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Toney steps down from Lady Pack

February 25, 2009
Crawford County girls' basketball coach Eric Toney hinted to Crawford Athletic Director Jerry Hanger early in the season that this could be his last year. Last Monday night, Toney made good on that hint by stepping down after four seasons.

"I think what Eric started thinking about a little bit was putting more family time in," Hanger said. "He was wanting to spend more time with his girls."

After four years at the helm of the Crawford County Lady Pack, Eric Toney last Monday stepped down as head coach. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"When I took this job, I was 51 and I knew after about four years I'd be old enough to retire, and I kind of set a four-year goal that would be probably enough," Toney said. "I'll turn 56 here in a few weeks. The rigors of coaching are pretty tough. The time constraints are quite overwhelming at times.

"It seems like in coaching today at the varsity level, you go from the season to biddy ball into summer camps and summer ball with your high school team," he continued. "We'll play 25 or 30 games in June. We'll have a little slack off for a couple of months in the summer. Then, you've got conditioning; then, you've got the season; then, you've got the whole thing all over again."

Toney had a winning season each year while at the helm of the Lady Pack, posting a record of 64-22, winning 74 percent of his games. His second year, the 2006-07 season, was his best, as his team went 19-2. The three years before Toney became coach, Crawford went 28-35.

"I think, overall, if you take a real hard look at what Eric has done over the last several years, he's done a nice job," Hanger said. "He's very dedicated. He put a lot of his own time in, his own personal time in scouting. He took a lot of his summer and took the girls to camps and played in several leagues. I'm really proud of the effort Eric put in."

"I've had a lot of fun," Toney, who had also been the boys' junior varsity coach for several years before taking the head girls' post, said. "I've had a lot of good kids, and one of the rewards in coaching is some of those kids that I had years ago are now men with families. They come up to me and tell me how much fun they had and how they enjoyed playing for me.

"Rewards like that are the kind that go beyond the wins, and they go beyond anything as far as coaching. That's one of the things that you hope, when you have a team, that they'll remember some things that are happy for them and that their memories of playing were good."

Crawford now has two coaching positions to fill. Besides the girls' varsity basketball vacancy, the school has yet to name a volleyball coach. Hanger said the search for the basketball position will begin inside the school system.

"We have procedures we have to follow with the master contract," Hanger said. "That's in agreement with the Indiana State Teachers Association. We'll have to post the job for 15 days for any in-house educators within the Crawford County School Corp."

"We feel like we've got somebody that's interested that's within the system that will do an excellent job," Hanger said without giving any details. "We've got a prospect. We've just got to post the position for 15 days and see if any others are interested in the position. We will have some applicants for the position."

The volleyball position, however, is close to reaching a critical phase.

"We thought we were going to have a long-time coach in Danielle Trotter in volleyball, and she moved back to Tennessee with her husband on a business venture," Hanger said. "Now, we're stuck without a volleyball coach. We've got spring volleyball getting ready to start for our elementary. We don't have anybody to take that over. We have summer camp coming up. That's a pre-season for fall volleyball. We're in a jam to try to find a volleyball coach."

As for Toney's extra time, he said he'll do some things he hasn't been able to do for a while.

"I'm probably going to teach another year or two," he said. "I enjoy that. I own half of Toney Oil Co., which I've neglected. My brother (Errol) has had to shoulder that responsibility. I've continued to do the bookwork, but other things need attention now down there. I'm happily married. I've got a wife, and my kids are still pretty young. … They need attention.

"I've got property and a condo in Florida that has been gathering dust the last four years. I may have got to go there one time. I get to go one time maybe in the summer. Then, it's kind of rushed. I'm looking at this as having some extra time to do things I need to do and do things I want to do."

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