By accident, Allegheny Head Baseball Coach Brandon Crum entered the full-time world of coaching. Now, there’s no other place he could see himself.
It may come as a surprise for those who know the Saegertown native, but becoming a college baseball coach was not always the plan. But, when the Allegheny Gators’ full-time position for assistant baseball coach opened prior to the 2012 season, Crum couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Prior to this, the Gannon University graduate was using his finance degree to sell insurance. Additionally, he spent three years at Conneaut Area School District as the director of athletics and facilities, while working as a volunteer assistant coach for Allegheny. Sometimes in life, people sense their purpose is bigger than what they’re doing. Selling insurance is a noble career, but Crum’s calling is helping young men better their lives both in and out of baseball.
Assisting at Allegheny as a volunteer was not the first time he started coaching, however. He got his start as a 20 year old, fresh out of American Legion eligibility as an assistant coach for French Creek Valley, one of the continued top powers in Pennsylvania American Legion baseball. Through this experience, Crum coached many talented ball players who have now adjusted to their next chapters as businessmen, engineers, teachers and coaches of their own. Overall, he won eight league titles in 10 years as head coach.
For a decade, Crum coached Legion ball while spending his early springs coaching at the college level. A two-year stint as the volunteer assistant for the Allegheny Gators was followed by a four year tenure as the full-time assistant. However, heading into the 2016-17 school year, Crum became aware of an opportunity to become a head coach at a nearby school. The Mercyhurst North East Saints hired Crum, a wise choice that was evident with how the team played down the stretch of his lone season with the program.
With a slow start to the 2017 season, Crum was unsure what it would take to turn the team around. However, he decided that the team did not need any drastic changes, but just to gain some confidence. This proved to be the right call as the Crum-led Saints qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III playoffs and finished the year with their first regional title since 2014. Crum was named the Coach of the Year for the region, but his tenure would not last long after the opportunity to become the head man at Allegheny College became a reality.
To live in his home county and be the head coach of the Gators does not just mean having knowledge and connections in the area, but it means his family and many friends are close by to support the program and see his children Griffin and Zoe grow up. Both his parents and in-laws live just minutes from him, a luxury the Crums are fortunate to have.
For Griffin, he’s also fortunate to have a bright baseball mind like his father to guide him on how to play the game the right way. As if managing his own program was not enough, he’s recently started coaching his son’s youth teams to help these young players learn the fundamentals of the game and how to become successful young people in whatever their passions become in life.
Each coaching position has had its perks, but teaching little kids the game is an opportunity Crum does not take lightly. Like so many that coached him in his youth, Crum is donating his time and asks little in return except that his players play the game hard and have fun while doing so.
These lessons were instilled in him at a young age during his own playing career and these lessons certainly did not fail him. Crum became the first 1,000-yard passer in a single season at Saegertown on the gridiron, while also being selected as a two-time Meadville Tribune Dream Team honoree at quarterback. In baseball, he was a three-time all-conference performer and a two-time Meadville Tribune Dream Team honoree as the starting catcher. Crum was also the Saegertown High Athlete of the Year as a senior. During his high school career, Crum accumulated over 100 career hits, helped the Panthers win the 2004 District 10 title and led the program to the Elite Eight in the state tournament in his senior season.
After that, he accepted a scholarship offer to play catcher at nearby Gannon University. It was a rough first season in 2005 as not only did he accept a redshirt, but he saw the Knights struggle. Admittedly, he almost decided to transfer, but decided to see it through and see how he would fare when he got a chance to take the field. By the end of his career, he became an All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference performer and helped establish a culture of winning baseball for the Golden Knights.
No matter where Crum has been in western Pennsylvania, he’s found a way to be a winner. As a Panther, Golden Knight, Saint or Gator, he’s found a way to help both his team and players win in the game of baseball, but more importantly, the game of life.
Working in sports is not always as glamorous as it may seem, but there’s no debate Brandon Crum is exactly where he is supposed to be.