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Thursday, February 9, 2006
Failing grade: Dixie State College fires Croshaw

Associated Press

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Citing concerns over the football team's academic performance, Dixie State College officials have fired coach Greg Croshaw, whose teams over 24 seasons had a record of 214-56-1 with 17 conference wins and two national runner-up finishes.

Croshaw said the decision left him "stunned, blindsided and demolished.

"I wanted to stay here and finish my career," Croshaw, 57, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Athletic Director Dexter Irvin said Wednesday that the academic performance of the team has been of concern for several years, and administrators felt it was time to make a change, in part because of changes in academic standards and recruiting policies as the school prepares to move to the NCAA Division II.

"Greg is a master on the field at the JC level -- nobody can argue that," Irvin said in a news release. "Greg has taken our football program to national prominence and his overall record at Dixie is Hall of Fame material."

He said, however, that "As we make the move to the NCAA and into a mode where academics are paramount, we want and need to put a premium on academic performance. We want to recruit student-athletes who will be successful both in the classroom and on the field, and it's incumbent on us to provide an atmosphere where that can happen."

The team's average grade-point average last season was 1.96. The averages in the other seven athletic programs ranged from 2.64 to 3.28.

Irvin said Croshaw was asked to establish and adhere to an academic improvement plan after the 2004 season. Elements of the plan included requirements that players register through the college's academic advisement office, have their grades checked monthly, and that coaches assign struggling students to proper tutoring and monitor their progress on a weekly basis.

Irvin said several initiatives were not followed.

"The academic expectations of our football team should be no different than any of our other sports," said Irvin. "Each of our other sports performs at a much higher academic level."

Croshaw said that with a junior college program, "You get kids with academic problems. That's why a lot of them are here -- they couldn't get in" to an NCAA school.