ABILENE, Texas - Barbara Crousen - McMurry University's venerable track and field coach – has received virtually every honor and accolade possible over her long and distinguished career. Now she can add one more, as it has been announced that that her Alma Mater, Sul Ross State University, will be inducting her into its Athletic Hall of Honor.
The induction ceremonies will take place this coming Saturday, October 12 as a part of the SRSU Homecoming Weekend activities. Crousen will join former Lobos football player Earl Bowman and longtime prep football coach Mike Robbins as a part of the Class of 2013 being inducted.
"It means a lot to me to be recognized by Sul Ross," said Crousen. "Sul Ross was a place where everyone knew everybody and where I made some lifetime friends. My instructors made me feel confident, no matter what the assignment; an ‘I can do it' feeling. That mentality has served me well throughout my career.
"Also, the values I learned in Alpine have been invaluable to me. I was blessed to be raised there. I had a great childhood because of where my parents elected for us to be raised. My parents and brothers were great examples, too. They set the standard!"
Crousen has established herself as a "trailblazer" and a leader in the world of track and field. She is also the architect of the McM track and field dynasty.
Crousen also holds the distinction of being the first-ever female – in any sport and at any level - to coach a men's team to an NCAA national championship (when she won the men's outdoor title in 2008).
Crousen also led the War Hawks' men's team to the 2012 NCAA III Outdoor National Championship, the second in school history and both under her guidance. She will go down in McMurry history as the first head coach to lead a team of any kind to a national championship after guiding McM's men to that NCAA III Outdoor National Championship in 2008, since it began intercollegiate athletics competition in 1923.
Since taking over the program in the summer of 1998, Crousen has helped McMurry become a consistent track power in the region and nationally.
Beginning with her first season in 1999, Crousen led the men's team to 14-consecutive American Southwest Conference titles (1999-2012), exiting the conference in 2012 having never surrendered the men's championship trophy. The McM women's team won 10 ASC championships (1999-2004, 2006-2009) under Crousen's guidance.
During that time, Crousen was named the ASC's men's Coach of the Year all 14 seasons and was named the women's ASC Coach of the Year 10 times.
In 2012, Crousen received the nation's highest honor for the second time when she was named as the Men's National Coach of the Year for NCAA Division III. She was also named the men's NCAA III South/Southeast Region Coach of the Year, marking the ninth time she has earned that honor.
Crousen earned NCAA Division III Women's National Coach of the Year in 2001, as well. The women's program finished fourth overall at the national outdoor meet in 2001 and followed in 2002 as the national runner up.
244 all-America honors have been passed out to McMurry athletes since Crousen's tenure began in 1999, including 29 alone in 2012. 24 McM student-athletes have earned national academic honors and she's coached 61 national champions between indoor and outdoor competitions. She also coached the South Region Athlete of the Year 15 times, including four-time winner Hann Ollison (2006-09) and two-time recipient Kevin Cunningham (2011 & 2012).
Among Crousen's impressive career accomplishments are more than 200 conference champions, better than 200 additional all-conference finishers and 100-plus academic all-conference honorees.
A renowned clinician throughout the Lone Star state and well respected by her peers, Crousen is USA Track and Field Level I certified in the sport, certified in USA TF Level II for sprints and hurdles and a USATF Level I Lead Instructor.
She has been published in the Texas High School Coaches Association Magazine and has produced four track-related videos detailing tips on coaching and improving athletes' performance. She has had five athletes attend the USA Junior Elite Olympics Training Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Diego, Calif.
Before coming to McMurry, Crousen worked in the Texas public school system for 32 years including a stint as Cooper High School's head track and cross country coach in Abilene. She also worked in the El Paso, Deer Park and Pasadena districts.
While working in the public school system, Crousen rolled up some impressive accolades, as well. She was the 1990 TGCA All-Star Coach and served as the TGCA's president in 1993. In 1995, she was the Abilene ISD Physical Educator of the Year and the TGCA track Coach of the Year.
Crousen was the National Federation State Director in 1996-97 and National Federation Track Coach of the Year in 1998. She has had five athletes attend the USA Junior Elite Olympic Training Center. In 2005, she was name a TGCA Honor Coach.
Crousen was recognized for a lifetime of achievements and contributions at both the high school and collegiate levels, when she was inducted into the Texas Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame as a part of its Class of 2012.
In addition to her coaching duties at McMurry, Crousen also served McMurry as the senior woman administrator from 2011-13 for athletics as the school moved from NCAA III to NCAA Division II. Crousen also sat on the NCAA Division III Track and Field national committee until the schools transition upward.
Crousen's late husband, Joe, was the head football coach at McMurry for the 2005 and 2006 seasons and was inducted to the Big Country Hall Fame in May of 2012. One year later, Barbara Crousen was also enshrined in the Big Country Hall of Fame, making them the first-ever husband-wife duo to be so honored. The couple has three children (Kevin, Kerri and Tamra), seven grandchildren (Cooper, Claire, Carson, Foster, Stealey, Levi and Ruby).
"It doesn't get old," said Crousen on being inducted into a Hall of Fame for the third time in less than two years. "I only wish my parents could be here to see the result of what they have ‘molded'."
Crousen is a 1963 Alpine High School graduate, graduated from Sul Ross in 1966 and later received a Master of Education degree from Sam Houston State University.
The 2013 inductees will join 125 former Sul Ross athletes, coaches and outstanding boosters named to the Hall of Honor since its inception in 1986.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.
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