As he enters his third year as Cleveland’s head football coach, there is no questioning the impact that Ron Crawford has already had in the Blue Raiders community, on and off the field.
Prior to his arrival in Cleveland, Crawford spent his time in Middle Tennessee as the head coach at Brentwood, where he won a Class 5A state championship in 2002. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator for Riverdale.
The impact that Coach Crawford made on the latter of those schools was recognized Friday evening, as he journeyed back to Murfreesboro and was honored as one of six new members inducted into the Riverdale Hall of Fame.
Assistant coaches being inducted into hall of fames are a rarity, and Coach Crawford was very humbled and honored by his hall of fame induction.
“I consider it quite an honor because I was an assistant coach there,” Crawford stated. “I think it’s pretty cool, and obviously, that place had a big impact on me and was a big part of my career. I hope it means that I had a little bit of an impact there. I’m very humbled and very honored.”
Crawford, who was the Warriors’ defensive coordinator from 1995-2001, was not the only assistant coach honored Friday night. Gary Whaley, another defenisve coordinator for the Warriors, was also inducted into the Riverdale Hall of Fame.
One person that was not surprised by Coach Crawford’s hall of fame induction was Cleveland Athletic Director Eric Phillips, who made the trip up to Murfreesboro to support the Blue Raiders’ coach.
“I think its great, and I’m not surprised. He’s an incredible coach. I’ve not heard of many people who are inducted into a half of fame as an assistant coach, but [Ron] Crawford is a special coach who is able to really connect with his athletes,” Phillips declared. “Anyone who is around him for 30 minutes or so would understand why he is going into the hall of fame. It shows that he absolutely loves what he is doing by the excitement he has when he comes to work everyday, and it shows in how the kids respond to him.”
During his tenure as the Warriors’ defensive coordinator, Riverdale claimed two state championships and was state runner-up twice.
Since taking over as Cleveland’s head coach in 2012, the Raiders have posted an overall record of 15-9 and are 8-4 in the district.
Last season, Cleveland made it to the TSSAA Class 5A Semifinals, which was its first semifinal appearance since 2002.