By Matt Park
BYU fans who want a return to the glory days of throwing the football every down just got their wish.
Gary Crowton, the air-attack’s patron saint, was officially named BYU’s new head football coach Wednesday evening, Dec. 6.
Crowton is well known for innovative five-receiver sets and an affinity for the wide receiver screen.
He has struggled as offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears this season, after an impressive debut last year.
Last year, the Bears were third in the NFL in passing offense. This year it’s not even close. They have gone from Monsters of the Midway to last place in the NFC’s Central Division.
Crowton’s affinity for the passing game has made believers out of some, and critics of others.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said in a recent column that the Bears could be a very entertaining brand of football.
“When it’s working, and the team is winning, it’s fun to watch,” he said.
However Ron Jaworski, former Green Bay Packers quarterback and current NFL analyst, said he worries about the complexity of the offense.
“The Bears are trying to do too much, espescially with a young quarterback. The concepts of Crowton’s offense, the principles, they’re all good. But when you have a young quarterback, you’ve got to bring him along a little slower,” he said.
However, Crowton has proven that he can coach a high-powered offense.
His Louisiana Tech team passed for 590 yards against Nebraska during his tenure there.
He also coached his 1997 Tech team to a 9-2 record that was sandwiched between 6-5 and 6-6 seasons. His total record at four-year college and pro programs is 84-76-2.
Crowton has made coaching stops at Snow College, Western Illinois, New Hampshire, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Louisiana Tech and the NFL’s Chicago Bears before taking the reins at BYU.
BYU is likely most interested in Crowton’s coaching philosophy and good character standing because they have stated they want a long-term coach, not just a quick fix.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Crowton’s salary would be in excess of $400,000 a year and would include free tuition for his six children, a move that could make sense as a perk in a long-term deal.
Crowton is expected to finish out the season with the Bears before making BYU his full-time priority.
See related story:
It’s Crowton, barring recount 12/06/2000