Crosby to replace Vinson as South AD
By Mike London
LANDIS ó New South Rowan athletics director Danny Crosby isn’t quite a South lifer, but the school is in his bloodstream.
He’s been around so long he was a Rebel, not a Raider, when he wore South shoulder pads and batting helmets.
The 1971 graduate played fullback and first base for the late Lope Linder, wrestled between football and baseball seasons and has modeled South T-shirts every work day since 1991.
Most of the coaches associated with South’s athletic glory days are gone now, selling insurance or enjoying retirement.
Tim Corriher, a South graduate who returned home and has served as an assistant coach since the 1970s, and Crosby, who returned to South for good 17 years ago have been on active duty the longest. If you see Corriher or Crosby, even at the grocery story, you immediately think: South Rowan.
“Danny is a strong recognizable face in the county,” South principal Judd Starling said.
Starling, a football and track standout at Forest Hills, is an athletic-minded principal. He proudly wears a state-championship ring from his days as a wrestling coach, attends clinics alongside his football coaches and is eager to see South win titles again. He believes a strong athletic program is essential as far as bonding his school to the community.
South’s last league championship in baseball was in 2003, its most recent football banner came in 2001 and its most recent league championship in boys basketball was in 1989.
Returning to 3A will help. Starling believes the tireless Crosby, who never met a mower he didn’t like, also will help.
Still, he hated to see Josh Vinson step down as AD.
“Anytime you lose someone like Josh, it’s a blow,” Starling said.
Vinson, a 1995 South graduate, bleeds black and red as much as any human being and served as South’s voluntary statistician/manager in three sports even when he was a student at UNC Charlotte.
That’s serious dedication.
Vinson, who handled the job three years, once envisioned South’s AD post as a dream job he’d cherish until he retired, but being an AD in 2008 isn’t what it was in the old days.
Once upon a time, an AD coached P.E. and football, made out baseball and basketball schedules on his lunch break with a phone, a pencil and a clipboard and went home at a reasonable hour.
But the AD’s list of worries has expanded exponentially.
“Twenty sports, 30 teams, lots of headaches, lots of phone calls,” Vinson said. “Those basketball quadrupleheaders, I was still at school somewhere between 10 and midnight every time, and that’s tough with two little daughters at home. There were times I didn’t see them awake between Sunday night and Thursday afternoon.
“With AP Government and Law & Justice classes, there wasn’t time to the AD job the way I wanted to do it, and I’m not someone who is going to do anything halfway. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it right, and the AD job is a very difficult job right now.”
Vinson can use a break, but he’ll still be doing more than his share. Besides teaching, he’ll coach golf and handle the activity buses. He’ll also mentor Crosby on the stacks of paperwork that have to be shuffled.
“I’ve told Danny I’ll do anything I can,” Vinson said. “But I’m ready to be a soldier instead of a colonel.”
The best fit for an AD job would seem to be someone with grown kids or no kids and a very patient spouse.
Crosby’s son, Daniel, is grown. An all-county football and baseball player at South, he just finished his junior year at Catawba and has embarked on a potential career in the racing world.
Crosby’s wife, Susan, is understanding.
“When I got this job the first thing I did was call Susan and tell her, ‘Well, we got the job,’ ” Crosby said. “She understands it’s going to take a lot of my time, but she’s bought in. She’s also the best advisor I could ever have. She’s already told me I’ve got to work on my language a little bit.”
Crosby, who plans to help with football ó probably defensive line ó for the first time since the mid-1990s, said he’ll lean on Corriher for advice.
“Some things never change, and Tim can tell me how something got done in the past,” Crosby said. “I do have a lot of experience, and I’m going to try to do the right things.”
Experience? Crosby has it.
He played football at Lees-McRae, when it was a junior college, and Carson-Newman.
He was head baseball coach at Wartburg Central High in rural Tennessee before he returned to Lees-McRae as a football assistant and coached his brothers, Rick and Tim.
Then he left teaching and coaching for five years, studying grounds management and earning a living working at golf courses.
He returned to Rowan County in 1982 to coach at Erwin and was an AD there.
He moved on to Northwest Cabarrus in 1989 and finally returned to his roots at South in 1991 as a health and physical education teacher.
He served as an assistant baseball and football coach in the 1990s to South icons Ernie Faw and Larry Deal, but his biggest impact has been on the athletic fields, where his groundskeeping experience has been a big plus.
Starling has appreciated Crosby’s toil on everything from the school flower beds to the football stadium and is enthused to see him take on the high visibility AD job after years behind the scenes.
“It’s a great feeling when you’ve got someone on your staff who steps up and says, ‘I’ll do it,’ ” Starling said. “Danny just likes to work. Come by South on a Sunday afternoon and Danny will be here working. He’s already been doing everything as far as the athletic fields, and there is nothing mechanical that he can’t fix.”
ADs aren’t compensated well for all the headaches and hours, but Crosby is willing to try. Like Starling, he wants to see South climb back to the top in high-profile sports.
“I was talking to some coaches the other day, and one of them said, ‘All right, boss,’ ” Crosby said. “But I’m nobody’s boss. If we’re going to get anywhere we’re all going to have to work as a team.”
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.