By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Joe Pinyan has been a lot of things to Ryan Crowder in his 13 years at Salisbury. Predominantly, he’s been a football authority figure for a gridiron-hungry young man looking to move up.
Now that Crowder has climbed a step, Pinyan’s a predecessor. On Aug. 23 it will be rival.
Crowder, an assistant coach at Salisbury since 2000, was named the successor to Pinyan Monday afternoon at SHS. You won’t have to look hard for storylines in Crowder’s opening game, which will be against Pinyan and his new team, Carson, at Ludwig Stadium.
“It’ll be fun for both of us,” Crowder said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”
Salisbury has reached the West region final three times in the last four years and won a state 2A championship in 2010.
For Crowder, 36, it’s his first head coaching job and he’s the 13th coach in Salisbury history. The opponents are the Central Carolina Conference, and the expectations that Pinyan’s success spawned. Pinyan accepted the head coaching job at Carson in March. Salisbury has won double-digit games each of the last four seasons and has won the CCC seven times since 2003.
“The guy averaged over 10 wins a year,” Crowder said. “Everyone’s going to expect you to win. It’s different from another job where you’re just expected to finish in the top half of the conference.”
Crowder played football growing up through high school but went a different route in college after injuries ended his athletic days. He graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan and went to grad school at West Virginia for school administration. His first job out of college was a short stint at Morgantown High. After that, he came to Salisbury and worked his way up to defensive coordinator eight years ago. Since Crowder has been the Hornets’ defensive mentor, they’ve held opponents to seven points or less in 33 games.
“Seldom do you go somewhere and inherit somebody of his ability,” Pinyan said. “I was lucky to do it for 10 years.”
Crowder knows the Hornets lose a big chunk of the offense last year with quarterback Brian Bauk and running back Justin Ruffin graduating. Salisbury loses a trio of all-county players in defensive back Keion Adams, running back Max Allen, and offensive lineman Parker McKeithan.
Crowder expects the pipeline of quality athletes to keep flowing. He’ll instill his own teachings in effort to craft his own legacy.
“That’s what makes this a great school to coach at,” Crowder said. “Right when you think you lost it all, the kids will step up and you’ll keep on moving.”
Nothing’s definite for the season, but Riley Myers will be the quarterback heading into summer workouts.
“He’s been a backbone to the great situation that’s been made here,” Salisbury co-athletic director Dale Snyder said. “He knows these kids and knows the program that we run.”
It’s a program that Crowder runs now. And the docket Monday was set.
At 1 p.m., Crowder formally introduced himself to the prospective players. After the bell rang two hours later, they were in the weight room.
“I don’t plan on being outworked,” Crowder said. “I don’t expect them to be outworked.”