By JAMES COOK firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Kris and Rachelle Crosby are back in the basketball coaching business.
After a two-year high school coaching hiatus, the couple will be taking over the boys and girls basketball program at Traverse City Christian.
Kris takes over for Greg Farmer at the helm of the boys’ team, while Rachelle will oversee the girls’ program starting back up after two years of inactivity.
“When I applied for the position ... I was a little hesitant,” Kris Crosby said. “I said (to athletic director Darryl Wiggins), ‘You guys don’t even have a bus and your floor is messy.’ I was trying to talk myself out of it, I guess. I had an interview, and then a couple days later, Darryl says, ‘Hey, somebody donated a bus. And we’re getting our floor re-done.’ It was just kind of cool. Those were the two things on my list.”
That sealed the deal on accepting the job, where he’ll be coaching his son, a 6-foot-8 senior center who is one of the Sabres’ top returning players.
TC Christian lost starting forward Jesse Heerdt and guard Paul Bump, as well as reserve Will Andre, from a team that advanced to last season’s finals in a large seven-team Class D district field. Forward David Bump and guard A.J. Weber return, as well as the younger Crosby in the middle on a team that has six juniors back from last year’s squad.
“He’s really looking to improve himself as a ballplayer,” Kris Sr. said. “He’s a college prospect, we’re hoping anyway. He’s gotten in better shape with conditioning. ... He’s challenged himself to shoot 800 shots a day to work on his shot and range. He’s already known as a shooter, but it’s tough when you’re a 6-8 guy to go out there and prove that you’re an outside shooter. ... And if he goes to the next level at 6-7, 6-8, he might not be a post player, so he better be able to hit that mid-range shot.”
Crosby said he aims to concentrate to improve the team’s defensive efforts, as well as movement on offense and making teams regret double-teaming his son.
Kris Crosby posted a 239-89 record as coach of the Traverse City Bulldogs home school team, which advanced to the state championship game 10 times in his 17 years and won five crowns. He’s still in search of a boys junior varsity coach.
At one point, the couple was coaching six different teams simultaneously — two elementary squads, a junior high team, junior varsity girls and varsity boys and girls teams in the Bulldogs program.
This will be the first time Rachelle has the title of head coach, as she was an assistant under her husband with the Bulldogs, although she acted a head coach when scheduling conflicts between the teams arose. “It should be fun,” she said.
Last year, she attended her daughter Rebekah’s games on the Sabres’ eighth-grade team. Rebekah was a seventh-grader at the time, but moved up a class and is one of several middle schoolers who could be varsity candidates if the school’s attendance numbers allow them to qualify to have athletes below ninth grade on varsity.
“I was able to watch all the girls’ eighth-grade games,” Rachelle said. “They have a lot of athleticism and passion on their team. That’s something you can’t teach, so I’m excited once I teach them the fundamentals that I’d like to implement and my own system, I think they’ll catch on quickly. Hopefully, we’ll be competitive quickly.”
She said she’d like to implement an aggressive defense utilizing full-court presses and half-court traps, depending on the opponent, but will have to wait to see how many athletes she has on the team before determining any game planning.