Crutchfield Takes East Central Oklahoma Head Coach Position


Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE –  Chris Crutchfield, the associate head coach under Arkansas Head Basketball Coach Eric Musselman, now is a head coach himself.

East Central University, a Division II school in Ada, Okla., on Monday announced Crutchfield as its head basketball coach.

“We are excited to announce Chris Crutchfield as the new head coach of the men’s basketball program at East Central University,”  ECU Athletic Director Dr. Jeff Williams said in a statement Monday announcing Crutchfield’s hiring.  “Coach Crutchfield has built an impressive reputation within the college basketball community as an elite coach, recruiter and leader.  The expertise he brings to our program will make an immense impact upon our players and overall program.  I asked our returning players to trust the search committee to bring them a phenomenal coach and I believe we have delivered.”

On Twitter, Musselman posted Monday:  “We are beyond excited about this opportunity for Coach Crutch and his family. He was instrumental in laying the foundation of our culture at Arkansas.”

In a statement issued through ECU, Crutchfield said, “”I am grateful to ECU President Dr. Katricia Pierson and Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Williams for offering me the opportunity to become the next head coach at East Central University.  My family and I are excited to impact our students-athletes in a positive way while competing for championships.  I can’t wait to develop a relationship with our current student-athletes, alumni and the community of Ada. My family and I are looking forward to a successful work-life balance at ECU.”

Though a native of Hopkinsville, Ky. and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Crutchfield has extensive coaching experience in the State of Oklahoma.

From 2007-2011 Crutchfield was an assistant coach at Tulsa-based Oral Roberts University and joined Musselman’s first-year Arkansas staff in 2019-2020 after assisting Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger from 2011-2019 with the title of associate head coach for the Sooners  from 2016-2019.

Crutchfield also has been an assistant coach at TCU, New Mexico State, and Tyler Junior College and Texas-San Antonio after starting his coaching career as a 1995 assistant at Nebraska-Omaha and was the Tyler Junior College head coach from 1999-2001.

This week the University of Arkansas begins preparations including “robust physical examinations,” Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said, for the next Monday’s start of on  campus “voluntary” weight training and conditioning for Razorbacks athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

All UA facilities have been closed since the mid March shutdown because of the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic.

Though still pondering the possibilities of turning professional in the since delayed National Basketball Association draft, Arkansas junior forward and Fort Smith Northside alum  Isaiah Joe told Kevin McPherson of Hogville.net  and KNWA TV that he will be lifting and conditioning with the Razorbacks Monday. 

Also on Twitter Monday, Musselman tweeted regarding the  May 31  death of African-American citizen George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death  resulted in the charging of a Minneapolis policeman. Derek Chauvin,  with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.  Floyd died with Chauvin  on video seen kneeling on a handcuffed  Floyd’s neck for nearly 8-minutes-46 seconds with Floyd gasping “I can’t breathe.”

Peaceful protests nationwide have morphed into violence and clashes with police and destruction of property in many l major cities.

“I’m deeply saddened by what’s going on in our country,” Musselman said.   “We’ve had daily discussions in our household about what we can do to be a part of the change. I do not know what’s it’s like to be an African-American man, but as a husband, father and coach I believe that respect and love for one another is where things begin.  We must fight racism together, and it needs to start right now.”

Danyelle Musselman, Eric Musselman’s wife, is African-American. They are parents to one daughter, Mariah.

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