What he felt he missed as a teenager, he was finally getting as an adult. That team played in various leagues including a men’s AAU league.

Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. The Wings won a total of nine national championships in the 16 … He served as an assistant coach to the 1995 and 1996 USA Junior National Select Team. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ron Crawford and his family during this time. That got me fired up.”eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'bestofarkansassports_com-box-4','ezslot_4',126,'0','0'])); Basketball had inspired Crawford since his early days in Kennett, a southern Missouri Delta town also home to country star Sheryl Crow. "He made those trips more than basketball. This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC.

(NWA Media).

The Wings organization produced SEC players of the year in Williamson and Bobby Portis at Arkansas, as well as former Razorbacks Moses Kingsley, Jason Jennings, Hunter Mickelson, Rashad Madden and Dusty Hannahs. Conway businessman Bryan Adams was invited by Crawford to join the Arkansas Wings organization in 2012, and he took over the Wings in 2016 when Crawford focused on developing the basketball program at Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock. - You can join the discussion by using another browser, like, It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. I also enjoying talking to Crawford, who lived in the Bryant area, and hearing his stories.

Not all the kids got scholarships, but every one of them got lifelong experiences.

Crawford began coaching the Arkansas Wings in 1980, and led his teams to a combined nine national titles in the 16-under, 17-under, and senior divisions. Around 1980, though, this rule was relaxed and Searcy-based Carder Buick became one of Arkansas’ first AAU programs to benefit. Material from the Associated Press is Copyright © 2020, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. On Saturday, Ron Crawford passed away at the age of 76 after spending much of the summer in hospice, his family announced on Facebook.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'bestofarkansassports_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_3',122,'0','0'])); Crawford, a Little Rock businessman, founded the Arkansas Wings in 1980 and turned that AAU program into one of the nation’s most successful. My condolences go out to the Crawford family during this trying time.”. A slower pace and better schools for his children, Linda and Keith, were also pluses. "He made a huge impact on me chasing my dreams and playing college basketball," Hannahs said.

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. He's a free agent after being with the Memphis Hustle of the G League. Crawford, a Little Rock businessman, founded the Arkansas Wings in 1980 and turned that AAU program into one of the nation’s most successful. Crawford served as an assistant coach to the 1995 and 1996 USA Junior National Select Team. Legendary Arkansas AAU coach Ron Crawford passes away at 76 ... Crawford had been in hospice care since July 7 due to enduring health issues. His teams finished in the top 10 at the national tournament 16 times. His family announced Crawford's passing on his Facebook page. That lineage of coaches started with Steve Schall, a Razorback in the 1970s, and has continued through Charles Baker, a former Division I assistant college basketball coach, who was at the helm of the 2015 Wings Elite team which played in the prestigious Nike EYBL tournament. Please read our Terms of Use or contact us. "He helped me start getting recruited and pushed me to be better.".

Hannahs, a Little Rock native, played two seasons at Texas Tech before transferring to Arkansas. He was 76. Ronald G. Crawford— a coach and mentor to hundreds, and a friend to all—died August 15, 2020, at his home in Benton, Arkansas, surrounded by his loving family. That's one thing you could expect from coach Crawford is he was going to make sure you worked hard.". The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. (NWA Media). Adams said while numerous kids earned college scholarships, others picked up valuable life lessons from Crawford and Wings. His family announced Crawford's passing … You can join the discussion by using another browser, like, It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Wings won a total of nine national championships in the 16-under, 17-under and senior divisions. So Pat let me come work one of Eddie Sutton’s camps and I learned a lot that week from them. Rest Well Coach! Crawford, though, was young for his grade and couldn’t make the school teams he wanted. The Wings organization produced SEC players of the year Corliss Williamson and Bobby Portis at Arkansas, as well as former Razorbacks Moses Kingsley, Jason Jennings, Hunter Mickelson, Rashad Madden and Dusty Hannahs. Williamson, who led Arkansas to its only national championship in 1994, recalls former Indiana coach Bobby Knight coming to a Wings practice. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. "I went to him and told him I wanted to be ranked number one in my class, and he made it a point to make sure I was able to be in front of the right people," Williamson said. After four years of constant practice and solo training, Crawford finally broke through and made the team. He especially loved finding out the AAU had national tournaments for different age groups and that “you could take a bunch of kids from Arkansas and go compete for a national title. Crawford's teams finished in the top 10 at the national tournament 16 times. Delivering the most interesting Arkansas sports news, commentary & analysis, BasketballRazorback basketball August 16, 2020 [email protected]. Ron Crawford, the longtime AAU basketball coach of the Arkansas Wings organization, died Saturday morning.

Ron Crawford, the longtime AAU basketball coach of the Arkansas Wings organization, died Saturday morning. "He gave all of us an opportunity to pursue our dreams, and he did it unselfishly," Williamson said. Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Copyright © 2020, Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC. He was 76. He remembers approaching Crawford before his junior year about achieving the No. Williamson was named the No. I will never forget the long rides and talks of wisdom you poured in my direction. He said Crawford was instrumental in helping him get noticed by college coaches. All rights reserved. “All my youth experiences that I hadn’t had, I got crammed into four or five years.” To this day, he wants his program’s players to enjoy experiences as teenagers he never could. Crawford, who entered a hospice facility July 7 after enduring health issues, founded and coached the Wings in 1980. Crawford was a head coach for one of three teams in the 2005 USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival.

Cutts also headlined the first Arkansas Wings team.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'bestofarkansassports_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',124,'0','0'])); Below is a story I wrote a few years ago for Letterman Magazine after interviewing Crawford about those Wings and his basketball story: Today, in Arkansas prep basketball circles, the words “Arkansas Wings” are synonymous with “winner.” It’s an inevitable association, considering the 12 national championships and multiple NBA players the prestigious AAU program and its 22 total teams have produced over the decades. He called the office of Eddie Sutton, then the Razorbacks’ head basketball coach. You provided platform to display our talents , the opportunity for our kids to go to college & pursue their dreams, and a blueprint of serve others. Crawford began working more often with young people after he became a power tools salesman and was recruited to start a new company in Little Rock, which had been part of his territory. Crawford, who served a short stint as the TV color analyst for Razorbacks basketball, was a head coach for one of three teams in the 2005 USA Basketball Men's Youth Development Festival. ", Copyright © 2020, Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC. No spam guarantee. At 18 years old, he moved to St. Louis and started operating milling machines for McDonnell Aircraft manufacturer. He's a Hall of Famer in my book.". Like Charles Ripley, also recently deceased, Crawford was a deep repository of Arkansas basketball knowledge, having playing a role in many of its most important moments. He helped the Wings win 16-under and senior division national championships.

The Arkansas basketball legend passed away after a career guiding the likes of Derek Fisher, Corliss Williamson, Dusty Hannahs and Willie Cutts. Cutts, who had starred at Conway, transferred to Bryant and helped lead the Hornets to a 33-2 record and a state title. For instance, the Razorbacks’ second McDonald’s All-American (after Ricky Norton) was Willie Cutts, whom Crawford told me he essentially adopted during his high school years at Bryant High. The Wings won a total of nine national championships in the 16-under, 17-under and senior divisions. Through it all, he appreciated how much better behaved Arkansas kids were than their inner city St. Louis counterparts.

Indeed, in 1980, Wings founder Ron Crawford didn’t even know Amateur Athletic Union basketball existed at the youth levels while coaching a Boys Club basketball team in Benton. "He continued to push me in practice.

Until that time, rules restricted Arkansans in grades 7 through 12 from participating in school sports while playing out-of-season sports off campus.