Woodrow " Woodie " Crum

In a 1993 tribute to Woodrow "Woodie" Crum, Cynthiana Democrat sports columnist Lee Kendall wrote: "Woodie Crum, as a coach, did not demand respect. The way he handled himself, his demeanor, the aura that surrounded him-commanded it. You respected the man because of who he was, not because he reminded you of what he had done."
Over the course of his 37-year high school coaching career, Crum had definitely acheived a lot, including being one of the few coaches in Kentucky basketball history to win over 500 games-527 to be exact. He was also an excellent baseball coach, with a record of 250 wins in 10 years. A multi-sport letterman at Jenkins High School and 1947 All-State basketball player, Crum was a superb athlete at Union College as well, both in basketball and track, and was elected "Mr. Union" during his senior year. After his graduation in 1951, Crum began his coaching career at Mays Lick High School, before moving to Maysville High School in 1951 as assistant basketball coach. During his nine-year tenure at Maysville, Crum guided his team to three Sweet 16 appearances, and, as head baseball coach, to a state championship baseball title in 1958. His reputation in the state was established and in 1962, while at Daviees County High School in Owensboro, Crum was selected to coach the Kentucky All-Stars. He then moved to that "other" basketball state, spending six years as head basketball coach at Lawrence Central in Indianapolis, making one trip to the Indiana state tournament. Returning to Kentucky in 1970, Crum served as head basketball coach for eight years at Harrison County High School in Cynthiana, capturing the regional title in 1976 and making his fourth Sweet 16 appearance. From 1979 to 1983, he was head basketball coach at Pendleton County in Falmouth, before returning to Harrison County, where he coached until his retirement in 1988. Crum was both first vice president and president of the Kentucky High School Coaches Association, as well as a director of the National High School Coaches Association, and in 1959, served as Union College Alumni Association president. "Woodie was very passionate about basketball," said close friend and colleague, Mike Lenox, "and he strived to make his athletes not only better players, but also fine citizens. He instilled in them high moral character and the desire to succeed, which he knew would carry them far in the 'game of life.' His enthusiasm was an inspiration to many and gained him the respect of both his players and colleagues." In 1995,as a testament to what Crum meant to high school athletics in Kentucky, he was posthumously inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. "I respected Woodie not only as a coach, but as a man," said Berny Miller, Crum's assistant coach at Bowling Green High School. "He was successful not only in the number of games he won and number of times he played in state tournaments, but also in his relationship with his players and their parents, who all loved him. His most important success, however, was not as a player or a coach-it was as father, husband and family man."


Anonymous said...

It's not exactly right to say Woody Crum made "one" trip to the Indiana state tournament, because in those days every accredited school qualified for the single-class tournament immortalized in "Hoosiers." So he went six times as a Hoosier.

Coach Crum had winning seasons the first three years I attended Lawrence Central H.S., including a 16-8 year that took us to the sectional final game. We lost in the last minute to Shortridge, whose leading scoring was George Pillow, who went on to set the career scoring record at Indiana State U.(now held by Larry Byrd).

The next year, a reserve on that 16-8 team, Mark Phillips, became an Indiana All-Star candidate and received a basketball scholarship from Purdue (this was the Mount-Keller-Gilliam era, when the Boilers went to the final game of the NCAA tournament).

So Coach Crum had his moments in Indiana. I'm glad his success continued later in life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on Coach Crum. I played for him at Maysville, KY 1955-1957. I also lived in Indy from 1959 - 1964. Saw many of the good ones from Manual, Tech, Southport, Washington, etc. I also lived in Cynthiana, KY when coach Crum was there later. He was " one of a kind "

Ken Downing

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