University of South Alabama head men’s basketball coach Richie Riley announced Tuesday that Rodney Crawford has been hired as assistant coach.
Crawford — who has gained experience as both a head and assistant coach over the past 15 years — joins the program after serving as director of player personnel at Cincinnati the last two seasons.
“Over the years, I’ve watched the success that Rock has had and developed a true appreciation for the way he coaches the game,” Riley said. “What I respect the most is that he’s an everyday coach who puts all of his focus on helping our team improve. He’s one of the best defensive minds in the country, and has proven that in his stops at Eastern Kentucky, Fordham, and Cincinnati. Energy and passion are incredibly important to me and he checks those boxes at the highest level.
“I’m pumped to welcome Rock and his beautiful family to Mobile.”
In his first season with the Bearcats, he was part of a staff that helped UC record a 20-10 overall mark while going 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference, with the team sharing the league’s regular season championship to earn the top seed in the postseason tournament that was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Last year, his efforts helped the Bearcats advance to the title game of the AAC Tournament on the way to a 12-11 finish.
Crawford was on the staff at Fordham for four years prior to moving to Cincinnati, including serving as associate head coach his last three seasons at the school. In his first season with the Rams, he helped the school make its first postseason appearance since 1992 after earning an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, with the program finishing among the national leaders in both steals and turnovers forced each of his first two years on the bench.
He was an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky for three seasons from 2013-15, during which time the team won 70 games — the most during any three-year period in program history — highlighted by a school-record 25 victories his first year on the staff. The Colonels recorded 24 victories and won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament the following season while ranking among the best in the country in steals and turnover margin each of his three years with the program.
Crawford began his coaching career in 2004-05 as head coach at Harmony (Ohio) Community School, where he coached more than 20 future NCAA Division I players in a four-year span. After serving as head coach at Mountain State (W.Va.) during the 2009-10 campaign, he spent two years as an assistant at Duquesne where in his first season on the staff he helped the Dukes record a school-record-tying 10 victories in Atlantic 10 Conference play on the way to a 19-13 overall record and a first-round win in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament.
A two-year letterwinner at Cincinnati, Crawford played on teams that went a combined 56-14 while advancing to the NCAA Tournament each season; that included helping the Bearcats go 31-4 while reaching as high as fifth in the Associated Press poll when he was a senior. A 2002 graduate of Cincinnati, Crawford and his wife Tracy have two daughters, Jocelyn and Jordyn, and a son, Rodney, Jr.
He joins a staff that has helped the Jaguars post an overall record of .500 or better each of the last three years under Riley’s guidance after going 17-11 in 2020-21.