With his next victory, the Jacksonville State head coach will earn his 100th career victory. He goes into Saturday’s homecoming game against Murray State 99-85 in 18 years as a head coach.
It will be his first chance at the century victory following last week’s overtime win over Tennessee State.
“Does that moment call for a moment — and only a moment — of reflection?” Crowe said. “Yeah, it does. What is the reflection? No. 1, I’ve been around a long time. And it’s about ‘we’ not about ‘I’, and there are some people at this university who have worked to keep me here, starting with (university president) Dr. (Bill) Meehan.
“You’ve got to have some people who want to keep you around to be there long enough to do that. And on the other side of ‘we’ is a lot of really quality coaches and players who have played awful hard with a lot of heart and effort to win that many games.”
Crowe was 5-15 in his first head coaching job at Livingston (1977-78) and 9-15 at Arkansas (1990-92) before getting another shot at as head coach at JSU in 2000. His teams have had nine straight winning seasons since joining the OVC in 2003.
On Saturday, he passed Bill Burgess for second place on the Gamecocks’ list of all-time coaching victories. Now in his 13th season, Crowe is 85-55 with the Gamecocks. Don Salls tops the list with 95.
“I think if anything, it really brands me a Jacksonville State football coach,” said Crowe, who passed Burgess as JSU’s second-longest tenured coach this season. “I’m proud to be branded that way.
“I cannot think of a more or a truer culture of people that I feel like I fit with. The people who went to school here, going back to my high school, I know these people. I know them from business. I know them socially and I am proud to say I’m one of them.”
Coincidentally, Burgess was the head coach who started Crowe on his career path at Oxford High School in 1970. At the time, Crowe said he never had in mind “anything like” winning 100 games.
“I just felt I was lucky to coach every day,” he said. “I’ll tell you what means a lot to me: How many conference (championship) rings I’ve got, not the rest of it. And I don’t have enough. Those, I keep up with.”
In nearly 40 years of coaching — high school, college, assistant or head — his teams have logged a 280-143-2 record with 11 conference titles.
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @JSUSports_Star.