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
"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
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.