Tonight, Lebanon debuts a new field and stadium at the new site for the high school. “The jumbotron is something we wanted to do to give our facility a touch of class, do something for our fans, our kids. It’s a high-definition screen, 7.5 feet wide and 15 feet tall (at a cost of $70,000). We had 14 sponsors contribute, so it’s created a revenue stream. We’re excited to have a state-of-the-art facility. The kids have had inadequate facilities for so many years. A lot of folks have worked hard to pull this together and create something that we can all be proud of.”
It’s been a winding road that led Crane to his current role. After completing a college baseball career, he was working as an athletic trainer in Alabama before he was inspired to enter coaching at the middle school level. “I changed careers, got my master’s in education and moved up the ranks.”
Crane attributes much of his coaching approach to the first coach he worked under, Perry Swindoll at Russellville High School in Alabama. “He taught me about fundraising, trying to do things in a first-class way in your day-to-day operations,” Crane said. “He worked with (spread offense guru Tony Franklin), and he’s where I got my background in screens and the passing game.” Crane also attributes much of his philosophy to current Cumberland coach Dewayne Alexander. “Dewayne has taught me how to deal with people,” he said.
LAST GAME, LASTING MEMORY
Crane didn’t know it at the time, but when Russellville reached the 2002 Class 5A final, it marked the end of his Alabama coaching tenure. “We got beat by Homewood, 31-28. They kicked a 48-yard field goal early in the game, but that was the difference. It was 13 degrees — probably the coldest football game I’ve ever been in.”