COMMENTARY: Crouch just what Hamilton football needed

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — It wasn’t a want. It was a need.

It was what the Hamilton High School football program needed. The Big Blue needed a change in culture. The team that plays at beautiful Virgil Schwarm Stadium needed a change in direction.

Because, well, there had been too many pulls in every direction for the last several years.

Then Arvie Crouch steps in prior to the 2022 season — with his Hamilton ties, an established winning culture through his 12 seasons at Mount Healthy and a player’s coach mentality.

And in only two seasons at the Big Blue helm, everything had changed. It was a drastic change, too.

Hamilton won its city and its fans back this season — going from pretenders to contenders by winning its first-ever playoff game in nine trips and remaining in the hunt for a Greater Miami Conference title all year.

The Big Blue finished 8-4 overall and 7-2 in the GMC, which was something these parts hadn’t seen since 2010 when they finished 7-4, 5-2.

As a result, Crouch was named the 2023 Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Southwest District’s Division I Coach of the Year.

A much-deserving accolade in which he’ll be quick to credit his coaches and his players.

“I love these kids,” Crouch would always say after games.

“We’re growing, man,” Crouch noted prior to Hamilton’s second-round playoff game against Princeton, a 31-14 season-ending loss. “Hopefully, we can continue to grow and get better. We’re ahead of schedule, I’ll tell you that right now.

“I’m proud of my team and happy for my kids and how hard they’ve worked. It’s starting to pay off for them.”

He wasn’t lying.

With his second season at Hamilton under his belt, Crouch is 106-60 in 15 years as a head coach.

“They’ve really turned it around. These are great kids,” he said during the season. “They just didn’t have much confidence probably because of the last few years. We’re almost in every game now. We didn’t win a lot of them last year. They’ve just kept grinding, and they do what we ask of them. Now they’re starting to understand why. They’re getting a lot of whys answered this season.

“They’re understanding what a program should look like and what the expectations are within that program. I’m just really happy where we’re at.”

The Hamilton football program is in good hands.

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