3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

West Liberty’s Crutchfield Soaking Up The Success

When Tim Crutchfield took over as the 16th head coach of the West Liberty basketball program in 2004, the Hilltoppers were coming off an abysmal 4-23 campaign in 2003, and went 11-16 the year prior to that. In fact, the season statistics on WLU’s official basketball page stop in 2002.

Probably with good reason.

Before Crutchfield, West Liberty had just two 20-win seasons in over 80 years of basketball.

But over the past seven years, Crutchfield has transformed WLU into a perennial power, posting at least 20 wins each season. This past year, the Hilltoppers were undefeated heading into the Division II tournament, before falling to BYU-Hawaii in the national semi-finals.

Disappointing? You bet. “We did have a chance to win [a national championship!” Crutchfield said on Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval. “If we would have played well, we had a legitimate chance to win a national championship.”

Still, a loss in the national semi-finals shouldn’t be the lasting impression for what was otherwise a once-in-a-lifetime kind of year. For his effort, Crutchfield has already won the Basketball Times Division II Coach of the Year and is a finalist for the National Association of Basketball Coaches National Coach of the Year.

Well deserved honors to be sure, but Crutchfield is trying to keep it all in perspective.

“Right now we’re just enjoying the season we had and trying to get through the one loss we took,” said Crutchfield.

“I realize I’ve lost touch with the rest of the world. Obama is still president and [Joe] Manchin is no longer governor, right?” Crutchfield joked.

Well, one would hope, anyway.

Crutchfield should know about state politics and issues; he’s a West Virginia guy. Crutchfield grew up in Clarksburg, and being a self-admitted “small guy”, played guard at what is now Robert C. Byrd High School.

Crutchfield found a job coaching Cameron High School in Marshall County, where the coach posted a sub .500 record.

“[It was] a tough place to win there. It’s a small school where wrestling has kind of been king there, and it was a great town to coach, but it was tough place to win.”

Eventually, though, Crutchfield found his way to West Liberty and achieved paramount success. With that success, though, comes expectations. The pressure to win is greater than ever before.  At least one other guy in West Virginia knows what that’s like.

“The day the Mountaineers were announced to be in the NCAA tournament as a five seed, I heard someone say ‘The Mountaineers were down this year. They had a rough year,’” said Crutchfield. “Huggins has created a monster for himself down there in Morgantown. They had a great year.”

High expectations can wait until the season starts. For now, Crutchfield will graduate four seniors, visit some AAU camps and – maybe – try and visit his beach house. All the while, he’ll try to find a balance between enjoying the moment and keeping his feet on the ground.

 “I still take out the garbage at home, but I’m soaking up as much of this as I possibly can”

 





More Sports

Sports
Best Virginia falls short against Zoo Crew, 91-79
Pitt's alumni team shot nearly 54 percent and made 12-of-28 three-pointers to advance.
July 22, 2024 - 10:35 pm
Marshall Sports
Herd That, La Familia to clash in Lexington Regional final at Rupp Arena
Herd That avoided elimination with an improbable rally to get past War Ready. Now comes a tough test against a team filled with past Kentucky standouts, including some that went on to have relatively lengthy careers in the NBA.
July 22, 2024 - 3:30 pm
Sports
Best Virginia set to battle Zoo Crew in second round of TBT
West Virginia and Pitt's alumni teams clash at 8 p.m. inside Petersen Events Center. The winner moves on to the regional final.
July 22, 2024 - 7:45 am
Outdoors
Former WVU shooter Mary Tucker takes aim at the gold in Paris
Mary Tucker who was the past season NCAA smallbore national champion for WVU will shoot three events for Team USA in Paris
July 22, 2024 - 12:51 am


Your Comments