August 2, 2012
By Phil Stephens, FC Dallas Editor
LOVE OF COACHING
Dawn Crow wants others to love soccer as she does
When blessed with a soccer pedigree and background like that of Dawn Crow, becoming a coach was just the most natural thing in the world. It was almost a question of how could she not?
|Dawn Crow coaches soccer to impart the same love she feels for the game to youngsters growing up today.
Crow grew up riding the wave of one of the first top-quality eras of North Texas girls and women's soccer. University of North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance quickly caught on to the quality of players being developed in the area and tapped into that talent early in his college coaching career. Crow was part of that talent rush to UNC and enjoyed the atmosphere of playing with teammates like Mia Hamm, Trish Venturini, April Heinrich, Tracy Bates and Kristine Lilly. Some of those players grew up with here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
She capped off her youth career in winning the national championship with the Texas Longhorns in 1992, when it was coached by Claudia Kirkup, wife of then SMU women's soccer coach Alan Kirkup.
She held on to the love of the game and knew she could extend her involvement best by coaching.
“It was a matter of everyone really wanting to do this,” Crow said. “Our parents didn't have to plead with us to get involved,” she said.
Her coaches were some of her most positive influences in her life, people like Diane Davey, at Plano High School, Janet Rayfield with the Texas Spirit, Kirkup and Dorance.
It was pretty simple. She wanted the young players growing up now to have some of the same kind of positive experiences she enjoyed. She wanted to see them develop the love of the sport she had.
And as she moved forward in her career, she loved to see the “light bulb” moments in the faces of the youngsters she coached—those times when they first really caught on, or really understood what she was teaching.
After graduating from college, she then went into coaching, first as college assistants, at Virginia Commonwealth, Mississippi State, Alabama and head coach at Duquesne and Fairfield University in Connecticut.
When Crow moved back to North Texas, there were ample coaching opportunities and she started at West Mesquite, and coached at Southlake Carroll, a high school powerhouse and has now focused on Plano East. Coaching in the state tournament finals has not been a rare thing for Crow.
Crow also does club coaching, as mentor for an '93 FC Dallas team.
But the state glory is not the lure for Crow, who expects to be involved in some start-up programs in her district.
It is those “light-bulb” moments she loves to see.
“I just hope these kids now can learn to love it like I did and like I still do,” she said.