Shocking news tonight with the dismissal of Coach Crowe.
The Gamecocks did not achieve all of their goals under his tenure, but they accomplished much including: 1) three conference championships and the best record in the OVC the year we were not eligible; 2) several playoff appearances; 3) something like 9 straight winning seasons, all accomplished without scheduling out of conference cupcakes; 3) a shock the world win over Ole Miss that brought JSU more publicity than any event in the history of the institution; and 4) 53 seconds away from a monumental upset over Florida State. Thank you Coach Crowe.
Indeed, even his harshest critics would have to acknowledge that our "program" is light years ahead of where it was before he took over in 2001. For instance, thanks to his refusal to accept the status quo, we are no longer losing assistants to high school jobs because of only paying them $22k per year. There is literally no comparison between the weight training equipment Jacksonville State has now and what they had before he started. There is now academic support for football players, whereas none existed before. On that note, if you want to place the APR failure a few years back at his feet, then surely you will recognize that our football team's graduation rate now exceeds that of the general student body and we are now bringing in numerous players that have ACT scores that place them in the academically elite at JSU. Thank you Coach Crowe.
And, of course, JSU plays in a stadium that establishes the foundation for JSU to have a successful program for decades. A stadium that routinely draws more fans now than JSU ever has drawn in the history of the program. Thank you Coach Crowe.
It did not stop there, however. Coach Crowe reached out to successful JSU graduates and made them feel a connection with our program. As a result of his efforts, large contributions were made that led to direct enhancements in JSU's facilities. While the donors wrote the checks, Coach Crowe was proactive in his outreach to these folks refusing to accept the status quo. Thank you Coach Crowe.
But, there is more. After seeing that some of our young men lacked the life skills necessary to succeed at JSU and beyond, he found a way to bring Jamie Strange to JSU who has been leading the team for several years working on character education. Of course, some of this came at the expense of practice time, but we made the commitment that some things are more important. Just this year, Coach Crowe was leading private fundraising efforts to support Jamie in the good work that he does. Thank you Coach Crowe.
Of course, so much of the inside story is not known. For instance, a four star defensive lineman from Georgia, Derrick Lott, wanted to transfer to Jax State from Georgia. Amazingly, he was eligible at Georgia (a pretty good school) and had no problem transferring to Chattanooga, but at JSU he was going to lose a ton of credits. Thus, we missed out on a player that would have made a huge difference at our thinnest position this year. Rather than complain publicly, Coach Crowe worked with the administration to change the rules. Thus, in the future when the right player comes along- maybe we will get him. Thank you Coach Crowe.
There is probably no program at JSU that is more loved than the Southerners. Because of Coach Crowe's efforts, the bond between the football team and the band has never been stronger. Little things like making Ken Bodiford honorary coach at the Spring Game and having the players recognize the band after the game go along way. This connection will pay dividends for years to come. Thank you Coach Crowe.
To sum it up, Coach Crowe was terminated after having the best record in the league in 2009, JSU hosting a playoff game for the first time ever in 2010, winning the conference in 2011 and going 6-3 in the FCS and undefeated at home in 2012. If our future coaches have to exceed this to be considered successful, the bar has been raised pretty high at JSU. Thank you Coach Crowe.