Craw joins the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros after 10 seasons in sales and operations with Charleston, the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Craw was the South Atlantic League's 2008 Sales Executive of the Year and 2009 Community Relations Director of the Year.
"Harold Craw is one of the true rising stars in Minor League Baseball," said River Bandits owner, Dave Heller. "He has a strong commitment to customer service, a love for baseball, and a genuine understanding of how we can continue to be a great place for families to spend quality time together and have a lot of fun all summer long. Working with Stefanie Brown and Andrew Chesser, Harold gives us an all-star line-up in our front office!"
Craw, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Emory and Henry College in 1999, and his master's degree in sport leisure and management from East Tennessee State University in 2001. He was a physical education and wellness teacher before starting his career in Minor League Baseball in 2002 as the director of stadium operations for the Johnson City (Tenn.) Cardinals of the Rookie-level Appalachian League. That same year he was the facility director for the 2002 NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Craw is believed to be the first African-American general manager in the history of the Midwest League and the only current African-American general manager in Minor League Baseball.
"I am so pleased to see Harold Craw get the opportunity to lead an organization," said Minor League Baseball president, Pat O'Conner. "His work in Charleston [S.C.] was quite impressive and I am confident he will provide the same leadership in the Quad Cities."
Craw's community involvement in Charleston includes co-founding and co-chairing the Charleston RBI (Returning Baseball to Inner Cities) Baseball League. He served on the Charleston Air Force Base Honorary Commanders' Advisory Board and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Military Relations Committee. He was also an active volunteer serving youth in Charleston. Craw and his wife, Angie, have two daughters -- Cameron, 5, and Jasmine, 14 months -- and a dog, Titan.
"I want to thank Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt for the opportunity to join an organization that exemplifies the best in Minor League Baseball, and the opportunity to work in Modern Woodmen Park, one of the best ballparks in all of baseball," Craw said. "River Bandits baseball is all about the people of the Quad Cities, and my family and I look forward to living in, and becoming thoroughly immersed in, this great community."
Craw is the second history-making general manager of the River Bandits. He succeeds Stefanie Brown, who last season was the only female general manager in the Midwest League. Under Brown's steady leadership, the River Bandits produced their highest single-season attendance since 1995. Brown, a three-time Midwest League Female Executive of the Year entering her sixth season with the organization, is promoted to executive director of Modern Woodmen Park, a new position created specifically for her. She is the only female in such a role in the Midwest League.