Away from the gridiron, Crawford was also a standout track athlete, helping lead Franklin to a third-place finish in the 1977 NAIA District 21 championships — accounting for 40 of the team’s 58 points. He showcased his athletic skills by winning the 100- and 200-yard dash races and the long jump field event, along with running a leg of the victorious 440-yard relay team. He still holds the NAIA national long jump record with a leap that covered 22 feet, 10¼ inches.
Crawford still faithfully follows the success of the Franklin football program and tries to attend at least one home football game each fall. After graduating from Franklin, he graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1982 and has had a family dentistry practice in Winamac for the past 31 years.
Crawford recalls being on strong teams at Franklin that annually played bigger schools. He said Grizzlies went 8-2 his senior year, 8-2 his junior year and 7-2 his sophomore year.
He said the Grizzlies annually would play teams like Butler, Evansville, Georgetown, Ky., and Grand Valley State and would more than hold their own.
“We played people we probably shouldn’t have and we would compete,” Crawford said. “Red was a great coach. His quarterbacks would always rank 1, 2 or 3 in the nation in NAIA or D-III. It helped me a lot at my position. All we did was defend the pass every day. I learned how to cover receivers.”
Crawford said the Grizzlies never made the playoffs during his time because back then teams had to go undefeated or have just one loss to make the playoffs. But the Grizzlies were ranked many times.
One memorable game for Crawford was when his team beat Butler and quarterback Bill Lynch, who went on to coach at Butler, Ball St., Indiana and is now at DePauw.
“He was a double-sport guy and a good quarterback. We beat Butler really bad,” Crawford said.