July 31st, 2000
NEWBERG, Ore. — Earl Craven, former athletic director and football coach at George Fox University and a former NAIA Coaches Association president, died Thursday (July 27) at the age of 77. Services will be held Tuesday (Aug.1) at 1:30 p.m. at the Newberg Friends Church.
Craven, who coached at four colleges, was president of the NAIA Coaches Association from 1957-59. Two colleges, George Fox and William Penn College, inducted him into their sports halls of fame.
A 1949 graduate of George Fox (then known as Pacific College), Craven returned to his alma mater in 1963 as director of admissions, athletic director, and football coach, hoping to revive a struggling gridiron program, but resigned as coach at the end of the 1967 season after five losing seasons. The school eventually dropped football at the end of 1969.
Craven returned again to George Fox in 1985, serving in the admissions and continuing education departments, before his retirement in 1997.
Craven was born on Nov. 24, 1922, in Beaver, Kansas, and graduated from Boise (Idaho) High School in1939. He entered Pacific College in 1941, singing in the choir and serving as sophomore class president, but his schooling was interrupted by military service from 1943-1946. Returning to Pacific, he lettered in basketball, baseball and football, earning his degree in psychology and education in 1949.
Craven took over as head football, baseball, and track coach, and taught in the physical education department at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, in 1949. During his five years there, he completed a master’s degree in health and physical education at Kansas State University, graduating in 1953.
In 1954, Craven moved to Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, as director of physical education and summer admissions representative while again coaching football, track, and baseball.
In 1958, he accepted the challenge of coaching the football team at William Penn in Oskaloosa, Iowa, which had won a total of six games in the previous 17 seasons and was on a 47-game losing streak. After losing its opener, the team snapped the string in its second game with a 28-0 win over Eureka College and went to a 7-2 record that season. He also served as track coach, director of admissions, and in the public relations office at William Penn until 1963.
Craven also worked as dean of students at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Ore., from 1967-76, as a teacher and coach at Astoria High School from
1976-78, and as director of admissions at Sioux Falls College in Sioux Falls, S.D., from 1978-84.
Craven was inducted in the William Penn Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and the George Fox Sports Hall of Fame, as a member of its first class, in 1996.
Craven was married to the former Dorothy Mae Armstrong of Portland, Ore., for 58 years, and they had four sons — Robert, Larry, Richard, and Brian — and one daughter — Judith. He also had 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The family has suggested that remembrances for Earl Craven be contributed to a scholarship fund in his name at the Newberg Friends Church.