St. Pius X Magazine: Rock Up!
AS GREG CRANFILL STOOD INSIDE THE ST. PIUS X WEIGHT ROOM THIS SPRING, REFLECTING ON HIS FIRST YEAR AS THE HEAD COACH OF THE PANTHERS, THE VETERAN COACH KNOWS WHERE THE WORK FOR THE 2021 SEASON WILL BEGIN.
"I told them big rock moves little rock and so we've got to get in [the weight room] and rock up," Cranfill said. "That way we know we're going to be able to go out every Friday night and compete with the best.
"These kids are committed; these kids know what it takes. They know success is in the dirt and they're willing to go get their hands dirty."
Cranfill's first year as the Panthers' head coach was unlike any of his 24 years in the business.
The former Wills Point head coach came over in the spring, amidst a global pandemic and really didn't get to be around his entire team until September.
But after a 4-4 season where they made the playoffs, the foundation of the culture of his program, which is based on the motto FAMILY (Forget About Me I Love You) is set.
And no, it's not all about the wins and losses.
"When you sit back and reflect, you'll think about the games, but you'll think more about the team dinners, Decals with Dad, Muffins with Mom, and those types of moments that last forever," Cranfill said. "Those are the things that when I look back at the season I can determine if we've had a successful season or not. With this group, there's no doubt in my mind that we did."
As the Panthers go into year two under Cranfill, the standards and expectations are set in stone, which Cranfill believes will help them take that next step.
"These guys know what's expected of them right now, what's expected of them in the summer and throughout the next year," he said. "It eliminates the conversations we had to start off with and now it's status quo as we move on."
Even though the seniors are gone, Cranfill hopes the lessons that they passed on to the underclassmen and the next senior class of 2022 will continue to raise the standard.
"We hope that those juniors and sophomores opened their eyes and hearts and saw what true hard work looks like," he said. "And thought that's the standard and I've got to try and up that standard in what we do and try and make it better."
As any coach will tell you, the page turns quick from game-to-game and year-to-year and Cranfill is ready to "Rock Up!" in year two.
"Chapter two has already started and it's a fun time," he said. "Because you have to look back to where you were to know where you want to go."