Hal Croft Track Officially Dedicated

The story behind the naming of RMHS’s new outdoor track


Former English teacher and track coach Hal Croft speaks at the dedication of RMHS’s new outdoor track.

Samantha Maher ('23), Orbit Contributor

On Friday, November 11th, Reading Public Schools dedicated their new track to legendary track coach, former teacher, and Vietnam War veteran, Harold Croft.

RMHS hosted a dedication ceremony for the new “Hal Croft Track”. Guest speakers for this event featured School Committee member Charles Robinson; Assistant Principal Jessica Theriault; State Representative Bradley Jones; former Reading student-athlete Peter Rittenburg; former Reading student-athlete and Cross Country Coach Mike Connolly; former Reading student-athlete current RMHS Teacher, Head Football Coach, and Assistant Track Coach John Fiore; as well as Hal Croft himself. The returning alumni spoke on the positive impact that Croft had as a coach, teacher, veteran, and now friend. 

 Carl McFadden, a former RMHS track athlete and School Committee member, along with John Fiore presented the idea to rename the track in Croft’s honor to the School Committee in April of 2022. The Reading School Committee unanimously agreed to establish a renaming committee made up of diverse community members as a sign of support for renaming the track. Following the Reading School Subcommittee’s nomination, the district’s new outdoor running track was officially named after Mr. Croft.

 Mr. Fiore, of the History Department, voiced his support for the decision. “We all know Hal is the most authentic human to walk on this planet. Each member of the track program knew immediately that Hal valued commitment, hard work, and teamwork.”

…Hal valued commitment, hard work,  and teamwork.

— Mr. Fiore

 Croft’s track record as the boys’ track and field coach at RMHS is evidence of the kind of impact he had on both students and athletes. The boys’ spring track team had a 0-9 record in 1970 when Croft took over the program. After a 3-6 debut season in 1971, Croft’s Rockets didn’t lose another dual meet until the early 2000s. “The Streak” is a widely known record of 29 consecutive Middlesex League championships and 252 consecutive dual meet victories.

 “Hal combined his knowledge of the subject and knowledge skills to build the most sustainable culture in the history of high school sports,” said Mr. Fiore.

 Croft received numerous awards and recognitions for his achievements- National Track Coach of the Year, Mass State Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, McDonalds’ coach of the year, and a story in the national magazine, Sports Illustrated, in 1995. Croft retired in 2014, but one of his most notable achievements came after he retired from coaching. In 2018, Scott Given, a former track athlete at RMHS, founded a private school organization named “The Croft School”. In addition to schools in Jamaica Plain and Providence Rhode Island, there will soon be a third Croft School in Boston’s South End.

Following the dedication ceremony of the RMHS Hal Croft Track, Croft can add the RMHS’s track to the long list of acknowledgments throughout his life and RMHS can be proud of the person that lays behind the name of their track. “Hal’s athletes will now forever race around this track, confronting and defeating their inner limits, exceeding their potential, and raising their arms in triumph as they cross the finish line at the Hal Croft Track,” concluded Mr. Fiore.