A successful coach on the high school level at schools such as LaGrange, East Coweta, Forsyth Central and Cherokee, he knows what it takes to put a solid product on the field.
He also knows how to be realistic.
“My daydreams are just going undefeated,” Cronic said. “I don’t think that’s really realistic after looking at some of the teams that we are going to play.”
The Reinhardt travel roster of 69 players has just 11 sophomores and one junior. The rest are freshmen.
Cronic said the one year that some of the players have spent on campus has put them leaps and bounds ahead of the true freshmen who just arrived. The older players are in better shape physically and often have a better understanding of what the coaches want of them.
“I don’t know if that’s poor coaching, or if we haven’t given then enough chances, but in two weeks it’s hard to see,” Cronic said. “It certainly makes you excited about the future when all of these guys have had the benefit of being on campus and in weight training and just around all of it.”
The Eagles will face off against another first-year program tonight at Mercer. While everyone involved with the program at Reinhardt is pulling for an Eagle victory in Macon, Cronic won’t be measuring progress or the success of the team’s seasons with wins and losses.
After all, this is only the beginning of a program both players and coaches hope will become a legacy.
“I want (the players) to get better,” Cronic said. “I don’t want them to make the same mistake over. Instead, make a new one.
“You are going to win games based on your talent, but the joy of coaching comes from the heart and character of the players. You see them get better. When you get a team that forgets about who is getting the credit, that is a special thing. That is what I want to happen.”
The 66-year-old Cronic knows he won’t be around the program forever. His goal is to put the team in the position to be successful, but also for the players to become successful men off the football field.
“I know we will be judged on how many we win,” Cronic said. “I will, primarily. But I figure I’m pretty well on (in age). I can go back and play some more golf.”
If improving the character of his players isn’t enough, the coach wants to make another promise to fans.
“We are going to play exciting football,” he said.
Looking back to his years at Cherokee in the mid-1970s, Cronic has revived the old offense.
“It’s been refined,” he said, “but it’s still the basic elements.”
Running a lot of sweeps, some screens and draws, the Eagles’ hurry-up offense will accelerate the pace of the game.
“It’s exciting,” Cronic said. “We are hoping to make a few heads spin. We think, if we stay our course, we will get better and then we will be good. I think we will be exciting to come and watch. I would come and watch us play. That’s how I think about it.”
Reinhardt will host the first game on its Waleska campus Sept. 7. With a record enrollment of 1,350 students for the fall semester, the game should draw a large crowd of fans. Bleachers have been added at Ken White Field to accommodate more fans, and a new scoreboard has been installed in the northern end zone, opposite the field house.
Not only that, but the band will be ready to play at each of the team’s five home games this fall.
Reserved tickets have been sold out for the season, but general-admission tickets are still available at $50 for the season or $10 for an individual game purchased in advance.
Tickets can be purchased at www.reinhardteagles.com. Students, faculty and staff are can receive a free general-admission ticket to each game with their EagleCard.