By Maurice Patton
It wasn’t just any job that Dakota Crews was applying for, and it wasn’t just any coach he was vying to replace.
After spending the past season as defensive coordinator at Summertown, Crews was recently named to succeed Leslie Mote at the top of the Eagles’ program after Mote’s dismissal last month.
“With everything that’s going on, it’s not something you’d expect,” Crews said of the vacancy. “You never expect somebody you’re working with to be let go. Even though we didn’t have the season we wanted to have or expected to have, there’s just something about – you always go to work. That’s what we were doing.
“We were close. We had a personal relationship, outside of football. He’s just a good all-around guy, helped me out with a lot of things.”
Summertown ended the season on a six-game losing streak after a 3-0 start and an Associated Press Class 2A Top 10 ranking, and first-year principal Lain Hinson made the decision to end Mote’s coaching tenure after six years.
“Summertown wants to win in everything it does,” Hinson said. “We think (Crews) is going to put in the work to get us in the playoffs consistently and win in the playoffs. With his background in two great programs, he’s won as a player and as an assistant coach and I think he’ll continue with that.”
Mote guided the Eagles from their infancy to a 24-37 record, making a postseason appearance in their second year as a Class 1A program and one more in the 2019 Class 2A playoffs.
Crews, 30, joined Mote’s staff after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant at Oakland. The only Mr. Football in the history of the Lewis County program, Crews worked under Bobby Sharp for six seasons at his alma mater after completing his collegiate playing career at Maryville College.
“Whenever they called and said they wanted to offer me the job, it was humbling,” he said. “It was a true honor that they thought I was the right guy for the job at this moment. It’s truly humbling that they would choose a guy like me, because I am so young.”
“We had a whole lot more applicants than I anticipated us having – a good applicant pool,” Hinson said. “Everybody I talked to when I really dug into Dakota, the places he’s been, the coaches he’s coached under, they said ‘you’ve got the guy right in front of you’.
“He cares about his kids. He’s a ‘teacher’. I saw that first hand; he taught across the hall from me (at Lewis County). I know what kind of person he is. He’s going to put the kids first, he’s going to make the right decisions even when those decisions are tough.”
The Eagles are slated to compete in a revamped Region 5-2A next fall, with Cascade (Region 4-2A), Mt. Pleasant (Class 1A) and Richland (Class 1A) joining holdovers Forrest and Loretto, while Community (Class 3A), Eagleville (Class 1A) and Lewis County (Region 6-2A) will depart the league.
“I tried to be very transparent (with) the people that came and interviewed,” Hinson said. “Whoever came in needs to come with a shovel in their hand. We’ve got a lot of work to do; we’re still a young program. But I saw what Summit did (winning the Class 5A state title in its 10th year of existence). It can be done. We’ve got to get somebody in that cares about the kids, that’s going to put expectations out there and is going to work.”
|Aug. 20 at Lawrence Co.|
|Aug. 27 at Wayne Co.|
|Sept. 3 vs. Richland*|
|Sept. 10 vs. Collinwood|
|Sept. 17 at Forrest*|
|Sept. 24 at Zion Chr.|
|Sept. 30 vs. Loretto*|
|Oct. 15 vs. Mt. Pleasant*|
|Oct. 22 vs. Lewis Co.|
|Oct. 29 at Cascade*|