cratty said.
Anderson enjoyed having Cratty on his staff.
“I have nothing but praise for him,” Anderson said. “He has been a great asset for what we have been doing here. He is a real positive person with the kids and a very good teacher of the game.”
Cratty spent 20 years working search and rescue in the Coast Guard. During his time in the service, he became a youth pastor. When he retired from the Coast Guard in 1995 he spent four years at a bible college. He turned around Lighthouse Baptist and will turn it over to new pastor Wes Stafford, who gets installed on April 14. Cratty, and his family, will be leaving the island on April 30.
“I’m going to miss Kodiak a lot,” Cratty said. “This is a great community. Everybody is so friendly and it is easy to get to know people in this town.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.