The concept of a National Concrete Canoe Competition™ had been around for a number of years. In the mid 1980s Dr. R. John Craig, a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and member of the ASCE Committee on Student Services (CSS), and other members of CSS began to formulate plans for more uniform Regional Competitions and formalized a plan to study the feasibility of a National Competition.
In the spring of 1985 Dr. Craig first brought his grand vision of a National Concrete Canoe Competition™ to ASCE. He was instrumental in bringing delegates from all over the country to meet one auspicious day in New York City at the executive conference of the ASCE National Headquarters. During this meeting the feasibility of conducting a National Concrete Canoe Competition™ was discussed, preliminary rules prepared, and a formal recommendation to proceed was drafted.
In the fall of 1985 the preliminary rules were presented to the Committee on Student Services (CSS). During the next year discussions regarding sponsorship were conducted with Master Builders, Inc. and ASCE Headquarters. After almost two years of committee debate, while meeting at the fall 1987 ASCE National Convention the Educational Activities Committee (EdAC) adopted the preliminary rules and established a standing task committee to implement the rules and requirements.
In the winter of 1987, just as the first National Competition was in sight, Dr. Craig was diagnosed with a rare inoperable brain tumor. He passed away just two months before his dream of a National Concrete Canoe Competition came to fruition. In June of 1988 the first National Competition was held in East Lansing, Michigan hosted by Michigan State University.
In the spring of 1989, CSS approved the formation of a permanent subcommittee to ensure the execution of the National Concrete Canoe Competition. Through the efforts and dedication of individuals like Dr. R. John Craig their efforts have established this National Concrete Canoe Competition™.
In that spirit ASCE has dedicated the Coed Sprint Race as a memorial to the teamwork and dedication of Dr. R. John Craig. It is our distinct honor to present the R. John Craig Memorial Award to the school that best exemplifies the spirit and cooperative ideals of the Competition by placing first in the Coed Sprint Race each year.