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Top honors: Boyd’s Crafton named Coach of the Year

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, December 1, 2018
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Love of the Game

LOVE OF THE GAME – Boyd coach Dusty Crafton celebrates with her team after beating Vanderbilt Industrial in the Class 3A semifinal. Crafton was named 1A-4A Coach of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, leading the Lady Jackets to their second consecutive state tournament appearance. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When Boyd coach Dusty Crafton arrived in 2013, the Lady Jackets were still searching for their first district victory.

Winning a postseason match seemed like a far-fetched but attainable dream for Crafton and her new program.

“In your mind, you take it one step at a time. Obviously, my first goal was getting to the playoffs,” Crafton said. “These kids can do that, why can’t they do that? I think the belief it was possible – for kids, that’s huge to them. If you believe in them and they really know you do, I think that makes a huge difference in coaching.”

Five years later, Crafton has turned the Lady Jackets into a perennial powerhouse.

Boyd is 148-28 since 2013 and is fresh off its second consecutive trip to the state tournament. The Lady Jackets have also won four straight district titles and went undefeated in league play this season under Crafton’s guidance.

For her efforts, Crafton was named the Class 1A-4A Coach of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association Wednesday.

“I’m definitely honored I was chosen, because I feel like there are a lot of really deserving coaches,” Crafton said. “But just like our girls getting so many honors themselves, none of those things happens unless you have good players. The players are the reason why this happened. Without them, none of it is possible”

Boyd spent most of the season atop the TGCA 3A poll and was ranked No. 1 for two months leading up to the state tournament. Callisburg ended the Lady Jackets’ bid for their first state title, knocking off Boyd in four sets in the 3A final.

In five seasons as Boyd’s coach, Crafton has won 84.1 percent of her games. Her players lovingly refer to her as ‘Captain Crafton.’

She said she will especially miss her four seniors – Jordyn Todd, Macee Valtr, Larrin Maxwell and Savannah Wilson.

“They are obviously special kids,” Crafton said. “They each brought not only talent, but a special piece to our team I feel very fortunate they have been in my program. As a coach, you aren’t just teaching them, they’re teaching you. They definitely helped me grow as a coach and made me a better person.”

Todd and Valtr were the District 7-3A Co-MVPs, burying a combined 292 kills in league play. Maxwell was a first-team selection as a libero.

Todd and Valtr were also named to the TGCA 3A all-state team.

Looking back on Boyd’s run of success over the past five years, Crafton said the key was earning her players’ trust – and winning their heart.

“If they know you love them and know you care about them, and on top of that, know that you believe in them, you take all those things, put them together, sprinkle some talent in there, you set yourself up for success,” Crafton said. “It’s like anything else. If you’re bought in, you really don’t have the same limits other people do.”

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