Earnest Crumbley, Jr. named head basketball coach at Redlands CC
By Phillip Haywood
ST. PETERSBURG FL — Lakewood High School has produced its fair share of basketball players during the illustrious coaching career of Dan Wright, who produced more wins than any coach in the history of boy’s basketball in Pinellas County. However, he has seen multitudes of players continue to play basketball on a collegiate level. There have been some awfully good players that came through “The house that Wright built” In the 1980’s his best players were Art Gilbert and Rod Kittles who both played collegiately, also the current coach at Lakewood Anthony Lawrence and is brother Pat. The list could go on and on.
Some boast accomplishments, some don’t, for instance Rod Kittles played on a NCJAA Championship team that featured Walter Berry and went on to play at Jacksonville University. On the other hand Wright has had some guys go to some of the big time college programs but they never really thrived.
Enter Earnest Crumbley, Jr, who was coached by Wright and put up some very good numbers as a senior by averaging 17 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds as a point guard. Also he racked up numerous honors including, third team all state, McDonald’s All American nominee. Among other things he made his mark at Lakewood by scoring 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 rebounds to go along with two state semifinal appearances and other district and regional titles. Crumbley just did not stop there; he earned a basketball scholarship to Florida Atlantic University. You see Crumbley was always one of the smallest players on any team that he played on. Get this; he was always one of the clutch shooters on any level that he competed on.
During his freshman year Crumbley appeared in 31 games and started 12 and was only one of two players to average double figures. Crumbley earned his way onto the all freshman Atlantic Sun team. Crumbley continued to thrive as a sophomore averaging 11 points and the last 13 games he averaged 14 points. Also he led the team in three pointers with 63. During a NCAA appearance he racked up 18 points and 9 assists against Alabama, along with 4 treys. One thing about Crumbley was he was always consistent as a scorer, as a junior he led his team by averaging 16 points per game and was seventh in the Atlantic Sun in scoring.
Crumbley ended his career as one of the most celebrated basketball players in the history of FAU. He left a legacy as one the most prolific scorers, setting or tying records such as most points in a single game (39) previously held assist record (505) which was just broken this season by Alex Tucker.
It would seem as if a player with his ability would get a look from the NBA. As a matter of fact Crumbley had a tryout with the Miami Heat and several other NBA teams. Believe it or not Crumbley spent some time playing internationally in Mexico.
His playing days soon came to a close and he decided that he wanted to coach. He landed a job as an assistant coach at Admiral Farragut Academy. Then he went back to his alma mater FAU as a coach and also a brief stint at the University of North Florida. Crumbley went on to Redlands Community College to serve as an assistant coach for about three years.
You see, he has the drive and the will to succeed and that has seemed to carry over into the coaching ranks as Crumbley was recently named the head coach of the Redlands Community College Men’s Basketball Team. Coaching is in his blood, his father Earnest Crumbley Sr is the current men’s head basketball coach at St. Pete College. Earnest Sr was a great athlete in his own right at Boca Ciega. There is an old saying, “Apples don’t fall far from the tree.” Crumbley Jr is following in his father’s footsteps. He has great knowledge of the game and he is young and energetic. Being able to understand today’s players is also a great trait that he possesses which will make him a valuable asset at Redlands?
To top it off, there have been some very good players to leave Lakewood High, but how many have actually played major roles in their collegiate basketball programs? Recently I talked to Dan Wright and this is what he had to say, “Earnest probably was the best basketball player to come out of Lakewood in the last 15 or 20 years.” For a guy to be so small Earnest Crumbley Jr performed beyond expectations and was known as a true leader and he also will be remembered as one of the greatest scorers in history at FAU.