Crawford Being Honored At Saturday's Hoops Game

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Jan. 25, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor Jimmy “Tank” Crawford of Coldwater, Miss., with its Distinguished American Award here Saturday at halftime when the Rebels host Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference basketball game.  Tipoff in C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network.

The Distinguished American Award is presented each year by the Ole Miss Chapter to individuals who have carried the lessons learned on the football field into a life of service to their community and fellow man.

“We are pleased to honor Tank Crawford in recognition of his many dedicated years of service to our country and for his contributions to his community and to Ole Miss football as a former player,” said Frank Crosthwait of Indianola, Miss., president of the Ole Miss Chapter.  “He is most deserving of this recognition.”

Prior to enrolling at Ole Miss, Crawford played his high school football at Memphis Tech, where he was an All-Memphis pick in 1945.

A 5-10, 220-pound guard, Crawford earned four letters at Ole Miss while playing for Coach Harold “Red” Drew in 1946 and the next three years for Coach John Vaught. As one of the team’s top players, he was a two-time All-SEC performer, earning first-team honors from the Associated Press and United Press International in 1948 and from UPI and International News Service in 1949.

As a member of the 1947 Rebel squad, Crawford helped lead Ole Miss to its first SEC championship and a 13-9 victory over TCU in the Jan. 1, 1948 Delta Bowl in Memphis.  The 1947 season was Vaught's first year as head coach at Ole Miss after having served as an assistant coach the year before. Ole Miss finished 9-2 in 1947 and 8-1 in 1948.

Crawford was named to the All-South team by the Chicago Tribune All-Players poll in 1948 and by Colliers and The Southerner in 1949. The Memphis Commercial Appeal also made him an All-Southeastern selection in 1947. He was selected third team All-American by the Chicago Tribune in 1948 and was named the "Best Lineman" on the 1948 Ole Miss team.                     

Following his senior season, Crawford played in four post-season classics -- Senior Bowl, North-South, Blue-Gray and the Chicago All-Star game.  Although selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1950 NFL Draft, he chose not to play professionally.

Crawford, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Ole Miss in 1950, was selected to the 1949-50 Ole Miss student Hall of Fame and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa national honorary leadership fraternity, as well as Beta Theta Pi and the M-Club.  He was inducted into Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.

After earning a master's in education from Ole Miss in 1953, he served two years active duty in the United States Marines and then as a battalion commander during 20 years in the Marine Corps Reserve in Memphis, earning the rank of Lt. Colonel.  While working on his master’s degree at Ole Miss, Crawford served as a B-Team football coach for Vaught during the 1952 season.

A former member of the Jaycees, Rotary International and the Civitan Club, Crawford has been active in Gideons International and served 25 years as a federal parole officer for the U.S. District Courts (Western District of Tennessee).   He is currently a member of the UMAA Foundation, a lifetime member of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association and a member of the M-Club Alumni Chapter.

Crawford is married to the former Louise Babb of Memphis.  They are the parents of six children (four boys, two girls) and have 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  He has served as a Sunday School teacher and Deacon for 50 years.                   

Previous recipients of the Ole Miss Chapter Distinguished American Award include Junie Hovious, Charlie Conerly, J. W. “Wobble” Davidson, Jim Ingram, Ray Poole, Dr. Wayne Terry Lamar, Charlie Flowers, Parker Hall, Kenny Dill, Arnold “Showboat” Boykin, Robert Khayat, Eddie Crawford, Ben Williams, George Hewes, III, Warner Alford, Bobby Ray Franklin, Richard Price, Farley Salmon, Greg Walker, Pep Bennett, Billy Ray Adams, Dr. Louis Guy, Reed Davis, Archie Manning, Deuce McAllister, Jimmy Lear, Curtis Weathers, Preston Carpenter, Bo Bowen and Wesley Walls.

 

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