Coach Crawford, a staple in our community

Coach+Jim+Crawford+Jr+sitting+on+the+benches+by+the+softball+field+after+s+Cross+Country+practice+last+week.++Jim+Crawford%2C+Jr+has+seen+a+lot+in+his+years+coaching+at+North+Penn%2C+and+now+he%27s+coaching+through+a+pandemic.+

Ali Brooks

Coach Jim Crawford Jr sitting on the benches by the softball field after s Cross Country practice last week. Jim Crawford, Jr has seen a lot in his years coaching at North Penn, and now he’s coaching through a pandemic.

TOWAMENCIN – In a tight-knit, spirited district like North Penn, it is not uncommon to hear about the individuals who have become a staple in the community. Faculty and staff members alike continue to make long-lasting impacts on their students; Jim Crawford Jr. has been making these types of impacts for over 45 years.

Known to most as Coach Crawford, Jim Crawford Jr. has coached everything, from North Penn’s winter track teams to its basketball teams. His extensive experience has not only allowed him to see a change in the sport over the years, but also a change in the athlete.

“Well, they are less likely to listen to the coach,” Crawford joked. “But they have a lot more knowledge than what the athletes way back 20, 30, 40 years ago had. I think they have more knowledge about the game, but there’s also more outside pressure on the athletes from parents and social media.”

Crawford recognizes these pressures and strives to create an environment where each individual athlete can achieve success in their own ways.

“My biggest interest is seeing that as many as possible can have success in the sport that they’re doing. And when you do things that work out, or your practice for example, and you see it work out in the game or the meet, you feel happy for that girl or guy that’s doing it,” Crawford explained.

My biggest interest is seeing that as many as possible can have success in the sport that they’re doing. And when you do things that work out, or your practice for example, and you see it work out in the game or the meet, you feel happy for that girl or guy that’s doing it”

— Coach Crawford

He knows that perfection is not to be expected all of the time, but he believes that the qualities of hard work and grit will always go a long way for young athletes.

“Hopefully, they will see that if they practice certain things or continue to work, they’re going to get better. Everything in life isn’t successful. You learn from failure and you can get better at things if you work at it,” Crawford said.

Even as a boy, he was able to learn much of what he knows now from his father, James B. Crawford Sr., the namesake of North Penn High School’s Crawford Stadium.

“I never had anybody tell me how to coach, it’s all that I’ve picked up from watching, listening, and sometimes just observing. If he [Crawford Sr.] was at home working on a lineup or something for the next day, that’s something I could pick up on and learn just from that,” Crawford reflected.

Although coaching has always been something familiar to Crawford, he also spent many years working as a guidance counselor, and even before that, as an elementary school teacher at Knapp Elementary.

“It was 36 years worth in that [guidance counseling] position, all at North Penn High School from the first time this building opened,” Crawford said. “I taught four years of elementary school before that.”

During this time, he was even able to see some of his elementary students grow into high school students.

“Some of the people I taught in elementary school I then had up here [at North Penn High School] like as counselees and also on my track team,” Crawford said.

“My first and second year of coaching the girl’s track team, I had two or three girls that I taught in elementary school,  and they were pretty good. I didn’t know that when they were 10 years old, but then they got into high school and they did really well,” Crawford laughed.

Between guidance counseling, coaching, and teaching, Crawford has been able to consistently work and communicate with people of all ages in the North Penn School District for decades. From the time he started to now, North Penn High School has not failed to make an impact on him.

“I came here every day for 40 years. It definitely had to have an impression on me,” Crawford said. “We’ve always had, I thought, good athletic teams here, and the community always supported that, it’s a big help.”

Even after 45 years, Crawford impressively shows no signs of slowing down just yet. Any student or teacher that knows him would agree that he has become a significant part of the school community and will continue to be just that for many more years to come.