Craig Longhurst

Craig Longhurst (’95) was a member of the Wake Forest men’s track & field and cross country teams from 1991-95. He finished fourth at the ACC Men’s Cross Country Championship his senior season and helped the team earn back-to-back ACC titles in 1993 and 1994. Longhurst was named to the 1994 All-ACC Cross Country team and was also an All-ACC Outdoor honoree in 1995. He holds a spot in the top-ten all-time Wake Forest men’s outdoor 10,000m performances with a time of 29:45.30.

When did you graduate from Wake Forest?
1995

What was your major and/or minor?
Psychology

What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
I love being the underdog, and Wake Forest always seems to be the underdog. We may not always get the same press or fanfare as some of our in-state rivals, but that has always been something that drives me and makes it even sweeter when the Demon Deacons achieve success.

Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
It’s important to give back to the school that gave a small-town kid from Wendell, NC a chance at a great education and to compete collegiately. The cross country team had some lean years recently, but it’s exciting to see John Hayes turning the program around and I want to be involved in that resurgence as much as I can. Seeing the Deacs compete at our facility is always a pleasure, as there were no indoor tracks in our own backyard when I was in school.

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
It is sort of the “pay it forward” mentality. There were obviously alums who made it possible for me, as a former student-athlete, to get the opportunities I had at Wake Forest, so now it’s my turn to try and give back. It doesn’t always have to be monetarily either (although that is important, too). Sometimes it’s conversations with the current coaching staff about recruiting and, “Hey, did you see that kid from school X and how they did?” Other times, it’s simply talking to the kids on the current team and sharing our experiences with them. There are so many different ways to give back to the Athletic Department and University, and specifically to the cross country and track programs.

What is your current occupation?
Facility Director for JDL Fast Track, an indoor track and field center here in Winston-Salem that hosts over 40 indoor track and field competitions each year. I also serve as Director of Property Management for JDL Castle, a real estate development firm in Winston-Salem.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
Finishing fourth at the 1994 ACC Cross Country Championships and leading our team to back-to-back ACC titles.

What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
Seeing Wake Forest succeed in the ACC and nationally; the recent success of the soccer and tennis teams, in particular. I’m also very happy to see that the cross country teams are progressing and will likely be returning to the national stage in the next year or two. It’s great to see the commitment from the administration to the teams that are near and dear to me.

When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Living only about three miles from campus, I will sometimes go for a run that takes me through campus. A run through the cross country trails or just around campus is always a nice way to see all the updates happening.

I was there when…
Dorms on the Quad didn’t have air conditioning! I remember having a fan in the window to try to cool off the room. The first few weeks of classes were a little toasty in a third-floor, back room of Taylor.

Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
John Goodridge, who was my coach while at Wake Forest. We affectionately called him “Hey, Bud,” as he usually started off a conversation with something like, “Hey, bud, how’s it going?”  He had a lot of success with four men’s cross country titles in six years and, until recently, had the highest ever finish by an ACC school at the NCAA Cross Country Championship. The guy needs to be in the Hall of Fame!

(Please note: This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of Gold Rush.)