George C. Kraft, Jr. was born to missionary parents, Rev. Kraft and his wife, Pearl, in Chengdu, China, in 1939. Due to political unrest and war, his family traveled between the United States and China several times. Eventually, his parents returned to continue in the mission field, while he and his siblings, a younger brother and sister, stayed stateside in a mission home from 1951 until leaving to pursue education at Wheaton College. He graduated in 1962 and served for a short time in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer before attending Indiana University for his Master of Science degree, class of 1965. Shortly after graduating, he was hired at Hope College as an assistant professor and football coach in 1967. He received his doctorate in physical education in 1971 from Indiana University, and after that became the program director for the Dow Center in 1978. From the beginning of his time as a professor at Hope until he became the program director, he also served as a wrestling coach for the school. He served as chair of the department of kinesiology from 1988 to 2003. During his 38-year service with Hope College, his book, Coaching the Fundamentals of Football was published in 1984 and a second edition was released in 1991. Several articles written by Kraft also appeared in multiple national coaching publications. He retired from coaching football after the 1996 season, and retired from Hope faculty in 2005. In November 2013, the performance lab at DeVos Fieldhouse at Hope College was dedicated in honor of Kraft’s contributions and career at Hope College. The George C. Kraft collection includes articles written by Kraft and others concerning physical education and high school and college athletics, especially football, as well as his memoirs concerning his life as child of missionaries.
Repository citation: Hope College, "H17-1957. Kraft, George C. (1939- ). Papers, n.d., 1943-2012. 0.75 linear ft. PARTIALLY RESTRICTED" (2017). Collection Registers and Abstracts. Paper 1491.
October 25, 2017.