Gary Crowton, who has served as the head coach at Louisiana Tech and BYU and is considered one of the top offensive minds in all of football, enters his fourth season with LSU in 2010.
In three years at LSU, Crowton’s offense has set numerous school records despite starting each year with a first-time starter at quarterback. In 2010, Jordan Jefferson becomes the first returning starter at quarterback for the Tigers since Crowton’s arrival in 2007.
Nicknamed “The Wizard” by the LSU players, the Tigers have scored at least 30 points in a game 25 times (39 games) and compiled a 29-10 overall mark under Crowton’s direction.
The Tigers averaged over 30 points a game in both 2007 and 2008, which included a school-record 38.6 points a contest in 2007. Only four times in school history LSU has scored over 400 points in a season and two of those have came under Crowton’s watch – 541 in 2007 and 402 in 2008.
Crowton went into the 2008 season with an offense that had three quarterbacks who had combined to play in one college game. By the end of the season, LSU’s offense was among the best in the league as the Tigers, despite starting three different quarterbacks, averaged 30.9 points and 368 yards per game.
Crowton’s first year with the Tigers in 2007 resulted in arguably the best offensive production in school history as LSU set 10 offensive school records on their way to claiming the national title. The offensive school records set under Crowton in 2007 include: points in a season (541), points per game (38.6), touchdowns scored (64), rushing TDs (35), passes attempted (442), passes completed (256), total yards (6,152), total plays (1,054) and first downs (316). LSU also scored at least 40 points a school-record seven times in 2007 as the Tigers posted a 12-2 overall mark.
The 2007 LSU offense produced one of the top rushing and passing seasons in school history as Jacob Hester ran for 1,103 yards and 12 scores, while Flynn threw for 2,407 yards and 21 touchdowns. It marked only the sixth time in school history that LSU’s offense has featured a 1,000-yard rusher and a 2,000-yard passer in the same season.
Four players on the LSU offense were drafted following the 2007 season, with Hester going in the third round to San Diego, wide receiver Early Doucet going in the fourth round to Arizona, Flynn going in the seventh round to Green Bay and tight end Keith Zinger going in the seventh round to Atlanta.
Crowton joined the Tigers after a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Oregon, where he overhauled the Ducks offense into one of the best in the nation. In 2006, Oregon ranked No. 9 in the nation in total offense, averaging 422.8 yards per game, which included 241 through the air and 182 on the ground. Oregon led the Pac-10 in both total offense and rushing.
In his first year with Oregon in 2005, Crowton produced an offense that tallied the second-highest totals in school history in passing yards (304.5 per game) and points (34.5 per game). The Ducks ranked No. 8 in the nation in passing, No. 12 in scoring and No. 18 in total offense on their way to posting a 10-2 overall mark and reaching the Holiday Bowl.
Crowton joined the Oregon staff after a four-year stint as head coach at Brigham Young from 2001-2004. During his four seasons at his alma mater, Crowton guided the Cougars to a 26-23 record to run his head coaching career mark to 47-36 in seven years. Crowton’s best year with BYU came in 2001 when he led the Cougars to a 12-2 overall mark, capped with an appearance in the Liberty Bowl. Crowton’s BYU offense scored 40 or more points 10 times that year, including 70 points in a win over Tulane and 44 in a victory over California.
BYU led the nation in total offense (542.9 per game) and scoring (46.8 per game) in 2001 as the Cougars captured the Mountain West Conference title. Crowton was named the MWC Coach of the Year for his efforts in his first season at BYU.
Other highlights for Crowton during his stay at BYU include a 44-16 win over California and a 41-38 victory over Mississippi State in 2001, and a 20-17 win over Notre Dame to open the 2004 campaign.
Prior to taking the head coaching job at BYU, Crowton served as the offensive coordinator for two years with the Chicago Bears. In his first year with the Bears in 1999, Crowton’s offense ranked No. 3 in the NFL in passing with an average of 258.5 yards per game. That year, the Bears established a franchise record with 4,136 passing yards behind a trio of quarterbacks.
Crowton joined the Bears after a four-year stretch at Louisiana Tech, three of which were as head coach of the Bulldogs. Crowton served as head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1996-98, leading the Bulldogs to an overall mark of 21-13, which included a 9-2 record in 1997. In three years at Louisiana Tech, Crowton’s teams scored at least 35 points 16 times. He also posted some of the biggest wins in school history – beating Mississippi State, 38-23, in 1995; and beating California, 41-34, and Alabama, 26-20, in 1996.
Crowton’s 1998 Louisiana Tech team proved to be one of the most potent offenses in the nation that year as the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the nation in passing yards with a 432.1 average behind All-American quarterback Tim Rattay. Tech finished the year ranked No. 2 in the nation in total offense, averaging 542 yards per game.
The 1998 Bulldog offense also featured future first round draft pick in wide receiver Troy Edwards. Rattay and Edwards teamed up for what was one of the most explosive offensive displays against a nationally-ranked team to open the 1998 season. In that game, Rattay threw for 590 yards, while Edwards caught 21 passes for an NCAA record 405 yards against fourth-ranked Nebraska.
In 1997, a year that saw Crowton lead the Bulldogs to wins over California and Alabama, Louisiana Tech ranked No. 3 in the nation in passing (360.5 per game) and total offense (496.0 per game).
Crowton began his 24-year coaching career as a student assistant under LaVell Edwards in 1982 at BYU, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1983. He proceeded to serve as secondary coach at Snow (Utah) Junior College in 1983 before becoming offensive coordinator at the school for the next three seasons.
He then served as passing game coordinator at Western Illinois for one year (1987), followed by offensive coordinator at New Hampshire (1988-90), quarterbacks coach at Boston College (1991-93), co-offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech (1994), and offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech (1995). Crowton was elevated to head coach at Louisiana Tech the following year.
Among the standouts he has tutored include BYU running back Luke Staley, who was the recipient of the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back and led the nation in scoring in 2001; Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech’s 1998 Biletnikoff Award honoree as the top collegiate receiver in the country; Louisiana Tech quarterback Tim Rattay, who finished 10th in balloting for the Heisman Trophy in 1999; and Boston College quarterback Glenn Foley, who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1993.
Crowton has coached seven quarterbacks who have gone on to be selected in the NFL Draft.
The former all-league quarterback at Orem High School earned All-America acclaim at Snow Junior College before completing his football career as a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back at Colorado State in 1978. He then ran track for one year at Idaho State before earning his degree at BYU.
Crowton and his wife Maren have four daughters – Tara, Jenessa, Mikauli and Toriana – and three sons – Dane, Quinn, and Macloud. Crowton was born on June 14, 1957, in Provo, Utah.
The Crowton File
Year at LSU: Third (appointed Jan. 17, 2007)
Birthdate: June 14, 1957, at Provo, Utah
Children: Dane (22), Tara (20), Jenessa (18), Quinn (15), Mikauli (13), Toriana (9), Macloud (7)
High School: Orem (Utah) High School
College: BYU, ‘83
1976-77 Snow College (quarterback)
1978 Colorado State (quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back)
1982 BYU (student assistant)
1983-86 Snow Junior College (secondary, 1983; offensive coordinator, 1984-86)
1987 Western Illinois (passing game coordinator)
1988-90 New Hampshire (offensive coordinator)
1991-93 Boston College (quarterbacks)
1994 Georgia Tech (co-offensive coordinator)
1995-98 Louisiana Tech (offensive coordinator, 1995; head coach, 1996-98)
1999-2000 Chicago Bears (offensive coordinator)
2001-04 BYU (head coach)
2005-06 Oregon (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2007 LSU (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
As a coach
1982 Holiday Bowl (BYU lost to Ohio State, 41-17)
1992 Hall of Fame Bowl (Boston College lost to Tennessee, 28-23)
1993 Carquest Bowl (Boston College def. Virginia, 31-13)
2001 Liberty Bowl (BYU lost to Louisville, 28-10)
2005 Holiday Bowl (Oregon lost to Oklahoma, 17-14)
2006 Las Vegas Bowl (Oregon lost to BYU, 38-8)
2008 BCS National Championship Game (LSU def. Ohio State, 38-24)
2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl (LSU def. Georgia Tech, 38-3)
2010 Capital One Bowl (Penn State def. LSU, 19-17)