Jerry Craig began his athletic career in the fourth grade and moved on to star at the high school and college levels. While attending Owens Cross Roads Junior High School, Jerry was named to the All-County and All-District basketball teams in 1954, 1955, and 1956. He was named the Most Valuable Player for the County and District in 1956. Jerry was also named to the All-County baseball team in 1955 and 1956 while at Owens Cross Roads. As a student athlete at New Hope High School, Jerry started every basketball game he played in. He was named to the All-County basketball team in 1958, 1959, and 1960 and to the All-District and All-State basketball teams in 1959 and 1960. In 1960, he was selected as the Most Valuable basketball player in Madison County and started in the North-South All-Star game. Jerry was also a star baseball player in high school. He had an opportunity to sign a contract with the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club, but decided instead to sign a basketball scholarship to Snead Junior College. While at Snead he was chosen basketballs Mr. Tournament in 1961 and Sneads Mr. Basketball in 1962. After graduating from Snead, Jerry signed a basketball scholarship to the University of Alabama. At Alabama, he lettered in basketball and track.