Crum honored for time at Keith

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

On Saturday, family and friends of Keith High School Coach Harry Crum gathered at the Pride of Alabama Elks Lodge in Selma to celebrate Crum’s legacy as a coach and teacher.

The surprise party was considered a success as Crum said he was caught “off guard.”

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“It was incredible,” he said. “I was surprised. I was caught totally off guard. I actually thought I was going to a fraternity event for my son, and I even got my tie to match colors with the fraternity because I thought I was escorting him in. When I walked in I was just blown away.”

The walls were decorated and a dinner table was set on stage with balloons spelling out “Crum” floating behind the chairs in black and gold.

“Some of the organizers were some students, the players and my family,” said Crum. “A lot of the people that were there were supporting me not only as a coach but as a teacher also. A lot of the students I had told me I had made a significant impact on them as a teacher. In this day in age to be able to impact a student is what it is all about. That part was really amazing to me. One of the former students traveled as far as New York City to be here.”

Other former students went on to say that Crum made major differences in their lives on the football field as well.

Crum said several former players contacted him not only that night but later on to send their best and to thank Crum for the impact he made in their life.

Crum also talked about how his own family integrated into the Orrville and Keith community. His children were prominent academically with some graduating as valedictorian and salutatorian from the high school.

“We were fully involved in the Keith community,” said Crum. “That was all they ever knew. We moved down into the community, and just became part of it.

“I had co-workers as well that spoke as well, and some of them I taught are now teachers at Keith,” said Crum. “It was an incredible experience. The years I have worked down there it was great working with the people of the community especially the children.”

Keith’s all-time winningest head football coach was voted out of his position in June 2018 after a Dallas County School Board vote.

Crum had been the head coach for 17 seasons and made nine playoff appearances in the past 10 seasons. 

Prior to the vote, the school board had access to Dallas County School System Superintendent Hattie Shelton’s recommendation and Keith principal Tommy Tisdale’s letter in support of retaining Crum as head of the football program.

“My recommendation was for [Crum] to return as the head coach for the football team based on the recommendation of the principal,” Shelton said in June 2018. “I made the recommendation that the principal and I thought should have been made.”

Despite the support of the principal and the recommendation of the superintendent, only former board member Carolyn Bates voted “yes” to keep Crum.