Crowder’s arrest shocks community

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 2004

For the past two decades, Ken Crowder mentored thousands of local children through his coaching of youth football, basketball and baseball.

Assisting little leagues and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Crowder worked with several generations of kids, including helping the NSA junior varsity football team to its second TCIS (Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools) title in three years last fall. A former mail carrier and substitute teacher, Crowder, a married father of two, also worked as an Elvis impersonator at several benefits throughout the Hampton Roads area, singing with a band to raise money for a number of causes.

That’s what makes his recent arrest such a shock for the Suffolk community. On Tuesday night, Crowder was arrested by Virginia Beach police for allegedly soliciting sexual activity from a 13-year-old boy over the Internet.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;It’s difficult to take, and I’m sure it’s been hard for his family and all the kids on the team,&uot; said Andrew Giermak, Crowder’s assistant coach on the NSA seventh and eighth-grade boys basketball teams. &uot;We’re carrying on the best we can; nothing’s going to change as far as our practices, though.&uot;

One of the multitudes of young Suffolkians to learn from Crowder on the NSA fields, Matt Spencer played junior varsity football during his first few upper school years.

&uot;I knew him for four or five years, and I never saw anything in the locker room or anything like that,&uot; Spencer said Wednesday after learning of his former coach’s arrest. &uot;I was surprised to hear it, because I got along with him pretty well.&uot;

Jack Cooper watched his son play ball for Crowder’s teams over the past few years.

&uot;The only thing I can say is that Jeff played baseball and football for (Crowder) for years, and he’s always been a great coach,&uot; Cooper said. &uot;He always treated Jeff well. He would drive the bus for the teams.

&uot;I’m sure everyone at NSA is shocked. He’s innocent until proven guilty.&uot;