Craig Magram went from being a parent in the i9 Sports program, which offers youth sports leagues, camps and clinics, to the Program Director of i9 Sports – North & Central Gwinnett County. Craig, a father of two, has lived in the community for more than 13 years, and hopes that the footprint he and his wife created with the i9 Sports program in Suwanee continues to thrive and carries over to other communities in the county.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
I was seeking better work-life balance and had the desire to work for myself. My kids were very young, and I wanted to spend more time with them. My family had moved from Georgia to Colorado in 2001 for work and our goal was to return back to Georgia one day to be closer to our families. My oldest son just turned 5 and was interested in playing sports. A friend told me about a new youth sports program that was just one day a week called i9 Sports and to check it out. I registered him and it was perfect for my busy schedule and was a great environment to learn the game of flag football. After becoming a parent of the i9 Sports program, I learned that it was a franchise and my wife and I decided to take a leap of faith and purchase the i9 Sports of North & Central Gwinnett County in 2006. It has been 13.5 years since making that decision and we would absolutely do it again.
What is your favorite restaurant in Suwanee and what do you love there?
Ippolito’s Italian Restaurant — the garlic rolls are absolutely amazing. My favorite dish is Chicken Romano.
How long have you worked or lived in Suwanee?
We have operated our youth sports program in Suwanee for 13.5 years. Our very first season was spring of 2006 at George Pierce Park. We have played 55 flag football seasons since that day and now offer a variety of other sports in Suwanee (baseball, basketball, volleyball and soccer).
What has kept you here?
The Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation gives the opportunity to play on their fields. Their on-site staff makes it easy for us to play each week. The families want to provide a fun, safe, and a convenient environment for their child. We brought a new sports philosophy (one day a week commitment practices nad games the same day) and culture (just play to play) to Suwanee and the families welcomed us with open arms. We were incredibly lucky to be embraced by the community in 2006
How big is your family?
I am celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary this December. My wife and I met the first weekend of college and have been together for 31 years. I have two boys which have grown up through our sports program. They used to work for candy and now they are on the payroll. My oldest is a junior at FSU and my youngest is a senior in high school.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Suwanee?
I have met many people over the past 13.5 years and to identify the most interesting is exceedingly difficult, but my choice would be Buddy Manning. He is the owner of North Georgia Graphics in Suwanee. Whenever I visit him for business, he always makes me laugh and smile as he shares interesting stories about work & life. He also provides great customer service and design work.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Kauai, Hawaii. It is a beautiful island that my family and I have visited. I enjoy relaxing to the sounds of the ocean, the friendly people, beautiful scenery, and the amazing Shave Ice.
What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
The first movie I can remember seeing in the movie theatre was Star Wars.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Appreciate the time you have with your family and friends. Life flies by so you need to stop and enjoy it with the people around you.
What is something on your bucket list?
Attend the NCAA National Football Championship Game
If you could take anyone to lunch (dead or alive) who would that be and where would you go?
My grandfather Larry Granet and I would go to his favorite restaurant in Boynton Beach, Florida. When I had doubts about transitioning from my previous stable and time-consuming occupation, he was the one family member that said ignore the noise and go for it. If anyone has the passion and drive to change the way youth sports is played, it is you. If he were around today, he would be very proud to see the many players and families at our fields smiling and having fun playing to just play.
What is your favorite music? Name three bands you would like to see.
I enjoy a variety of musical artists. I would like to see U2, Elton John, and Supertramp in concert.
What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Suwanee?
It is not a business that makes me nostalgic about Suwanee, but the iron goats grazing in the grass as you approach the train tracks driving east on Suwanee Dam Road. In my opinion, it represents that the “small town feel” still exists in the big city of Suwanee.
What is your favorite thing about Suwanee?
The many festivals held at Suwanee Town Center.
Would you rather speak to a crowd of 500 or sing to a crowd of 50?
I would absolutely talk is to a crowd of 500. I cannot carry a tune.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be involved in our i9 Sports program, but in a different capacity. I would hope that the footprint we created in Suwanee is thriving and carrying over to other communities in the county.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I was at Walt Disney World the day it opened October 1, 1971. The crazy thing is my wife was there as well. We were 2 months and 5 months old respectively.