Harrison giving reins to title-winning coach
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
June 02, 2013 12:20 AM | 2644 views | 3 3 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By the time Clay Crump was a sophomore at Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville, he knew he wanted to be a coach.

From that point on, he made sure his career path went in that direction, and the decision has worked out well in his favor.

Crump was introduced as Harrison’s boys basketball coach Wednesday during a meeting with players and parents. He replaces Jermaine Bigham, who spent one year at the Hoyas’ helm.

“Everybody liked him at the meet-and-greet,” Harrison athletic director Matt Moody said. “He impressed us with his vision. It was good to hear his plan for basketball.”

Crump comes to Harrison after spending the last eight seasons as the head coach at Eagle’s Landing High School in McDonough, where he turned around a sub-.500 team prior to his arrival and made it into a state champion. He compiled 101 wins over the four years, earning two region titles, four state playoff appearances and three consecutive semifinal berths, culminating with the program’s first state championship last season.

Crump guided the Golden Eagles to a 28-5 record and a 14-0 mark in Region 4AAAA this past winter, becoming the first Henry County boys team to ever win a basketball crown.

“We felt like Crump could do here what he did at Eagle’s Landing,” Moody said. “There wasn’t the strongest basketball tradition there eight years ago, but over the past four years, with the playoff appearances, final fours and the state championship, he’s gotten everything possible out of his players.

“He liked west Cobb, liked what Harrison had to offer and had a good thing going at Eagle’s Landing, but we’re an attractive school, and we’re excited that he decided to come here.”

Moody said he received about 70 job applications from across the country, including some from coaches around Georgia and several Cobb County assistants. A committee of administrators looked over the applications, picked 10 for initial interviews and then narrowed the pool down to four for second interviews.

“He’s PE-certified and can teach Advanced Placement history and AP government,” Moody said. “He felt like the best fit for us.”

A native of Thomasville, Crump, played basketball at Thomas County Central, graduating in 1995. He graduated from Valdosta State with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and received his first coaching job one year later as an assistant for Eagle’s Landing girls basketball coach Donny Byrom.

Crump spent three years with Byrom before spending a year as Dave Edinger’s assistant with the boys team. Crump achieved his goal of becoming a head coach one year later, when he took over the Golden Eagles’ boys team.

“I felt like we had accomplished everything we set up to do,” Crump said about leaving Eagle’s Landing to become Harrison’s new coach. “We grew the program from single-digit wins to a state championship, and I’m very proud of that. I was there for a total of 13 years, but felt like it was time for a new challenge.

“I liked the culture at Harrison and decided this was a great place for a fresh start. I’ve already had four practices with the returning players, and I’m excited to get started with these guys when we open the season. Harrison has a great history, and I want to add to that.”
Comments
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Good Luck
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June 05, 2013
I wish the new coach nothing but the best because the Harrison boys deserve some consistency, but I am afraid that Harrison has sold Mr. Crump a false bill of sale. If Harrison were truly trying to take its basketball program to a new level, I find it hard to believe they couldn't have found someone who actually has some college playing experience. Again, I wish the new guy all the best!
Could Care Less
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June 05, 2013
The fact that I am the only one posting a comment about this should tell people something about how much the community and Griggers care about basketball. They had a great P.E. teacher and coach in Robert Churchwell and they ran him out. By the way, Churchwell won a State title his first year outside of Harrison. They now just ran out Jermaine Bigham after only one year and hired some guy from Eagles Landing. Three coaches in three years for some of these poor kids! There is a reason every other sport at Harrison competes for Region and State every year except for basketball! Since the school opened the men's program has won 2 region titles and the girls haven't won any. Neither side has won a State title and the two coaches who have come closest are Churchwell and Lenahan. They ran Churchwell out and I heard on the Sports Vent that Lenahan is leaving soon as well. The only reason I can come up with is that Harrison is afraid if they become too good at basketball they will attract the wrong demographic. I have heard the diversity in that school is severely lacking.
U R Misinformed
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June 09, 2013
To "Could Care Less"... you are very misinformed. Robert Churchwell was NOT run out. He had been looking to leave Harrison almost as soon as he arrived. He put absolutely NOTHING into the junior program there and he knew that the talent there was dwindling with the opening of Allatoona and Hillgrove. Diversity lacking? You obviously have never been to a Harrison game. Most families whom I know do not move into this district for the sports records there. (We are one of them)
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