Crutchfield to become Cougar grid coach
DIXFIELD -- The more things change, the more they remain the same and that’s precisely the approach David Crutchfield has adopted since being named the new football coach at Dirigo High School.
Crutchfield’s hiring is favored by athletic director Charlie Swan and Superintendent Dr. Tom Ward, who will recommend it at the RSU 10 school board meeting for official conformation. This will be Crutchfield’s initial venture as a varsity head coach, however, he is certainly well prepared after have having served as assistant coach the past four years. The familiarity with the program will hopefully help make for a smooth transition.
“Dirigo kids have a great winning attitude,” said Crutchfield. “They’ve taught me many virtues and aspects of life. They’ve helped me develop my coaching philosophies, teach boys how to become men. Competition is in everyday life, there’s a winner and a loser; prepare yourself to win; if you lose this time, get back up and prepare to win next time.”
Crutchfield replaces Doug Gilbert, who resigned last November following five years at the helm. In Gilbert’s rein, Dirigo won 35 of 49 games and the program developed a winning tradition. In 2009, the team was (12-0), including the Class C state championship title when the Cougars triumphed 37-20 over Foxcroft Academy. It was the first football crown for the Cougars since they shared a Class D title with Boothbay in 1975.
“I’m very glad Dave got the job,” said Gilbert. “The kids were hoping he would get the job, especially the upperclassmen. They said that they are used to the system, it has proven to work and they didn't want to change things.”
Crutchfield started coaching Area Youth Football when his son Nic was in third grade. He credits coaching with Carlo Puiia, Mark Thompson, Howie Ruff, Jeff Garneau and others instilling values. They all had great passion for the game of football, and taught the game to many youths in the River Valley area.
He progressed through the coaching ranks as Dirigo Middle School head coach and freshmen coach; defensive coordinator the last four years at the high school, which has consistently ranked among the toughest units in the Campbell Conference.
He has been calling the JV offense for the past few years, so the added responsibilities will be taken in stride. “Coaching with Doug Gilbert has taught me a lot,” said Crutchfield. “I’ll never know the rules like that man. He’s set us up with a great foundation. I’m really not an X and O's guy, and I’ll be getting my feet wet with the offense, so I’ll stick to the basics that Doug has laid out.” Crutchfield's history with running the offensive practices and developing game plans will be an asset. “After running things for awhile you become real knowledgeable with the entire package,” said Gilbert. “I've saved everything over the last five years, practice schedules, films, scouting; he's welcome to it all.”
Crutchfield played tightend/linebacker at Dirigo under Peter Franchetti, Tim Rice, and Bruce Nicholas, graduating in 1985. He realizes the importance of being surrounded by quality people, so Pat Mooney and Lou Brann will return as assistant coaches. Mooney is now working in the high school, so there is a presence for the kids and will be a big plus this coming season. A third assistant will join the staff. “The kids are excited and hopefully doing more than just talking,” said Crutchfield, who is a maintenance supervisor at NewPage in Rumford. “We’ll have a mini camp before school ends and participate in 7 on 7 and a big man's camp in Madison this summer.”