Dreams come true for Crowton

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    By Stephenson Beck

    Gary Crowton has had two life dreams: to coach in the NFL and to come back to Provo, he said.

    Crowton accomplished the first two years ago when he joined the Chicago Bears.

    The second became a reality Wednesday, Dec. 6, when President Merrill J. Bateman introduced him as the new BYU head football coach at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

    “I’m ecstatic to be here,” said Crowton, a former Orem High School quarterback.

    “Twenty-nine years was a long time for LaVell to be here. It was a long time for them to want him to be here. I hope that they want me to be here for that long.”

    Crowton, who was a student assistant at BYU in 1982, will be following an Edwards’ legacy that included 22 bowl games, 13 top-25 finishes and a national championship.

    “I’m not LaVell Edwards,” Crowton said. “I’ve learned a lot from him and I’m excited about my opportunity.

    “I have to sit back and look at what has made the program successful over the last 29 years. I know that there is some changes to be made in some of the things that we do.”

    Earlier in the day, Crowton told the Bears’ offense of his decision.

    “It’s tough because the NFL is pretty neat,” Crowton said. “It is the top of the profession. But it’s not the most important thing in the world.”

    One of Crowton’s first duties will be to select a coaching staff. Current assistant coaches and others will be included in the interview process, Crowton said.

    “Twenty-nine years of winning is pretty good. I recognize that,” Crowton said. “I need to feel comfortable about the people, that they will be loyal if things get tough and their won’t be a divided house, because in this profession, times do get tough.

    “I’m going to make the decisions that are best and fair to move this university forward in the future.”

    Athletic director Val Hale and advancement vice president Fred Skousen considered 11 candidates for the job. Communication with Crowton was made over the phone with permission from the Bears and his agent.

    “He wanted to make sure that everything we did was in accordance with what the Bears wanted done,” Hale said.

    He was offered the job last Friday, Crowton said.

    “All along I thought he was a guy who could come in and carry this thing forward,” Edwards said. “I whole-heartedly agree with what they’ve done.”

    Although happy to accept the job, Crowton had a difficult time leaving the Bears, especially with the frustrations they are going through. The Bears are currently 3-10.

    “It was tough to think about the Bears when I was thinking about BYU, and I didn’t think it was fair,” Crowton said. “I’m not afraid to stay when times are tough, but this is the best time to take this on with the energy I have.”

    This is the second time that Crowton has been a college head coach. He led Louisiana Tech to a 21-13 record in three seasons before joining the Bears.

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