A gathering of family and friends: Ray Crawford Jr. signing last night at J. Butler’s on HP Road

Posted by Andy Durham on November 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm under College, High School | 8 Comments to Read

They had the baseball signing for Ray Crawford Jr. last night at J. Butler’s on High Point Road and it was truly a gathering of family and friends.

Ray has signed/committed to play baseball at UNCG for Coach Mike Gaski and RC Jr. still has one season remaining at Dudley with Coach Larry Farrer. Ray plays third base, but who knows, he could end up in the outfield for the UNCG Spartans. He has one of the strongest arms you will ever see and his offense is highlighted by his superior bat-speed and bat-strength.

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(Click any picture to see the Full Set – provided by Beverly Neal)

So much for the baseball talk, last night was about the fact that Ray Jr. and his family have made a major impact in the community, as typified by the large support group that showed up last night in honor of Ray Crawford Jr.

The support group was very vocal and they had nothing but good and positive things to say about Ray, as all of those in attendance looked together at his future at UNCG.

Dudley Panther baseball coach Larry Farrer opened the signing and his remarks spoke of Ray’s development as a player and the positive impact that he can have on the future of the Dudley baseball program.

Coach Farrer drove home the key points that Little Ray,(as most of the followers of the family know Ray Crawford Jr.) can give current and future Dudley baseball players the chance to be seen and noticed, since Little Ray has opened the door to let many others on the outside get to know more about the Dudley Panther baseball program and to let many know, the Dudley does have a baseball program, that they have re-built at times, literally from the ground up……

The coach and others pounded home the Panther point, that this is about opportunity and now there are some, for the kids in the Dudley baseball community and Ray Jr. is one of those key people/players that helped make those opportunities possible…..

Ray’s father, Ray Sr. spoke as did his mom Anne, and they both talked about how proud they are of their son and tried to relate the fact that all of this never would have happened without a lot of hard work and a lot of travel to get to where they are and to where they need to be today…

You have to travel and go find the opportunities, where the opposition is going to give you a challenge, and make you a better player and a much better person through the process.

Ray’s parents said they have his back as he moves forward and many other people told him the same and Ray Jr.’s grandparents said they will be looking over his shoulder while the other members of his support group, watch his back.

Several teammates spoke and congratulated Ray Jr. as the floor was open to comments and several friends of the family also spoke and they too, congratulated Ray Ray and told him that the hard work has only just begun. Among those to speak were Mr. Moore(Alex Moore’s dad), Mr. Shabazz(Jabril Shabazz’s dad), the president of the Dudley Booster Club and many others.

One of the area’s favorite umpires and a key Guilford County Schools System employee, Big John Mann, spoke and he brought home some very important remarks:
“On the field and off the field, be careful and be humble. Respect your family and your teammates. You’ve been given an opportunity, use it wisely. Young kids will be looking up to you and they and many others will be watching, when you don’t even realize that they are looking on.”

Mr. Tavis Neal, local coach and close friend of the family spoke last and he said they all have come a long way:
If you need help we have been, and will always be there for you. Keep your grades up so you can stay on the team. Do the right thing and remember, Right or Wrong, if you need help we have been and we will always be there for you. You may be on your way to becoming a Spartan, but we have always been Aggies and we will be, Aggies For Life”….

(The entire group of Mr. Neal, Mr. Ray Crawford, Ray Jr., Tevin Neal and many other kids from Dudley and other communities all started out on an AGGIE youth team many years ago. The team was not necessarily supported by N.C. A&T, but they used the Aggie name and it has been with them ever since.)
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Ray Crawford Jr. has a huge support system and they all do, have his back and they will be there for him no matter the circumstances.

FOX8 TV was there last night, as was Tom Keller from the News and Record and many others from in around the Dudley baseball community. Tony and Cal Sutphin were there from over in the Southwest Guilford baseball community and Greensboro Batting Center business and team leader, Alan Ashkinazy, could not be there last night due to a recent hip replacement surgery…..

A good night for a Gathering of Family and Friends to support Ray Crawford Jr. last night at J. Butler’s on High Point Road……

*****We will have pictures to follow.*****


  • 77 Hornet said,

    Andy,
    I saw on the GCS website that Dudley has an opening for head baseball coach. If Larry Farrer isn’t coming back, what about Ray SR?

  • Andy said,

    I think it is one of those deals where Larry does not teach at Dudley, but he is a teacher, I believe in the Alamance County School System or at ACC/Alamance Community College…..

    Larry would have to re-apply for the Dudley head job and he would have a chance to get the re-hire if no other candidates in the Guilford County School System stepped up and wanted/applied for the job….

    If a Guilford County Middle School teacher decided they were interested and they applied, even though they wouldn’t have the experience that Coach Farrer has with the Dudley program, the Middle School teacher would have a better shot at the job since they are in the Guilford County System.

    It is not about the job requirements any more, first priorites are that you be an employee of the Guilford County School System. That in a sense is what happened at Northern in baseball.

    The Northern Middle School teacher/coach will be the Northern HS head baseball coach and Coach Smith will be his assistant, since Coach Smith is not employed by the Guilford County School System.

    If I have 15 years experience coaching girl’s basketball at say, Allen Jay High School and I am not employed at AJHS, if one of the other teachers in the GCS decides to go after that job, then I am toast and will no longer be coaching the Jaybirds…..

    I would be out at Allen Jay and the Guilford County Schools System employee would have the job since I don’t teach or work in the system…..

    Allen Jay is a former GCS and it fits nicely for this discussion and I’m not trying to root out somebody else’s job at one of the exsisting schools…

  • Ray Crawford Sr. said,

    Andy just want to say thanks for your support of Ray and the entire Baseball Family.
    I dont think you will ever find a better group of people than the one you saw last night.
    We are committed to our Coach and the the Dudley Baseball Program. We will continue to work hard to put this program on the map just like Football and Basketball.
    Andy thanks again and keep doing what you do for all the kids in this area they are blessed to have you.

  • Just Saying said,

    The scenario you discussed above has happened elsewhere too…..The AD or Principle don’t care about what you have done for the program in the past, or your knowledge, they must follow the rules, sad but true. Anyway, congrats to Ray Crawford Jr…..

  • Wes said,

    Andy is exactly right. You could be Joe Girardi or Joe Torre and could not coach in Guilford County because you are not staff. Instead they would give the job to anyone who applies and meets the employment standards. Guilford County has some outstanding on faculty coaches but some of the schoold need help. Hiring inexperienced coaches just for the sake of hiring a staff member shows how our school system is regressing instead of progressing. I still say they should let the kids choose where they want to go like Forsyth County. I think one of the things most guilford county coaches do not do is to help get their players to the next level. Not to ention any names, their is one coach in guilford county who does not coach high school ball but should, knows how to get his players to the next level. He has credentials to prove it. Congratulations to Ray Crawford for his scholarship. I am sure he will be an asset to UNC-G.

  • coach said,

    Was Gaski not there? par for the course

  • Andy said,

    I wondered about that too. I would have been nice to see a UNCG rep at the signing.

  • KC said,

    Great article on a big time future player. Don’t start bashing Gaski, might not have been informed about the gathering. How many college coaches were present at the other local signings? Alot of times schools and families hold these events to thank themselves and get recognition. There is nothing wrong with it. Sort of helps the school and recruit future stars. When your players sign with major colleges others might want to follow. Families will move, legally I hope.