S.J. Basketball: Kevin Crawford hired at Eastern

By Phil Anastasia

In a major move, Kevin Crawford has been hired as the boys' basketball coach at Eastern.

Crawford's hiring as basketball coach and guidance counselor was approved Wednesday night by the Eastern board of education, Eastern AD Phil Smart has confirmed.

"Pitman was a fantastic place," Crawford said Wednesday night. "We had a lot of success there and with success sometimes opportunity knocks and you have to listen when that happens.

"Eastern is a fantastic school district. It's one of the best schools in South Jersey. I'm humbled by this opportunity and excited to get started."

Crawford replaces Joe Murphy, who resigned after last season for personal reasons. Under Murphy, Eastern was a perennial Top 10 team over the last several seasons and won two Olympic Conference American Division titles in the last four years.

Crawford, a former star player under his father Jim at Camden Catholic, was highly successful in six seasons at Pitman. His teams were 142-36 and won five Tri-County division titles, two South Jersey titles and a state title.

His team last season won the Group 1 state title and his 2011 team won the South Jersey Group 1 title.

Coaching in the Olympic Conference, Kevin Crawford is likely to match up every season against his younger brother Matt, who has replaced their father as the head coach at Camden Catholic.

He also is going from a small-town Group 1 program to a sprawling district with a Group 4 school with lots of athletes in the building and substantial feeder systems.

"The facilities are awesome, the feeder program is awesome, the leadership in the school district is awesome," Crawford said of Eastern.

Crawford's departure adds to the massive change at Pitman. In addition to graduating senior stars Darnell Foreman (Penn) and Eric Stafford (Lafayette) and several other regulars from last year's state title team, the Panthers also will lose rising senior Tim Delaney, a Villanova recruit who plans to attend Blair Academy in north Jersey for his senior year.

"Pitman was great to me and my family," Crawford said.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

-- Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter

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