Crandall selected for IADA Hall of Fame

Former Rochelle Township High School athletic director and head football coach Kevin Crandall will be inducted into the Illinois Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame this year. (Courtesy photo)

Former RTHS athletic director named to Class of 2021

Kevin Crandall coached high school football for over three decades, winning over 200 games during that period and cementing his legacy as one of the most accomplished coaches in the state, earning inductions into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2012) and the Rochelle Township High School Hall of Fame (2017). Crandall led RTHS to 18 postseason appearances and won 160 games wearing the Hub purple and white colors.

While Crandall’s football achievements are well documented, his work as an athletic director at RTHS for 24 years shouldn’t be overlooked. Before his retirement in 2018, Crandall received Athletic Director of the Year honors from the Illinois Athletic Directors Association. Nearly three years later, Crandall will be inducted into the IADA Hall of Fame in the Class of 2021.

“It’s always humbling,” Crandall said. “Everything in my career has been a team effort and I had two wonderful secretaries in Debbie O’Brien and Ronda Poliska who allowed me to be more involved in the athletic directors association and the coaches association. We had a lot of quality coaches and we built great facilities so we could host a lot of events. Our administration was always great about letting me travel to stay involved with those organizations.”

Crandall began his tenure as RTHS athletic director in 1994, helping reshape the foundation of RTHS and its athletic department. Under Crandall’s leadership, RTHS implemented the Hub Power strength and conditioning program and oversaw the design and construction of the Douglas A. Creason Athletic Complex. Crandall also played a role in the foundation of the Western Sun Conference and the merger that created the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference.

“We could really see the difference our Hub Power program was making, not only physically for the kids, but because we ran it as a unified program, it really helped our sports build a connection where all the kids were rooting for each other,” Crandall said. “Building the new high school and the new athletic complex really accelerated everything for us. We went from having pretty mediocre facilities to having one of the best facilities in northern Illinois.”

Crandall may have retired as head football coach and athletic director at RTHS over two years ago, but he continues giving back to the sport as executive director of the IHSFCA, where he helps curate instructional programs for high school football coaches and sponsor Academic All-State awards for student-athletes. Crandall, who was honored with the 2020 Ray Eliot Award for his sportsmanship and service, will receive his IADA Hall of Fame induction later this year.

“I have a lot to reflect on,” Crandall said. “I still attend the athletic directors conference every year and I’m on the vendor committee for that. The football coaches association keeps me busy and involved and it gives me a leadership role which I enjoy. I’ve been enjoying time with my wife and kids and we travel quite a bit. I’ve been playing a little more golf than I used to.”

Crandall attended Tremont High School and Millikin University, where he played football and earned his bachelor’s degree before obtaining his master’s degree in athletic administration from Eastern Illinois University. Crandall, who was inducted into the Millikin University Hall of Fame in 2016, said one of his fondest memories as athletic director of the Hubs came in 2009, when RTHS hosted the IHSA 3A Boys Basketball Sectional Championship against Oswego.

“It was the first time our big gym at the new high school was full,” Crandall said. “Both student sections were full and it was almost a capacity crowd. There was electricity in the air and when I looked around I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”