Teachers, students recall laughs, love, life lessons of Coach Guy Crenshaw

Team Crenshaw t-shirts drape chairs on the sideline of the Jan. 4, 2013 basketball game. Coach Jason Underwood plans to leave a chair empty to honor Guy Crenshaw this season.

A solemn air lingered in the commons, tangible beneath the Monday morning chatter of students. Light blue shirts, once worn in a season of support, were now worn in a season of mourning, as evidence of their respect and loving remembrance of Coach Guy Crenshaw.

Crenshaw, head boys basketball coach and English teacher, died Sunday evening, Oct. 28 at age 50. The funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. Diagnosed two years ago with prostate cancer, he continued teaching and coaching at the high school until his final weeks. Basketball coach Jason Underwood said Crenshaw was not only his boss but also was his best friend and mentor.

“We lost a truly great man, husband and father,” Underwood said. “We had so many great times, from traveling to out-of-town tournaments to going to the TABC basketball clinic in San Antonio.”

Head girls basketball coach Joe Lombard said Crenshaw was not only a great coach, but also a great person.

“No question about it, he loved basketball and he loved being in the gym,” Lombard said. “But more importantly, Coach Crenshaw loved people and especially his family.  I saw his faith grow as he truly was a man of God. Guy Crenshaw will be missed, but his legacy remains through his team and his children.”

In his five years at Canyon High, Crenshaw also taught several language arts classes which were sometimes in junior English teacher Diana Riha’s classroom.

He made us smile, and he made us laugh.

— English teacher Diana Riha

“The ‘ladies’ in the English department welcomed Guy with open arms,” Riha said. “Guy was fun. He made us smile, and he made us laugh. We loved to watch as he coached his team on the basketball court because his antics both on and off the court were beyond entertaining.”

Riha said she will never forget his face and his laugh.

“My fondest memories of Coach Crenshaw are attached to his humor, pranks and laughter,” Riha said. “Once after a Crenshaw prank, Mrs. Crosswhite was tempted to get even. She and her students stole his bicycle and decorated it with everything pink they could find. Guy was not deterred by the pink and rode his bike around the pep rally to the laughter of the student body.”

Riha said Crenshaw and the other English teachers teased each other constantly.

“He liked to call me the ‘meanest woman who ever lived,’” Riha said. “I’ll take that because he was the nicest ‘Guy’ I have ever known.”

Crenshaw was known not only for his humor, but also for making people feel at ease. Agriculture teacher Jeff Klose said Crenshaw was one of the first people to welcome him to Canyon High School.

“I felt a connection with him,” Klose said. “Not just because of the sport we both loved so dearly, but because we both shared the same passion for watching young people learn to be successful in life through the wins and losses found through competition. Coach Crenshaw was so much more than a basketball coach. He was a mentor to his students and fellow teachers, an amazing father and a loving husband. And he was a fighter.”

Senior and student body president Preston Noel also noted Crenshaw’s fighting spirit.

“He wanted people to know that he was still going to fight and not give up,” Noel said. “He never gave up. He wasn’t someone who wanted people to feel sorry for him.”

In seventh grade, Noel met Crenshaw while playing basketball because he was at the junior high school every day during the off season.

He didn’t live for himself. He lived for others.

— Senior Preston Noel

“Coach Crenshaw was a mentor and my favorite coach,” Noel said. “He set a great example of how someone should live their life selflessly. He didn’t live for himself. He lived for others.”

Noel said Crenshaw would stop people in the halls to ask how their day was going.

“He would go out of his way to say hi to people,” Noel said. “I would see him walking through the halls, and he would stop and talk to people he didn’t even know.”

Riha also noticed Crenshaw’s genuine care for others.

“Guy was real,” Riha said. “He did what was right for the situation. He was a great teacher and a fantastic coach. But, he was also a wonderful man who loved his family, his students, his athletes and his friends.”

As one of those friends, Underwood said the basketball team will remember Crenshaw while playing on the court.

“I hope that we, as the Canyon Eagle Basketball family, can honor him on the court,” Underwood said. “We will do anything to try and honor Coach through our actions, practice effort and our play.”

Underwood said he will have a visual reminder of Crenshaw on the basketball court throughout the season.

“The first chair is going to be empty,” Underwood said. “He’s the boss. We’re going to show it all year long.”


To learn more about the journey shared by the Crenshaw family and Canyon High School, read Community raises $20,472 for coach’s cancer battle and Coach’s battle with cancer inspires boys to go bald