1993 Jim Crowley Award Winner
1993 Jim Crowley Award Presented to
Traverse City’s Jim Ooley
By Larry Sellers, Crowley Award Chair, Traverse City St. Francis
The Jim Crowley Award is presented in the memory of the late Jim Crowley, a great coach and dedicated family man who was tragically killed at the height of his career in 1980 at the age of 45. Coach Crowley stressed having fun, playing hard and being dedicated to doing your best to the many young men he coached in seventeen seasons at Jackson St. John’s and Lumen Christi High Schools.
Our 1993 recipient is a Chicago native whose family moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin when he was about to enter high School. Following high school, where he was captain of the football team and played basketball, Jim attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout. While at Stout Jim played football for four years, earning all conference in 1950. After spending the 1951 season as a graduate assistant at Stout, Jim entered the service and was stationed in Germany. While there he continued to play football as well as basketball. Upon leaving the service, Jim secured a teaching position in the Traverse City Public Schools. He served as junior varsity coach for four seasons and varsity assistant for ten seasons prior to being named the head coach in 1967. For the next twenty-five years Jim guided the fortunes of the T.C. Trojans, and in that time compiled an outstanding 179-60-4 record; his teams were in the first state sponsored football playoff finals in 1975 and won state titles in 1978, 1985 and 1988. In all, his teams were state playoff qualifiers on eight occasions.
Jim Ooley’s coaching honors include being named MHSFCA Regional Coach of the Year twelve times, MHSFCA Class A Coach of the Year three times, Detroit Free Press Coach of the Year, Associated Press Coach of the Year, induction into the MHSFCA Hall of Fame and the University of Wisconsin-Stout Hall of Fame. Jim was recently honored as the MHSFCA 1992 Coach of the Year and has been nominated for National Coach of the Year.
Jim has served the MHSFCA well. He was an original director in 1972, when the association was formed, served as its president in 1982, was an All Star Coach in 1982 and, as a past president, is a member of the Hall of Fame Committee. Our recipient truly loves the game of football and loves sharing his knowledge with other coaches – veterans or rookies. Wherever he is he’s always ready to take pen in hand and X and 0 with fellow coaches.
Jim’s wife, Nancy, once said to him, “Jim, you love football more than you love me.” Jim replied, “Yes, but I love you more than I love basketball.”
The old green hat is missing from the sideline at Thirlby Field in Traverse City but the legend lives on. Jim Ooley is presented with the 1993 Jim Crowley Award not only because of his work with our association but also for his many contributions to the game of football and to the lives of the countless number of players he has coached during his forty year career. Congratulations Jim.