Former Tiger Crowder enters coaching ranks at Daniel
By Eric Sprott
CENTRAL — It’s hard to blame Tyrone Crowder if he thought he’d be preparing for his first NFL training camp right about now.
It would seem like a natural progression given the sparkling career he enjoyed at Clemson, where Crowder was a three-year starter at right guard along the Tigers’ offensive line. He was named a first-team All-ACC performer each of the last two years, while he also earned third-team All-American honors as a graduate last season.
He also has a national championship ring — amongst other hardware — to show for his time in the orange and white.
Yes, the days still start early for Crowder, who finds himself surrounded by plenty of other with lofty gridiron goals during grueling morning workouts.
But now, Crowder is among those helping call the shots, as he’s moved on to the next phase of his football career as the new offensive line coach at Daniel High School.
After having a cup of coffee with the Cincinnati Bengals during a rookie minicamp as an undrafted free agent, Crowder now finds himself adjusting to the role of coach — an opportunity he’s looking forward to after a chance recommendation from another Tiger lineman who played his high-school ball for the Lions.
“I’m very excited,” said Crowder, who’s been at Daniel for not even a week. “I’ve been around the game for a while, and I’m excited to work with these guys. I feel like I have a lot to offer, and I’ve been in their position, so I feel like I can help them along the way.
“I have a lot to give, and I’m excited to see how things turn out.”
Crowder, a native of Marston, N.C., steps into the role formerly held by Jamie “Jamo” Wilson, who coached the Lions’ offensive line under Allen Sitterle, Randy Robinson and current head coach Jeff Fruster from 2004-17. Wilson has since moved to Westside, opening the door for Crowder to come in not long after closing the book on his Clemson career.
Fruster said the process of bringing Crowder to Daniel began during spring practice, when current Clemson offensive lineman Cade Stewart — who earned a Shrine Bowl invite in 2015 to close his Daniel career — came back to lend a helping hand at his alma mater.
“I knew (Stewart) wasn’t available to help the program — not yet, anyway — so I was asking him about recent grads, and that’s when he told me Crowder was still around,” Fruster said. “I reached out to him, and I asked him if it was something he’d ever thought about. He told me no, but that it wasn’t something he wouldn’t think about in the near future.”
After a few conversations between the two — along with a chat between Fruster and Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell — Crowder agreed to come on board at Daniel, where his brother, Tyrell, is a student.
In addition to his coaching duties at Daniel — including a role with the track and field team — Crowder will work as a special education aide a short trek down Madden Bridge Road at Edwards Middle School.
Crowder said his brother — a special-education student — is a major reason he chose his current career path after graduating from Clemson with a degree in sociology.
“(Tyrell) is one of the reasons why I went in that direction,” Crowder said. “He was a premature baby … and at first, we thought he was going to have to be in leg braces his whole life, and he beat that.
“To see him overcome those odds and have a smile on his face means a lot.”
And as far as what Crowder brings to the Lions, Fruster said there’s no limit to what he can bring from an experience standpoint — regardless of his rookie status in the coaching ranks.
“I think the possibilities are endless,” Fruster said. “What he’s going to bring to the table for the kids fundamentally is going to be out of this world. I think the biggest thing is he’s going to bring new concepts … and he’ll bring some modern-day teaching into our system as far as getting our offensive line ready to play.”
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