Crowley's Ridge College bringing back women's basketball program

Paragould, AR (Paragould Daily-Press) - It has been six years since Crowley's Ridge College fielded a women's basketball team, but there is a buzz in the air for next year.

CRC Athletic Director Paul McFadden announced that women's basketball is returning for the 2011-12 season at CRC.

"It was a sad day when our ladies program was discontinued, but we are excited to be bringing it back this fall," he said. "Now that we are a four-year college and can keep student athletes longer than the previous two years we feel that depth will not be the issue it had become.

"Also under our new scholarship program I believe there will be a strong interest [in women's basketball]."

This year, the Pioneer men's hoop program joined the National Christian College Athletic Association as a four-year program.

McFadden also announced that Tye Clothier of West Memphis has been hired as head coach of the Lady Pioneers. He said Clothier will make the transition to Paragould over the summer months for his full-time duties but will be involved in the recruitment process now.

"College athletics is so much about recruiting and we believe we have found the right man for the job. We are excited to have Coach Clothier joining our staff and he is already involved in recruiting student-athletes to fill his team," McFadden said.

Clothier, 35, has been working and coaching at West Memphis Christian for the past 10 years. He has been the head coach of the senior high girls team at WMC for seven seasons with an overall record of 240-129 with the school.

He is currently serving as Dean of Students at WMC. Clothier said he took a break from coaching this year but realized he missed being on the bench about two weeks into basketball season.

"It was very tough going to games and being in the fans section. I could tell this isn't going to work," he said with a laugh. "And so when (Paul McFadden) called me saying they were still interested in bringing me up, my wife and I kind of talked about it, prayed about it and we jumped on the chance. We are very excited about coming up there."

Clothier said switching to CRC and leading the women's program will be a "little different" after working at a small, private school for most of his coaching career, but he said he was looking forward to the challenge.

"It's small here and you just deal with what you get here so I'm looking forward to recruiting and seeing what kind of program I can put together. That part of it I'm real excited about," Clothier said.

Clothier has a bachelor's degree from Harding University and completed his master's in 2005 at Arkansas State. In addition to his women's basketball coaching responsibilities, he will serve as strength and conditioning coach for all CRC intercollegiate sports. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and holds a membership in the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He will also have teaching responsibilities at CRC as well.

"Tye comes from a great family and we look forward to not only him leading our women's basketball program but he and his family will be an asset to our campus." McFadden said.