ST. GEORGE – Greg Croshaw has done a lot of things in his 27 years as a head football coach, but he’s never done this.
Croshaw, recently inducted into the Dixie State athletics Hall of Fame, has accepted the head coaching job at Cottonwood High School.
“It’s really been a whirlwind,” he said. “This will be a great new adventure.”
The legendary coach, who won 214 games as the leader of the Dixie College Rebels, has coached most recently at Mesa Community College in Arizona. He accepted the Mesa job two years ago to resume his pursuit to become junior college’s all-time coaching wins leader.
But Croshaw, who sits in second place but is still quite a few wins away from the all-time mark, said his priorities have changed
“The biggest thing for me is family,” he said. “I will be up there by my three sons and T.D. (the oldest) will be one of my assistants. Jace and Marc may help, too. And I will be near my grandkids.”
The Cottonwood program is in need of a steadying hand. Two years ago new head coach Teko Johnson died suddenly while on vacation with his family. Then his replacement, Josh Lyman, resigned this spring amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a female student. Then, last Saturday offensive line coach Mike Gallegos was killed in a car crash.
The run of bad luck came during the Salt Lake Valley school’s transition from 4A to 5A.
The 63-year-old Croshaw, who has been a head coach for 27 years, will likely provide a stabilization the school administrators dearly crave.
Croshaw said he would have liked to stay in St. George, but added that the Salt Lake-area is his second choice. The veteran coach, who has a master’s degree from BYU, will also teach physical education at Cottonwood.
He said he will keep his home in St. George and establish a second residence in Salt Lake City.
Croshaw, who never had a losing season at Dixie College, was abruptly fired in 2005 as the school made the transition from junior college to NCAA Division II.
The dismissal set off a firestorm of controversy among Dixie State College supporters, many of whom could not imagine Dixie football without the popular and charismatic coach.
Croshaw took the reins at Dixie in 1982 and led the then-Rebels to a 214-56-1 record, a seasonal average record of roughly 9-2. Twice Dixie played for the national championship and during his tenure, Dixie won 17 conference titles and finished second nationally twice.
Since his dismissal, Dixie State has not had a winning season, going just 15-50 in six seasons at the DII level.
“I don’t want to get into that. There are still some strong feelings there,” Croshaw said. “But my 24 years there gave me a love for the school that will always out-weigh the hurt.”
Although Croshaw has not been a head coach in high school, he did spend four years as the defensive coordinator locally at Pine View.
Croshaw also coached the St. George Blitz/Dixie Rebels semi-pro football team. He and his wife, Doris, have four children. Their only daughter, Lacey, lives in St. George.
Cottonwood is perennially a contender in football, but finished just 5-5 last season. The Colts were eliminated in the first round of the 5A playoffs by Northridge.
Cottonwood last played for the state championship in 2008, losing the title game to Timpview 34-28.
Cottonwood, which competes in region 3 with the likes of Alta and Jordan, will open the season Aug. 24 at Logan.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.