E.A. Sports Today

On the move

White Plains assistant Crews expected to be named Oneonta’s new boys basketball coach Monday

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

This is one of those times where the head coach is both happy and sad about losing a valued staff member.

White Plains assistant coach Brandon Crews will be named the new boys basketball coach at Oneonta High School on Monday pending board approval. Crews is expected to attend the meeting.

“I’m excited about it,” he said Sunday night. “I guess the best way to describe it is bittersweet. I’m excited about the opportunity, but I’m really, really going to miss White Plains. White Plains is a special place.”

It’s a time of mixed emotions for Wildcats head coach Chris Randall as well. While he’s overjoyed Crews is getting an opportunity to run his own program – a time he says is long overdue — at the same time he’s saddened to lose an invaluable member of his staff.

“You cannot put a price tag on what he did for us,” Randall said. “You just can’t.”

The bond between Crews and Randall goes well beyond the last five years they’ve been on the White Plains bench together. Randall coached Crews as a junior high player at Trinity and their connection remained strong when Crews went to college at Tennessee Temple.

During the first four years Crews was at White Plains, he and Randall were the only basketball coaches on staff. Randall helped Crews with the junior high team and Crews helped Randall with the varsity. They are so connected in their thinking there have been times in practice when one would start to make a point and they would complete the thought in unison.

“He was my coach – I still call him coach,” Crews said. “Then as I was in college and getting out on my own he was a mentor to me. Then when I moved to White Plains, now we’re best friends. He went from coach to best friend and everything in between.”

This past season Crews was full-time with the varsity and B teams, in charge of the inbounds plays and offensive sets, responsibilities that were right up his alley.

“He’s good at that stuff; he’s a great X-and-O guy,” Randall said. “He’s a continual learned, always trying to find something new. He needs to be a head coach.

“I’m so excited for him, but sad we’re losing him. He was a big asset for us. But he needed to be a head coach. It was past time.”

Crews, 31, has been a head coach before, for two years in the Chattanooga area before coming to White Plains. He was the boys head coach at Tennessee Temple Academy and when that school closed he moved to Red Bank High School as the girls head coach.

He will remain at White Plains through the end of the school year, which means he’ll be by Randall’s side through the end of the current golf season. In addition to his basketball duties at Oneonta, he also will be the junior high football head coach.

The Oneonta job came open earlier this spring after the school board voted out the standing head football and basketball coaches. Crews said he had never been inside the Oneonta city limits before driving in for his interview. Ironically, he’ll be going back twice more this week – once to meet his players and get a lay of the land and Wednesday when he takes the White Plains golf team for a practice round at Limestone Springs in advance of the state sectional tournament.

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