The McDuffie County Board of Education last week approved 34-year-old Cordaro Crawford as the new athletic director for Thomson High School.
He has been a long-time assistant basketball coach at THS. He follows Cecil Strong, who has filled the gap following the departure of Larry Dunn from the THS athletic director role several months ago. Strong is the county-wide athletic director.
“I’ve known Mr. Crawford for a while. He is one of my former students,” said Trevor Roberson, THS principal. “He has my confidence and I think he is going to do a good job.”
Crawford, a 2005 graduate of THS, is a former multi-sport athlete at THS and was part of a region championship basketball team and a state championship football team.
The highlight of his high school sports career was winning region in basketball his senior year, he said. In his sophomore year, the Bulldogs won a state football championship.
After graduating high school, Crawford attend Paine College and graduated with an accounting degree in 2010. His first year he was redshirted on the basketball program, then after that year did not play and focused solely on academics.
After finishing college he went to work for Morris Communications, but also started assistant coaching basketball at THS under Coach Michael Thomas, his former coach. Four years ago he became a math teacher at the school and continued coaching basketball.
Crawford said it was a blessing to be interviewed for the athletic director job.
What is it like knowing he will be athletic director at his alma mater?
“In high school I always dreamed of being the head basketball coach,” Crawford said. “That was a dream of mine in college also.”
He said it is humbling to know he is the athletic director.
“But you know God sometimes has his way in that he said ‘no you’re not going to be the basketball coach, you’re going to be the athletic director,” Crawford said. “It’s very humbling.”
So as athletic director, technically he will now be in charge of Coach Thomas, his former coach and mentor.
“That will be something a little different,” he said.
Crawford said he wants to be an advocate for the student and make sure the student part of student athlete is emphasized.
He said both of his brothers were good at sports while in high school. One was more football focused and the other one basketball. Dexter Crawford was the starting linebacker on the 2002 football state championship team while Roderick McGahee, who graduated in 2001, was more of a basketball player.
The new athletic director comes across humble when talking about his high school playing days.
“I was just a solid contributor, a starter for both,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t as good as either one of them, I would say, but I was a starter.”
As he assumes the new role, what will be the first thing he takes on?
“I have to get acclimated to what the job entails,” he said.
Crawford wants to focus on all the athletic programs evenly.
“The boys’ sports are going to be emphasized anyway, but kind of make sure all our girls' sports are equally emphasized,” he explained.
This past year he had his first chance to coach football. Since his brother moved to Harlem Middle School, Crawford assisted with the football program there. Crawford has followed a course from high school athlete, to college grad, to assistant basketball coach, and now athletic director.
What advice does he have for you athletes to help them find success?
“Always put God first in everything you do, in everything you do, and make sure the student part of student athlete is emphasized,” he said. “Make sure you think about your education first before you think about being an athlete. In order to be that athlete, you’ve got to pass your classes and be able to qualify.”
What can the community do to help support the THS athletes and athletic programs?
“Make sure we are supporting all kids, make sure we have the support from the community for all student athletes. It takes a village to raise our kids and if our kids know they have fans everywhere then they will play just as hard as if just mom is in the stands,” he said.
Roberson also stresses the need for athletes to be academically strong.
“It’s not only about how the student performs on the field, but it’s also about that student being academically eligible number one. And, number two, if they have the athletic prowess to go on to the next level, to go to college, they have to a good GPA and pass the SAT.”
The new athletic director is married to Leanna Niki Crawford. They have three children — Bryson, 9; Skylar, 7; and Charlee, 2.