Overcome with emotion, retired Coach Craig Musselwhite is congratulated by family and colleagues on career achievements that led to the track in Grisham Stadium to be renamed in his honor. The Carrollton Board of Education made the announcement at its June 7 work session.
Maddox-Musselwhite Track now honors two legendary coaches
When the Carrollton High School boys track team captured its 28th state title last month and expanded its lead as the most decorated track program in Georgia history, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the one individual who personally played a part in almost half of those titles – CHS alum and long-time coach, Craig Musselwhite, whose winning “track record” likely will never be broken.
To honor his accomplishments, the Carrollton Board of Education, at its June 7 work session, unveiled plans to rename Maddox Track at Grisham Stadium to Maddox-Musselwhite Track. A dedication ceremony will be held at the first home football game Aug. 20.
The track already honors another Trojan track legacy, Coach Hugh Maddox, who captured five consecutive state titles in track in the 1950s, establishing Carrollton's reputation across Georgia as a track and field powerhouse. In 1956, he also led the Trojans to their first state football title with the help of his assistant, Charlie Grisham. In 1971, the Hugh G. Maddox Track was named in his honor.
But Musselwhite, who retired in 2020, will go down in Carrollton High School athletic history as the coach with the most state championships in one sport as a head coach – eight – plus five more as an assistant coach. The 1985 CHS alum also contributed to two consecutive CHS team titles as a freshman and sophomore in 1982-1983 and captured his own three individual state champion titles in the high jump as a sophomore, junior and senior. For his success as a top prep athlete, he was inducted into the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Board of Education member Gil O’Neal brought forth the idea of honoring Musselwhite in this way earlier this year, and received quick agreement from his fellow board members.
“Craig Musselwhite was an outstanding athlete and coach,” said O’Neal, who had two sons and a nephew go through the track program under Musselwhite’s charge. “He was a good mentor who developed strong relationships with his athletes to produce good men. He simply is a great Trojan.”
While Musselwhite’s coaching prowess is enough to justify the honor, Carrollton City Schools Supt. Dr. Mark Albertus also echoed O’Neal’s sentiment about his contribution as a key mentor.
"Coach Musslewhite has had a profound impact on this community not only with his coaching accomplishments but in positively affecting the lives of hundreds of Carrollton youth, many from difficult backgrounds," said Albertus. "Without recognition or fanfare, Coach worked behind the scenes to help kids navigate the difficult years of adolescence, enabling them to become well-adjusted adults. And this was whether they could run fast or not."
CHS Principal David Brooks also noted Musselwhite has been a successful event coordinator, managing local cross country and track meets plus high-profile events such as the Georgia High School Association annual state cross country championships, held on the Carrollton City Schools campus since 1994.
"Coach Musselwhite’s reputation as an exceptional event coordinator and his success with the cross country championships was instrumental in getting the state track meet to Carrollton," said Brooks.
Following a college career as a track star at Auburn University, Musselwhite returned to the Trojan track program as a student coach for the 1990 season and never looked back. Right out of the blocks, he helped the program bring home another state title that year, followed by two more state championships and a runner-up finish as an assistant coach before assuming the head coaching role in 1994. During this tenure, he accumulated eight more state titles and three additional state runner-up trophies. Between his participation in the program as an athlete and his total years of coaching, Musselwhite’s all-encompassing track record boasts 13 state championships, four runner-up titles, 27 Top Four state finishes, supported by the same number of region titles, over a 35-year Carrollton career. And well before retirement was even a thought in his mind, his body of work drew the attention of the Georgia Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2010.
Following the surprise presentation of the Maddox-Musselwhite Track renaming, Coach Musselwhite and his family pose for a group picture to document the achievement. At top right is Eric Simmons, now an assistant principal at Carrollton Upper Elementary School, who ran track for Musselwhite in the early 2000s. Musselwhite's guidance helped Simmons continue his prep career at the next level.