BOYS BASKETBALL

Crawford hired to succeed Gaff as Kouts boys basketball coach

2013-05-13T17:00:00Z 2013-05-13T20:40:05Z Crawford hired to succeed Gaff as Kouts boys basketball coachJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

Matt Crawford was still a twinkle in his parents' eyes in 1983, the year Marty Gaff became the head coach at Kouts.

Now the 28-year old will succeed the man who has been synonymous with Mustangs basketball for three decades.

"I think when you replace somebody with such a long term of success, it's always a challenge building on what they did, while also instituting a new way of play," said Crawford, who was formally approved by the East Porter County School Corporation on Monday.

Kouts has won 19 games each of the last three seasons and will return a senior-dominated team with high expectations. It's a lot different scenario for Crawford than what he inherited at downtrodden Oregon-Davis in 2011. The Bobcats had won 15 games in the prior four seasons and went 8-33 under Crawford.

"I tell the kids everything we do will be built on poise, passion and purpose," Crawford said. "Our goal every day is to win a state championship. If you're not thinking about it, you're not being fair to yourself and not trying to be the best you can be. Life is always what you make of it."

Crawford played at Northridge High School and Goshen College, and spent a year as Crown Point freshman coach before getting the O-D job.

At O-D, Crawford implemented a camp for younger children as well as an AAU program for boys in grades 5-6-7. He plans to do both at Kouts.

"I believe it's important to start working with the little guys so they get to know us, start becoming acquainted with what we do and dreaming of becoming a Mustang in the future," he said.

Players and Kouts residents met Crawford last Wednesday during a gathering at the high school.

"We played Kouts the last couple years, so I've got a pretty good idea of what the kids can do," he said. "I can't wait to get in the gym with them."

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