The St. Louis basketball community lost a wonderful human being last week with the passing of Ed Crenshaw at the age of 78.
“Coach Cren,” as he was known to all of us, was an outstanding player at Sumner High School and Quincy University. He went on to enjoy a successful high school coaching career at St. Dominic and University City High Schools, where he won a total of 677 games.
Crenshaw was a tall, soft-spoken youngster who was one of the stars of the all-black Ill-Mo League during his days at Sumner. He was the Player of the Year in the Ill-Mo League after leading the Bulldogs to the championship in 1952. The Ill-Mo League consistent of all-black schools during the era of segregation. Crenshaw was considered one of the best shooters in Ill-Mo League history.
He went to play collegiately at Quincy College (now Quincy U.) in Illinois, where he was a four-year starter. Crenshaw scored 1,476 points, which is still among the career leaders in school history. He was later inducted into the Quincy U. Hall of Fame.
Ed Crenshaw had a huge impact at St. Dominic and University City during his coaching career that spanned four decades. He led St. Dominic’s program from 1960-74 before moving over to University City, where he coached some great teams for the next 17 years.
At U. City, Crenshaw developed many great players such as Johnny James, Hasan Houston, Barry Curtis, Ronnie Tyler, Redditt Hudson, Chris Peay and so many more.
Coach Cren definitely left his mark at both places, which was clearly evident in recent years when both schools bestowed a most special honor on him. St. Dominic named the floor at their new gymnasium in Crenshaw’s honor (Ed Crenshaw Court) in 2010. On January 20, 2012, University City renamed its gymnasium the Ed Crenshaw Gymnasium at a special ceremony at the school.
You know you have touched many lives along the way when two different schools decide to name their floors and gyms in your honor. They want everyone to know that you were a big part of their history. It goes way beyond wins and losses.
That was the essence of Ed Crenshaw. St. Dominic, then called Assumption High, was an all-white Catholic school in O’Fallon, Mo. University City was a predominantly African-American school. Coach Cren was beloved and respected at both places because he was a man of class and great character.
Above all of his accomplishments as a player and a coach, Ed Crenshaw was a tremendous person and a true gentlemen. He was a kind and decent man who was true role model for many young people.
I felt very honored to have had Coach Cren as a friend. We will all miss him.