“Sometimes people come into your life & you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or help you figure out who you are & or who you want to become.”
He was simply known as “Pappy.” He was a husband of one, a father of two, a grandfather of four and a great grandfather of four. He was a brother, an uncle, and the son of Manuel and Geraldine Crowe. He was a leader and an elder in his church, and most importantly, he was a follower of Christ. He was so much to so many throughout the Tri-Cities area; and to those of us who were fortunate enough to play for him, he was our coach.
For many children around Johnson City and Elizabethton, his unmistakable presence in their lives can lead us to only one conclusion about who Darrell Crowe was- he was man who changed lives. I can attest, and I believe that I can speak for the great many of us who played for him, that all of our lives were changed because of Pappy Crowe. We were given opportunities to play and go places that today, many people take for granted. Pappy was a strong supporter of those kids who had desire and ability, but did not have means. It was this part of Pappy’s legacy that I have held on to the most, not in my baseball career as a player or a coach, but as a youth pastor in inner city Knoxville. As I minister to teenagers who live in constant need, some of them dire need, I have always held on to the example that Pappy set for us while we played baseball. No player, with the desire to play, was ever left behind because they could not afford to go and play. Pappy always made sure these players were taken care of and he was intentional about doing it quietly to protect the dignity of his players.
It is easy to point to the many accolades that Pappy achieved as a coach- the countless Dizzy Dean State titles, the numerous Dizzy Dean World Series appearances, the hundreds of players that went on to play college baseball, and the dozens of players that played professionally. Yet, the legacy left by Pappy extends so much farther than that. You see he didn’t just coach exceptional baseball players, he molded and shaped exceptional men. He has had a major impact on men that have become doctors and lawyers, teachers, businessmen, contractors, and yes, even pastors. He has had a hand in creating college graduates and has influenced more coaches in the Tri-Cities area than any other person. What he accomplished and what he created is a career in developing the young men of the Tri-Cities and those impacts have reached world-wide.
So, what is the legacy of Pappy Crowe? I believe that we can look at the life of Pappy and see a life of investment- an investment in people. I can think of no other person in my lifetime that reached more people and did more good for the Tri-Cities than Pappy Crowe. You see, he looked at the kids and the teens of the area and he saw an investment. He saw an opportunity to cut down on high school drop outs, he saw an opportunity to increase the number of young people to not only enroll, but finish college. He saw an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people and in our little corner of the planet, Pappy Crowe changed the world- our world. To me, Pappy will always be a major influence on my life and I think it is safe to say, his influence will far outlive any of us who had the privilege to know him.
Thank you Pappy! You will always be loved and missed.
Darrell “Pappy” Crowe
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach
Photo from: http://www.tndizzydeanbaseball.com