Hello Westside, this is your old pal Fred J.. Here is what’s happening. After a tip on the blog, I called Duarte High School to find out if the rumors are true and it was confirmed that Wardell Crutchfield has been removed as head football coach at Duarte. Principal Eric Barba apparently told Crutchfield on Friday that the school wants to go in another direction. “Coaching assignments are on a year-by-year basis,” Barba said this morning. “Next year we’re looking to make a change. We’re appreciative of the time Mr. Crutchfield has given to Duarte and our football program, but we want to move in a different direction.” Barba wouldn’t answer questions about Crutchfield’s coaching performance, or offer any further details that led to his decision, saying it was confidential between him and Crutchfield. We’ll have more in tomorrow’s newspaper. BTW, I talked to Crutchfield about possibly coaching at PHS in December, he said it was tempting, but he wanted to continue coaching Wardell Jr., at Duarte. Now that he’s available, wouldn’t he make a nice fit.
When reached Monday, Crutchfield said he was surprised when told on Friday that he would not be back. “He gave me the same reasons he gave you (newspaper), that he wants to go in a different direction,” Crutchfield said. “I talked to him about our accomplishments, and how we changed the culture, started winning and got kids into college, but apparently that wasn’t enough.” During Crutchfield’s tenure Corey Fluker (UNLV), Mike Harris (UCLA), Chris Harris (Utah State) and Jermaine Thomas (Fresno State) all earned Division I scholarships. They reached at least the CIF quarterfinals in three of the four years he was there, which included a semifinal appearance in 2006.
“I think the school only had one player ever earn a scholarhip in football before I came,” Crutchfield said. “I’m going to remain at the school as a (math) teacher and continue to help these kids get go college. I really think Duarte has a great chance to win the Mid-Valley Division next year. I can sit here and say a lot of things, but I’m going to take the high road. I don’t want to have this turn into something negative for the kids. I’d like to thank Duarte for giving me my first head coaching job, I think I got everything out of it that I could. I’m disappointed I won’t be back, but I’m still going to support the school and help the players in any way that I can.”
We’ll have more in tomorrow’s paper.