With only nine years of football coaching experience and none of those being at the high school level, Troy Cropp, the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy head varsity football coach, has made a surprisingly big impact on the program in his one-year of coaching.
“He’s made more people want to get involved in the football program than we’ve ever had before – he’s transformed things,” said Athletic Director Lonnie Tvrdy.
Tvrdy noticed Cropp’s potential as a head coach when he took the initiative to put together the first middle school football program at Pusch Ridge. The only prior experience Cropp had was coaching his son, Cody, now an upcoming sophomore, in local football leagues. What stood out to Tvrdy the most was Cropp’s attention to detail and amount of time he put into the program.
“I watched him at the middle school level and saw his hunger for football and wanting to be very organized. He wanted to be the absolute best fundamentally even on that level – that stood out to me,” said Tvrdy. “I wanted to see that junior varsity to varsity as well.”
After the 2011 season ended, Tvrdy offered the head-coaching job to Cropp, which he accepted. Working as a full time State Farm Insurance agent and now being the head coach proved to be very time consuming, but something that Cropp thrived upon. Within the 2012 season, Cropp brought a new energy and excitement to the football program.
“I’d say he’s a good visionary and he’s good at communication and being able to motivate people,” said Lamar Lovett, assistant varsity football coach. “You can see that in how he upgraded the weight room.”
A metal chain-linked fence originally enclosed the weight room. Over the course of this last year the players did more fundraising that resulted in enough money to build an air-conditioned weight room with new equipment. Lovett has already seen a positive change in how the players’ workout because of the changes made.
“The new equipment makes the players more engaged and active,” said Lovett. “There’s more consistency in the weight room.”
The weight room wasn’t the only change as Cropp brought a new offense, defense and off-season workout program. Cropp’s attention to detail and organization made for an easier transition for his players. Tvrdy would also add that Cropp’s passion for the sport also played a big part in the players trusting the direction he took them as a head coach.
“He brings a lot of enthusiasm every day to practice, which is big because if people don’t see enthusiasm in you why would a player bring it?” said Tvrdy. “He’s intentional about talking about a vision for the games and everything down the road.”
Apparently Cropp’s new football system has worked. In 2011, the Lions finished the season with a 2-7 record. The next year under Cropp’s leadership the team finished 6-4. Both seasons the Lions played in Division V. But winning more games isn’t all that football is about for Cropp.
“You need to be humble and honor God in what you do. Outwork and play tough football. Physical, relentless, Christ-like and achievement are the pillars that the team stands on,” said Cropp. “I think that coming into this next season it would be fair to say that we want to compete and win at the highest level. We want to continue to excel, improve and build into these young men’s lives.”