Football training facility renamed for Joe Craft

Published: Oct. 21, 2016 at 2:06 PM EDT
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The facility housing the day-to-day Kentucky football operation will be named the Joe Craft Football Training Facility in honor of Joe Craft, one of the most passionate, generous and loyal supporters of the University of Kentucky Athletics Department.

“We are so appreciative of Joe Craft’s generosity and thankful for the role he played in making our new football facility a reality,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Without his support and the support of all our donors, we would not be able to create the opportunities for athletic, academic and personal growth that we do for our students. We look forward to celebrating how much Joe means to our program at a dedication ceremony we will schedule soon.”

The $45 million facility opened in July after 19 months of construction, creating a one-stop shop for UK football, with a spacious weight room, dining facilities, locker room, training and rehab areas, team lounge, and coaching offices. Craft has contributed gifts totaling $4.79 million for the construction of the facility.

His contribution to the football practice facility is the latest example of Craft’s longstanding commitment to the success of UK Athletics and its more than 500 students. Craft made a $6 million gift toward the construction of the Joe Craft Center, which opened in 2007, and led a group called the Difference Makers in making the construction of the Wildcat Coal Lodge possible. The group’s $7 million donation was the largest private gift in UK Athletics history.

Craft’s philanthropic efforts also extend beyond the world of athletics. A University of Kentucky Commonwealth Fellow since 2011, he has generously supported several university projects, including the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, College of Engineering, College of Medicine and College of Law. Additionally, he has funded The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State University, a dual-credit residential high school for academically exceptional Kentucky students, and the Joe Craft Tower on the campus of the Hazard Appalachian Regional Hospital’s Regional Medical Center.

Craft graduated from UK with a degree in accounting in 1972 and earned his law degree from UK in 1976. He has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director since August 1999 of the Alliance Resource Partners, LP, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A nationally respected coal executive, Craft is former Chairman of the National Coal Council. In addition, he is a Board Member of the National Mining Association, Director of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a Director of BOK Financial Corporation.