Crouch hopes to revive Bears’ football fortunes
When Randy Crouch arrived on the scene at the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School campus less than two months ago, he realized he had a big job to do and a short time in which to get it done.
The new head football coach and athletic director of the Battlin’ Bears has been busy as a beaver but the clock still keeps winding down. “Here we are in early April, which means the school year is nearly over,” the personable Crouch explained last week. “There are less than eight weeks before school is out for the summer and there is still so much to do.”
Crouch has been getting his coaching staff assembled and hoping he will have enough coaches to have a spring practice for his football program. The University Interscholastic League allows both Class 5A and 4A schools to utilize a 30-day period to have 18 full-contact practice sessions.
The schools that opt to take advantage of these spring practices must wait an extra week after the schools that didn’t have spring practices to begin training in August.
“If I can get the assistant coaches in here that I want, then we’ll have spring practice in May,” Crouch said hopefully. He has brought in fellow West Orange-Stark defensive backfield coach Mike Pierce as the Bears’ new defensive coordinator. Troy Bolton, who coached with Crouch during his first stint at LC-M, will assume the duties as the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
Other members of the LC-M football coaching staff include Jonathan Friend, an LC-M graduate, Vidor graduate Alan Deshazo and David Kendrick of Port Neches-Groves. Crouch still needs three more coaches to be in place this month so the Bears can have spring training in May.
Crouch is no stranger to the Battlin’ Bears football program, serving as LC-M’s offensive coordinator from 1994-97. He has spent the last 11 years working with the West Orange-Stark Mustangs, most of which as the offensive coordinator.
During that time he had been instrumental in the success of both programs. The Bears finished second in district play in 1995 and made it to the regional finals two years later in 1997, which was the football program’s highest-ever finish.
And with the Mustangs, Crouch helped guide them to district championships in 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, including undefeated seasons in 1998, 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008. The Mustangs made it all the way to the state finals in 2000.
So it’s no secret that Crouch knows what it takes to put a winning team on the football field, which has made the LC-M football fans and players excited and optimistic about the future.
Crouch has been affiliated with football since his teenage years when he played for the Sulphur (La.) Tors and was named a high school All-American in 1971. He played college football as an offensive guard for Louisiana Tech and was a member of the Bulldogs’ Division II National Championship Team in 1973 and was named to the All-America team in 1974.
After working as a graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech he was hired as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach from 1978-87 and took his first high school head coaching job at DeQuincy (La.) in 1987, before returning to Sulphur High as the head football coach from 1988-1990.
So Crouch definitely has head coaching experience, although the game has changed somewhat since his last stint as the head man. “The game has changed as far as the X’s and O’s are concerned,” Crouch analyzed, “but it’s still the team that blocks and tackles best that wins.”
His biggest chore will be getting the right players in the right positions for his multiple offense that will include the spread and shotgun formations. “We probably will be under the center more than we were at WO-S,” Crouch surmised.
The basic defense Crouch plans to use this fall will be the “50”, which is a five-man front, two linebackers and four defensive backs. “However, with all of the multiple offenses schools are using, we will have to be able to make adjustments, like maybe falling into a four-man front with either three linebackers or five defensive backs,” Crouch explained.
“We hope to be sound enough fundamentally so we can make adjustments and still not confuse the players,” Crouch added. “We hope to keep it simple enough so the players can perform confidently.”
Crouch said that the kids in the football program are doing what they are being asked to do. “We’re showing them some new offensive and defensive schemes during the athletic periods and they seem to be catching on all right,” he pointed out.
“Everything has been really positive so far in the short time I’ve been here,” Crouch said but added cautiously, “this doesn’t guarantee any wins, but learning new systems will create a winning attitude, and that’s a start in the right direction. I really hope we can put a product out on the football field that is good. We’ll work hard every day to do that.”
The other half of Crouch’s new job at LC-M is serving as the school’s athletic director. “The coaches in the other sports handle their business professionally, which really makes my job easier,” Crouch said.
He pointed out that the soccer teams and the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams all made the playoffs and the boys’ basketball team played as good as anyone in District 20-4A the last month of the season, but unfortunately missed making the state playoffs. The baseball and Lady Bears’ softball teams also will probably make the playoffs.
“My goal is to make Little Cypress-Mauriceville the best overall sports program around,” Crouch said confidently. “We’re trying to get as many kids as possible involved in our athletic programs.”
Crouch, who has resided in the LC-M community for the past 15 years, also has the full support of his family, starting with his wife of 33 years, Dewanna, his three children, daughter Lauren, who is a dentist in the Phoenix area and is married to LC-M graduate Phillip Harmon who is a medical doctor.
His oldest son Jared, who also graduated form Louisiana Tech, works for Halliburton in Oklahoma City, while his other son, Ryan, is attending Lamar in Beaumont and is working with the new football program there.