BHS head football coach Andrew McCraw loves his family, music and making an impact

Andrew McCraw is the head football coach at Belen High School and is a member of the BHS teaching staff. He graduated from Lovington High School in 2005 and New Mexico Military Institute Junior College with an Associate degree the following year. He earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in sports administration from Eastern New Mexico University in 2009 and 2014, respectively.

His parents, Stephen and Mary McCraw, still call Lovington home, as does his older sister, Elizabeth Wieser, and her husband, Shane Wieser; and his younger sister, Victoria McCraw. His sister, Katherine Harris, lives in Texas with her husband, Jeff Harris.

McCraw is the uncle to Erica, Ryan, Ireland and London.

 

Q

 What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

A

“When I drive, I usually think that the GPS is challenging me and I can win. I also think about how much it would cost to hire a driver because I don’t really like to drive. I also hope the car next to me is really enjoying the concert I am putting on because I’ll get into the music that’s playing on my phone.”

 

Q

 What’s a myth about your profession you’d like to bust? 

A

 “I hear the ‘they are just a coach’ comment a lot. There is so much more that goes into coaching. At the high school level, you are usually a teacher as well, so you have to plan for your classes. We have to act as parent figure, emotional support system, counselor and academic advisor, and there is always laundry to do!

“There is a lot that goes into coaching, its not just calling plays, and it can weigh on you, but it is still the best job in the world.”

 

Q

 What were you like in high school?

A

 “I like to think that I was a well-rounded individual. I played football, basketball and track. I was also a member of FCA and was in the drama program so I did a lot of things. I was probably well behaved, too, because my mom worked for the school.”

Andrew McCraw instructs his players during a game coaching for Eastern New Mexico.

Andrew McCraw, far right, sits with sisters, from left, Victoria McCraw, Katherine Harris, Elizabeth Wieser and brother-in-law, Shane Wieser.

Belen head football coach Andrew McCraw addresses his team after beating Piedra Vista on Friday, Sept. 17.

Andrew McCraw instructs his players during preseason workouts in at Belen High School.

Andrew McCraw, along with a group of Eastern New Mexico football players, pose with the Wagon Wheel awarded to the winner of the rivalry game between Eastern and West Texas A&M.

Pictured from left to right, Andrew McCraw and sisters, Katherine Harris, Victoria McCraw and Elizabeth Wieser.

Q

What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom? 

A

“I got in trouble for doing something when I was like 13. It wasn’t very smart. Had a long conversation with my dad and he told me, ‘Andrew, my son, it’s a lot better to be a smart ass than dumb ass, life is easier that way.’”

 

Q

 What did you want to be when you grew up? 

A

 “I really like movies and music so I always wanted to own a Sam Goodie or a Hastings type store, where I could hang out in all day. Streaming pretty much ruined that.

“When I got to high school, I started helping coach youth sports and I really enjoyed it, so since then I’ve always wanted to be a coach and wanted to work with young people.”

 

Q

Who inspires you?

A

 “My parents. They have worked hard to ensure our family has everything we needed. They also weren’t afraid to stand up for they believed in, even if I didn’t always understand it growing up. A lot of people have told me what good people they are and it makes me proud to know that people see my parents the way that I do.”

 

Q

 If you could work any other job for one day, what would it be and why?

A

 “I would love to own the Dallas Cowboys for one day. I think I would excel at it. Call up Emmitt, Tony and Mike, talk about the good ole’ days. Sign a couple free agents, make a couple cuts, set up the club to be Super Bowl champs, I think I could get it done in a day.”

 

Q

What do you do in your free time?

A

 “When I do have free time, one of my favorite things is to go to the movies. I’ll read during some of my down time throughout the week, too. If its an extended break, I try to make a concert or go to some kind of body of water and float around and listen to some music. Naps are great, too.”

 

Q

What’s something about you most people don’t know? 

A

 “My mom is from Yonkers, New York, so I spent most of my summers hanging out at my grandparents’ house in New York. They lived eight miles from Yankee stadium! Lots of baseball games, beach days and trips to the NYC. Pretty different way of living for a kid from New Mexico.”

 

Q

What three books would you to take to a deserted island? 

A

 “‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,’ ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’”

 

Q

 You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do? 

A

 “The first thing I would do is take a year off. Then I would pay off my debt, buy a new truck and buy a house by the water. Then during the year, I would visit every major league ball park in the summer, and then buy a ticket to all the best college football rivalry games — Army vs. Navy, OSU vs. Michigan, Alabama vs. Auburn, OU/Texas, etc., and have the greatest fan experience anyone has ever had.”

 

Q

Who is your best friend and why?

A

 “If I don’t say my younger sister, Victoria, she’s gonna’ be mad at me. It is her and my buddy, Aaron. We’ve known each other before we even started kindergarten. His aunt was our baby sitter and our moms worked together, so we spent a lot of time with him growing up.

“We go to ball games, concerts and golf trips, and Victoria is usually there with us. The best is when we hang out. His mom still makes him bring me homemade tortillas. It’s a pretty good friendship.”

 

Q

What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone?

A

One song that’s just fun to sing along to is ‘How Will I Know’ by Whitney Houston. Growing up in a house with older sisters in the early ’90s you gotta love Whitney!”

 

Q

 Where is your happy place, and why? 

A

“My happy place is usually hanging out with the family. Whether it be on the beach, at a baseball game or in the backyard we have a really good time together. We play games, make fun of each other, talk smack to each other and pretty much revert to little kids, and annoy our parents.

“The nieces and nephew are starting to get in on the fun with us, so any time I can spend with the family makes me very happy.”

 

Q

Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today? 

A

 “One of the best experiences I ever had, is when I was a graduate assistant at Eastern New Mexico University. As a graduate assistant, you get to coach football, but you also have to paint practice fields, drive the bus to the games, hand out equipment, breakdown film and there is always laundry! You have to do this on top of doing all your coursework as well so you don’t sleep a whole lot.

“One day I was doing laundry, and not very happy about it. Coach “OG” Dave Lynn, father to the head coach Josh Lynn, and Travis Lee, father to the OC Kelley Lee are on staff and helping me with it.

“These two are both New Mexico football legends, in the New Mexico Coaches Hall of Fame and in the National Coaches Hall of Fame as well. This was 2012, and we are sitting there talking about football and life in general and the OG goes, ‘Andrew, you know what me and Travis were doing 40 years ago when we started coaching? Laundry…’

“Got a huge ego check that day, really changed my point of view on some things. Kinda’ learned that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, there is still work to do.”

 

Q

What teacher had the greatest impact on you? 

A

“I don’t think I could choose just one teacher, I have had so many wonderful teachers in my life that I think it wouldn’t be fair to single one out.

“I had great elementary school teachers, high school teachers and college professors that have all pushed me to become the person that I am today. I hope to have a fraction of the impact on someone that my teachers had on me.”

 

Q

 What is your favorite movie scene and why?

A

 “The final round scene in ‘Creed’ is awesome. The three taps on the back of the neck by the trainer so he can continue the fight, the conversation between Donnie and Rocky, and then when the Rocky theme song plays gives me chills every time. I remember seeing it in the movie theatre and when the theme hits, people cheered like we were at a game. It’s a great scene.”

 

Q

If you could have dinner with one famous person — dead or alive — who would it be and why?

A

 “I would love to have dinner with Bill Russell. He won 11 rings as a player and was a player coach for a couple of them! He played in 10 game 7’s and won all 10!

“I’ve read some stories on his competitiveness and how he was as a teammate and its all stuff as a coach that you would love every kid in your program to have. The things his opponents say about him are amazing too, so getting to sit down and ask him questions about all that would be a dream come true.”

 

Q

What are you most proud of? 

A

“When I was at Eastern New Mexico University, one of my duties was to be the academic coordinator for the football team. I was responsible for looking at 120 athletes’ schedules and making sure they were taking classes that counted towards graduation and keeping their eligibility for their scholarships.

“Six of the eight years we had the highest football team GPA in the conference, and our graduation rate for the kids who stayed in the program was like 88 percent.”

 

Q

How would you like to be remembered?

A

 “I would like to be remembered as a man who loved his family, his friends could always count on him to be there, that he did the right thing, made a positive impact on the people who he interacted with, and always had a good joke or could always make someone laugh.”

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