Wow! It is hard to believe we are heading into week seven of the high school football season. One of the great stories this year has taken place up on "the hill" at the Millionaires newly remodeled STA Stadium.
With new Head Coach Charles "call me Chuck" Crews leading the way, the Cherry and White were off to a 4–1 start as I penned this article. The football fortunes of the Millionaires have taken a complete turn for the good along with the atmosphere and direction of the program.
I had a chance to sit down with the new head coach and WAHS Principal Brandon Pardoe recently. Before I get to our conversation I must compliment everyone involved on how great the new turf field looks. The vibrant green of the artificial surface accented with the black, cherry and white end zones proudly spelling out Williamsport Millionaires. The cherry on top being the black top hat, cane, white gloves and red carnation found between the 50s at the center of the field. What a beautiful facility!
Principal Pardoe is one of the true good guys in our area. He was a great choice a couple years back to move up to the high school after overseeing the consolidation of Roosevelt, Curtin and Lycoming Valley into the new Williamsport Area Middle School. I know him and consider him a good friend. His son Cam and Hunter have shared many a summer day playing baseball for West End Babe Ruth and Jim Winder.
I have spent much time talking with Mr. Pardoe about everything from, “What are we having for dinner?” To, “How is the new football coach going to do?” There is a lot of downtime while traveling to watch your son play ball.
Brandon was very excited to tell me about the new WAHS football coach this past summer. He was not afraid to predict good things for the Millionaires and their rookie Head Coach this year. Obviously, I value Principal Pardoe's opinion, but I wasn't so sure they could turn things around so quickly. Boy was I wrong.
The Cherry and White won four straight to start the 2015 season. This prompted me to give Principal Pardoe a call and sit down and shoot the bull with him and Head Coach Chuck Crews.
Our conversation was most enjoyable. It was more about life and leadership than pigskin.
Coach Crews is as energetic and positive as they come. He is straight to the point and not afraid of political correctness. He is honest and tells you like it is. He has a great sense of humor and smile. I found him to be a humble, smart thinker. However, when we talked about Millionaire football you could see the fire burning in his eyes.
Coach Crews has been married to his wife Tyra for 13 years. They have three children, Charles and twins Sophia and Sydney. He is a proud family man and talking about his children brought a smile from ear to ear.
The Crews family gave up their security blanket of city life to up and move to Williamsport where they knew no one. Coach Crews wanted to be the head football coach at Williamsport and his wife supported him 100%.
I asked him about the change from Chester to our area. "I like the slower pace and being able to enjoy life more. I don't miss the driving and the rat race of the city."
How was the transition from Chester to Williamsport High School? "I thank Mr. Pardoe and a core group of teachers for making it easy. They really helped me settle in as a Social Studies teacher for students with special needs."
When asked what do you think of WAHS, Coach Crews smiled and said "Williamsport High School should be the blueprint for how the world works together. It is a racially diverse setting for kids from all walks of life and backgrounds. They get to learn, live and play athletics together as one. It's a great place to prepare for life."
One thing that struck Mr. Crews funny was a certain style of dress. "What's with all this camouflage? I understand that hunting is big around here, but come on, people wear it all the time. You don't have that in Chester." This brought Mr. Pardoe and myself almost to tears of laughter and Coach Crews soon joined us.
Next up the question of what was the common goal in the classroom and on the field? "To provide leadership and build trust through transparency and honesty. I am asked many questions about my opinion and what I think, I am a simple straightforward person just trying to do my part. I have no secrets or magic plan, just hard work and showing up every day trying to make a difference."
Your football team has done well, what is most special and makes you smile so far this season? "I am proud of the work my coaches and players have put in. I'm really proud of how the players wear their hearts on their sleeves. They have bought in and believe in what we are doing. They understand when they make a mistake to put it behind them and learn from it and correct it."
How about Friday nights at home? "I love our new stadium and the atmosphere so many are helping to create. The administration and community have really gotten behind us. This along with our success will help get more young men playing in the future."
I couldn't agree more, success breeds success. I look for more wanting to put on those Millionaire threads and be a part of what's happening for Coach Crews.
Principal Pardoe had this to offer in closing. "Coach Crews is an extremely humble but outgoing man. He is passionate about whatever he is doing. He believes strong performance is created through competition and accountability. He is committed to building a program through each player being dedicated and believing it is their program and the team will be successful because of their efforts together."
Timing is everything in life and it appears like the Millionaires got the right man for the job. Good luck to Coach Crews and the Cherry and White for a strong finish to their season.
God Bless America.