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Crawford named North soccer coach

North Gwinnett filled the last of three open positions in its athletic program this week, naming Erik Crawford as the head girls soccer coach and completing the replacement process after Mark Karen's departure.

Karen was the Bulldogs' athletic director, head girls soccer coach and head cross country coach before he left this summer to be athletic director at Hilton Head High School (S.C.).

Boys cross country coach John Rowland filled Karen's void in the girls cross country program earlier, while former North AD Chris Culpepper has left retirement to help the program during this transitional stage. The last piece to fill was in the girls soccer program, one of North's most successful programs in recent years with a state title in 2010 and a state runner-up finish this past spring.

The school turned to Crawford, a 1997 Shiloh grad who is in his ninth year at North. He was the Bulldogs' head boys soccer coach for five seasons, in addition to working regularly with the girls team.

"I've been coaching girls now for five years outside of high school and it's good to get back to coaching them at the high school level again," said Crawford, an assistant with the North boys last season. "Hopefully I can pick up where Mark left off and help the girls continue to be successful."

Crawford, who helped start the boys soccer program at Elbert County during his student teaching, played college soccer at Oglethorpe.