Eddie Crouch - 0.5 - 2011
Home city - Smyrna, TN
Classification - 0.5
Jersey - #2
Team(s). Tennessee Quadcrushers, TNT, Lakeshore Demolition
95' Worlds - Gold, 96' Paralympics - Gold, 98' Worlds - Gold, 2000 Paralympics - Gold, 02' Worlds - Silver
Served on USQRA Board (VP), RAC and wheelchair specs committee
Eddie Crouch began playing in 1992 with a Tennessee Quad Crusher team that had two class 1.0 players playing in front of him. Through a vigerous training program that the Quad Crushers employed he soon began to shine in his class but saw limited playing time as a low pointer playing in a high low line up which fielded two low point spots on the floor. He gradually earned more minutes while giving 1.0 Donnie Sweeton or Bart Dodson a rest. Opponents couldn't take advantage with Tennessee short pointing. He also enable them to put another line-up on the floor that helped them utilize their midpoint players.
By the mid 90's his play was getting noticed as he was recruited by other teams to fill in for injured .5's and to play on low point teams that won Competitions in Canada. He would be the first low pointer to win DeFi Sportif titles with two different teams (U.S. Cannibals, and Tampa Generals) He played in one of the sports biggest upsets when Tennessee snapped the Tampa General 93 game win streak in 1994. that would be the first of 6 National championships team he played on. In 1995 he was selected to the first USA National team he tried out for. He played a major role in USA Gold Medal Performance in the IWRF's 1st World Championships in Notwel Switzerland. In the final Canada's ball handler tried to score behind him on his corner. He not only stopped the 2.5 but caused him to lose the ball which set up a shorthanded goal by USA in the final 2 seconds of the half. During the mid 90's he became a fixture on all-tournament teams. In 1996 he made an 8 man roster as the only .5 on USA Paralympic Rugby Team that also won Gold. In 1999, he followed fellow team mates and HOF'ers Cliff Chunn and Wayne Romero by transferring to the Lakeshore Demolition. The trio played an integral role in what would be a rugby Dynasty, winning 5 straight National Championships.
He was clearly the best .5 in the game and was recognized by his numerous best of class awards and National Team Selections. Eddie was a relentless picker who would wear down and annoy the best of players. He knew his way around the key better than any other low pointer. He played his role brilliantly no matter what the line-up was.
He was and still is a great example for teammates and opponents. He adopted an innovative push that the Tennessee low pointers employed where they taped their hands into a fist with their thumb sticking out to assist with stopping and turning. Opposing players and staff would look in awe when they saw him preparing before a game. He would be taping his own hands into a fist while conversing with someone. His independence as .5 was unparallel at that point. He even traveled alone to tournaments in other countries which was unheard of. He set the bar on and off the court. He also worked at his own business which he recently retired from.
Eddie also won a 2nd World championship in 1998 and another Paralympic Gold medal at the 2000 games in Sydney. In his final U.S. national team appearance he added a Silver to his collection of Gold medals by finishing 2nd in the 2002 World Championships.
In 1998 he became the first player to win U.S.Q.R.A.’s inaugural Athlete of the Year Award. He won several other awards including a sure record for All-Tournament Awards.