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Crawley out at East

By Nick Bowton

Salisbury Post

Tom Eanes. Rick Mazza. Will Orbin. And now Jim Crawley.

East Rowan’s search for stability within its football program took another turn Monday, when the school announced its decision not to renew the contract of Crawley after two seasons as head coach. The move means East will have its fifth coach in six seasons in 2006-07.

“Stability is important,” East athletics director Worth Roberts said. “Year after year knowing who you’re gonna play for, those kids need to know that so they know what is expected of them. You want to be in a stable situation there. That’s one of the things we look for, yes, but sometimes you have to make a decision that’s a tough decision.

“When you’re hiring and firing people, it’s always a tough decision.”

This particular decision, Roberts said, didn’t necessarily have to do with wins and losses.

East went 1-10 in Crawley’s first season, its lone victory on a forfeit by R.J. Reynolds. The Mustangs went 2-8 this past season and were far more competitive than a year earlier.

East also appeared to upgrade its talent level from ’05-06 and had one of the best junior varsity teams in the county.

“We really didn’t discuss that part of it,” Roberts said of East’s progress. “Winning and losing is not always what decides whether a coach stays or goes. I’ve been at East a long time, and we’ve been through a lot of football coaches. Sometimes winning and losing has an effect, but there’s some other things, too.”

Such as? Roberts didn’t go into details, calling the administration’s decision a “personnel matter.” He said that Crawley’s “a good man. Everybody knows that,” and he said the administration’s focus “has always been to do the best for our kids at East Rowan. That’s where we came about that decision.”

Regardless of the reason, the move shocked Crawley.

“I was totally surprised,” he said. “That’s pretty much all I can say.

It really did take me by surprise. I am disappointed. I’d hoped to return next year and finish what I had said I was gonna start there.”

Now, though, Crawley will have to be content just finishing the school year teaching at East. He said the situation happened so suddenly — he found out last week and said he was told he “wouldn’t be given a meeting with the players” — that he hasn’t given a lot of thought to his immediate future in coaching.

“I’m just gonna wait and see over the next few months what happens,” said Crawley, who also declined to go into detail about the decision. “We’ll see if some opportunities open up.

“Right now I still have a teaching contract to fulfill. My intention is to fulfill my contract.”

As for the future of the East Rowan football program, Roberts said the school has already begun the process of finding a new coach. He said the administration will “look from within and then go from there.”

In the meantime, East’s assistants will technically retain their positions as both teachers and coaches. Once a new coach is hired, he will decide which assistants to keep.

He’ll also try to become the first East Rowan coach in a while to stay more than a season or two.

*

Contact Nick Bowton at 704-797-4256 or nbowton@salisburypost.com.

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