Brandy Crawford celebrates her 300th win as volleyball coach

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By Heather Wilson

A local volleyball coach is celebrating her 300th career win.  Brandy Crawford is in her 21st year of coaching, with 17 of those years as a head volleyball coach, and as of press time, will have made her 14th playoff appearance.  

Brandy Crawford began her athletic career as a softball and basketball player at James Bowie High School, where she graduated in 1991.  She knew at a young age she wanted to be a coach, having been inspired by her grandfather, David Kingery, whom she also calls her hero.  “Probably the biggest influence on my life has been my grandpa,” Crawford said.  “He inspired me to be a coach when I was younger.  He was always outside playing with us.  He taught me how to play softball and basketball - he was just an avid sports fan.”
After college, Brandy returned to her alma mater as an assistant volleyball coach - a sport that, as a high school athlete, she had never played.  “They didn’t have volleyball at James Bowie yet when I was in high school so I wasn’t really keen on volleyball at first.  But I learned a whole lot that first year and just developed a love for the game,” she remembered.  “That very first year I was working under a really good head coach.  I learned a lot of things from her.  She had played college volleyball, so she taught me so much that year.  After that, I just fell in love with the game.”

Not only did Coach Crawford fall in love with the game, she excelled in coaching it as well.  After five years at James Bowie, she went on to coach a couple of years at Queen City, followed by nine years at Redwater, before making the jump to Arkansas High, where she says she felt a little out of place.  “I just found Arkansas High to be a little too big - out of my comfort zone,” she said.  “I like the small town communities where you know every kid’s face and you know every kid’s name and you know the parents and all the fans in the stands.  There’s such a big following at small schools…’s just a much more exciting atmosphere.”

So in 2016, Coach Crawford decided to downsize somewhat, accepting a position at Hooks ISD - a location that also made it easier on her to help care for her aging grandparents.  She stayed at Hooks for two years before making the move this school year to Maud ISD, a place she says feels like home.  She’s had a successful first season with the Lady Cardinals, leading them to a spot in the playoffs.

Along with her grandfather, Brandy also names several of her high school coaches as being influential in her decision to become a coach - Kathy Garrison, Jim Westbrook, and Craig Spears, the latter of whom says Brandy’s success is no surprise at all to him.  “Brandy was an excellent student,” says Spears, a retired teacher and coach.  “She was fact checking the information long before fact checking was a coined term.  She strived for perfection - she wanted that A, and a B or C was unacceptable to her.  As an athlete, she hated to lose.  Even if she was playing at Chinese checkers -- may have had a lot to do with competition with Toby, her little brother.  Brandy took a lot of pride in what she was doing.  She wanted to be prepared.  She may come up short on winning a game, but it won’t be because she was out-worked or out-coached - being lazy is not in her makeup.”
Brandy is somewhat more humble in what she attributes her success to.  When asked, she says quite simply, “The kids.  I have had some really, really good kids.  Obviously I couldn’t have gotten 300 wins without some really great kids through the years.”
In a world filled with bad coaching and poor role models, Bowie County’s Brandy Crawford proves that making a positive impact on the lives of young people pays dividends, for her and for everyone around her.

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