Craig Darch

Professor, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling
College of Education

Craig Darch is the Humana-Sherman-Germany Distinguished Professor of Special Education at Auburn. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate at the University of Oregon. In 1982, Darch came to Auburn's Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling where he has served as a professor for the last 32 years.

Darch recently published his first biography,"From Brooklyn to the Olympics: The Hall of Fame Career of Auburn University Track Coach Mel Rosen." He has co-authored three college-level textbooks on learning and intellectual disabilities and has published more than 60 research articles for professional journals in the fields of special education and psychology. He also has contributed chapters to three edited books and has written articles on special education for three encyclopedias. Darch lives in Auburn with his wife Gabriele and has a son Eric, who is currently seeking his doctoral degree at Auburn.

At 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, Darch, accompanied by Mel Rosen, will be speaking as part of the All-Star Lecture Series in the Goodwin Room at the Auburn Alumni Center.

1. What originally brought you to Auburn and what has kept you here?

When I completed my doctoral program in special education at the University of Oregon, I saw there was a position open at Auburn University. The job description looked interesting, so I applied. I have never regretted my decision to come to Auburn more than 30 years ago. I work with a group of terrific colleagues. Also, the students at Auburn are excellent. Auburn has been a place where I have thrived professionally and personally. I am grateful to be a faculty member at Auburn, and I hope I am here another 32 years!

2. What inspired you to write "From Brooklyn to the Olympics: The Hall of Fame Career of Auburn University Track Coach Mel Rosen?"

I am an avid jogger and four years ago I was running my typical route on Auburn's campus. It was early, about 4 o'clock in the morning, and I was running near Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. From a distance I saw a Greyhound bus parked next to the coliseum. The inside of the bus was lit up; the bus seemed to glow in the darkness. Curious, I ran toward it. As I got closer I noticed a lone figure sitting in the front seat. It was Mel Rosen, then the retired head coach of Auburn's track and field team, who was serving as an unpaid assistant coach. There was no one else in the bus, just Rosen, waiting to leave for a track meet. I thought to myself, "How is it that an 82-year-old unpaid assistant coach can be so enthusiastic about his sport that he beats everyone to the bus at four in the morning?" The look on his face seemed to say, I have traveled a long way from Brooklyn and do I have stories to tell. It was then, at that instant, I knew I had to write, "From Brooklyn to the Olympics: The Hall of Fame Career of Auburn University Track Coach Mel Rosen." I'm grateful I took that jog.

3. What is your favorite book you've ever read?

Zalman Shazar's "Morning Stars." It was a book given to me by my mother and father for my high school graduation. When I got the book I didn’t read it right away — it sat in my library for 12 years before I picked it up. It was a story about how Shazar, Israel’s third President, developed a love of books from sitting in his father's library reading. I guess you can say that I was just a little late discovering this special gift.

4. What hobbies do you have outside of teaching and writing?

I exercise! I love to jog and swim and I enjoy attending sporting events. I also love to read and I collect books. I have a collection of 2,000 Jewish books.

5. . Where is your favorite place in Auburn?

Aside from my home, it would be the library.

Last Updated: Oct. 20, 2014

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