Bulldogs tab Crouse new coach
MHS assistant takes reins for McLouth
As a child, Shannon Crouse, like many aspiring football players, drew up plays in the dirt.
As an adult, he's using a chalkboard.
Crouse, a 1987 McLouth High School graduate, will be the head coach at his alma mater when football practice begins next month.
"Even when we used to go in the sandlot," Crouse said. "I'd actually have all these plays drawn up for 4-on-4."
Last year, Crouse was an assistant for the Bulldogs under Ballard Patterson.
In the spring, though, Patterson resigned. Crouse, who also coached youth football in Lawrence for seven years, said the jump to high school last season required some adjustments. He said the game was obviously faster at the high school level, and it took him about the first quarter of the season to get settled in.
"Once we did, I think we started being a little more successful," Crouse said.
Crouse's head coaching career could get off to an uphill start. The Bulldogs were 1-8 last year, and MHS lost nine seniors from that team.
"That's always tough to replace them," Crouse said.
Although the Bulldogs only mustered one win last year, Crouse expects his team to shoot for success this season.
"We're going to play hard," he said. "We're going to be structured; we're going to be disciplined; we're going to play smash-mouth, if you will."
Crouse has made a career as an electrician. After graduating from Northeast Kansas Vocational School in Atchison, he worked at Quaker Oats in Lawrence. For nearly the last three years, he's been an electrician at Lawrence's Westar Energy plant, but moved to the Topeka plant a month ago where he has a managerial position.
The Rule 10 coach will again juggle Westar and football. He cited playing for Girard Aligo and coaching with Lawrence youth coach Jeff Perry and Patterson as beneficial for his second occupation. Now, he'd like to incorporate the youth program, third through sixth grades, at McLouth.
"I think it builds a lot of character," Crouse said. "You learn a lot of the good basics of football and competitiveness you'll carry on forever."
Crouse and his wife, Susie, live in McLouth and have three children, Danny, 13, Derrick, 11 and Faith, 7. He also has three stepchildren.