MELISSA — Melissa head coach Eric Benton and his new varsity assistant Kyle Crawford will require no adjustment period. Not only have they shared the court more than once in recent years, they’re both Baylor University graduates and their families have known each other for some time.
Crawford, 29, comes to Melissa by way of Class 4A Waco Robinson High School where he was head coach of the Rockets for two years. Before that he was at Class 4A Lorena, where he served as Benton’s assistant coach for three seasons. When Benton departed for Melissa in 2016, Crawford stayed another year then took the helm at Robinson.
However, their paths crossed even before that — at Waco Midway High School when Benton was Crawford’s JV coach for a season.
“The greatest thing he’ll bring to our program and to our campus is enthusiasm,” Benton said at the recent Melissa ISD boys basketball camp. “And that enthusiasm isn’t just for basketball — it’s for kids in general. He’s a high-energy individual who cares about helping kids be successful as players and as people. We’re really fortunate to be adding him to our staff.”
Benton added Crawford will be able to jump right in with two feet.
“When you’re adding people to your staff, you kind of expect that you’ll have to teach them how we do some things,” Benton said. “We’ll not to have to do that with him. He already knows how we like to do things.”
Crawford said he’s excited for the season and how competitive he thinks the team will be.
“The past couple of years, I’ve been able to make it up and watch a (Melissa) playoff game,” Crawford said. “They’re fun to watch play. I like the way they play. And, program-wide, I enjoy the way that we hold kids accountable and the way we treat kids. We want them to grow not just in basketball but outside of that as well.”
Crawford will also teach World History at Melissa High School.
“He and I have kept in close contact,” Benton said. “It’s exciting to have him in the mix.”
MISD boys basketball camp for incoming first- through ninth-graders ran June 24-27 at Melissa Middle School. The Cards will play one more season at MMS then transition to the new courts at Melissa High School.