Cottonwood High School baseball coach Jason Crawford was named the Utah Baseball Coach of the Year by UHSAA. This encompasses all classifications, 1A-6A baseball programs.
“Being named the Utah Baseball Coach of the Year means that we are doing things right as a program,” said Crawford. “Our kids have bought into the direction that our coaching staff tries to take them every day.”
Crawford has been a head coach for the past 10 years. He grew up playing baseball and played for a few coaches that really had an impact on him. They made him want to give back to the game.
“Little did I know that coaching would have so much to do with impacting lives,” said Crawford. “Personally, I had that experience. I didn’t realize that I would be spending so much time off the field with players, I thought it would just be baseball.”
“My first year of coaching I had my eyes opened with how much really happens outside of baseball. It’s huge,” said Crawford.
In the last three years Crawford has led his team to two 5A state championship games. Being part of a team is more than the sport itself.
“We use baseball as a catalyst to teach them about life,” said Crawford. “They are learning job skills, learning skills to be a dad, learning skills to be a better son, a better brother. We are using baseball as a way to teach them how to be better people. Because they are motivated to play baseball, we can also help forge some different morals and values that may be outside of their families.”
Watching players be completely transformed and doing what you are trying to get them to do is what coaches like to see. Crawford enjoys watching them succeed, watching them celebrate and seeing them have a sense of accomplishment.
Coaches often have the opportunity to see the growth in players.
“Taking a kid in as an eighth grader and watching them graduate as a senior is a lot of fun because you’ve been part of their life for five years,” said Crawford.
Crawford’s biggest accomplishment is sending kids on to college. “We sent a lot of guys to a lot of different places. To me that means more than anything. When players come back and say thank you five years down the road, or you get to meet their kids or they get married– that part to me is more meaningful than anything else,” said Crawford.
Coaches define success in many different ways, but for Crawford it’s making sure that his players are having fun. Crawford spends time hammering in team building. He sees success when he watches them come together as a family.
“I always tell them that if someone were to come in and watch our team, what would they see? What legacy are we creating?”
“That’s success. When you leave something behind that’s positive or you leave it better than when you came in. If we can continue to do that, that is success,” said Crawford.