FEINSWOG: Gary Crowton - "the" family guy

There's no way to know what exactly goes on behind the closed doors of the fortress of the place they call the LSU football complex.

But in a world where football coaches are perceived as round-the-clock, maniacal, sleep-on-the-couch, block-out-the-whole-world robotic tape watchers and meeting goers who don't have a life, LSU appears to break that mold.

 

You know that head coach Les Miles is the ultimate family guy. He and Kathy have four kids and he's as devoted to them as a (see above) could be. And he still wins. For that matter, no LSU coach in history has won more his first two years.

 

Not that Miles probably doesn't spend too many hours working and crack the whip on his assistants, but it's well documented that hanging with his wife and kids is his favorite hobby.

 

Take Bo Pelini, the defensive coordinator. Watching him watch an LSU basketball game with his kids playing around him is a happy sight. Jimbo Fisher, recently departed for Florida State, seemed to be of the same mold.

 

But Gary Crowton breaks it. Fisher's replacement and his wife, Maren, have seven children, four girls and three boys.

 

Yikes.

 

Which I think is two more kids than when I first met Crowton while he was head coach at Louisiana Tech.

 

It was a day to remember. The trip to Ruston was for a story for either The Washington Post or USA Today. They wanted something on the high-powered Tech offense led by Tim Rattay and this guy Crowton, who appeared to be on the cutting edge of turning an offense loose. Tech was going to open the season at Nebraska and the story was intriguing.

 

Nebraska won big, of course, but Crowton served notice that his offense was for real. Rattay, by the way, finished this past season as the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

Crowton, meanwhile, has taken quite a path from Ruston back to Baton Rouge. He's been head coach at BYU and offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and the University of Oregon.

 

But back to that afternoon in Ruston in 1998. It was in July, the team hadn't reported yet and Crowton's wife was out of town.

 

Was I in a hurry, he asked. Not at all, since I was planning to spend the night. Fine, he said, we had kids to pick up.

 

So we piled in his SUV, stopping first at gymnastics camp to get one girl. Then another place. And another.

 

Finally we went on to his house. His wife had been gone a week and there were piles of laundry everywhere. The place was a mess. The kids played and had a ball. It was a beautiful thing.

 

Crowton promised he would have the place cleaned up before his wife got back. The babysitter cringed as we left and headed back to Tech for some serious football interviews.

 

I really liked Crowton and as a result followed his career closely. He did well with the Bears and then got his dream job, head coach at BYU, just a short drive from his home town of Orem, Utah.

 

But after four years he became another coaching casualty and headed to Oregon, which last season ranked ninth in the nation in offense.

 

Jimbo Fisher was a great offensive coordinator for LSU the past seven years and hopefully will be recognized as probably the best in that job the program has ever had.

 

But Crowton has the wherewithal to step right in and take the Tigers to an even a higher level.

 

Just hope that his wife doesn't leave him home alone with the kids.

 

---

 

Baton Rouge sportswriter Lee Feinswog is the host of the weekly television show Sports Monday. He's covered LSU athletics since 1984. His book HoopDaddy is available at www.HoopDaddy.net. Contact Lee at sportsmonday@aol.com or (225) 926-3256.


Tiger Blitz Top Stories