TACOMA, Wash. -
By Debbie Cafazzo, Staff writer, Tacoma News Tribune
Educator and coach John McCrossin -- who held the Fife School District's top job as superintendent for just more than a year -- died Tuesday following a bout with cancer.
The 58-year-old McCrossin was a longtime administrator in the Fife School District. But he was perhaps best known as a basketball coach. He was formerly head coach at Fife High School, at Sumner High School and at Lincoln High School in Tacoma.
For the past three years, McCrossin had been a volunteer assistant coach for the men's basketball team at the University of Puget Sound.
"I never met a man with more passion or love for the game of basketball than John," said his friend Kevin Ringus, who is a judge in Fife's municipal court. "He was a student of the game."
When it came to coaching, Ringus said, McCrossin believed "there was no winning and losing. It was winning and learning."
Ringus volunteered as an assistant coach at Fife while McCrossin was head coach. He remembers weekly Sunday night gatherings at the McCrossin home, where coaches would gather to prepare for the week's games.
"He was a wonderful mentor and leader," Ringus said.
Assistant Fife Superintendent Kevin Alfano said McCrossin brought a "tireless work ethic and can-do attitude" to his work as superintendent.
"He wore many hats not just for the school district, but for the community," Alfano said. "His love for this community cannot be matched."
McCrossin and his wife Connie, a Lincoln teacher, raised their two sons, Kyle and Kevin, in Fife. The family chose to make Fife their home, even as McCrossin's career took him from Fife to Tacoma and elsewhere in Pierce County.
The son of a military family, McCrossin moved to the Northwest as a young man in the 1970s. He graduated from Lakes High School in Lakewood. He joined the U.S. Navy, then attended Tacoma Community College and Western Washington University where he competed two years as a Viking.
He began his career in education as a teacher in Fife in 1982. After taking coaching positions first in Tacoma and then in Sumner, he became assistant principal at Puyallup High School, returning to Fife as assistant principal at Fife High in 2000. He was principal at Fife High from 2002 to 2007.
He held a series of administrative jobs in the Fife School District before being named superintendent in July 2013, following the departure of 12-year superintendent Steve McCammon.
Fife's two assistant superintendents -- Alfano and Ben Ramirez -- will co-lead the district until the school board has time to act.
The school district is planning a public memorial service in the coming weeks. Details will be announced soon, Alfano said.
Deandre Dickson Named to Bevo Francis Award Watch List
Senior power forward Deandre Dickson is averaging 15.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game
All-Around Week Nets Drechsel GNAC Player of the Week Honors
Drechsel earns second GNAC Player of the Week award this season after averaging 15.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists per game
Vikings Extend Winning Streak With 100-91 Victory at MSUB
Trey Drechsel goes 8-for-11 from the field and 9-for-9 from the free throw line in 26-point performance
Viking Men Win 7th Straight, 69-54 at Simon Fraser
Deandre Dickson records 17-point, 13-rebound double-double to help keep WWU perfect in GNAC play
First-Place Men's Hoops Hits the Road
Vikings take 6-game winning streak to Simon Fraser and MSU Billings
Strong Second Half Lifts Vikings to 77-67 Win over CWU
Trey Drechsel, Daulton Hommes and Deandre Dickson all record double-doubles to keep WWU perfect at 6-0 in GNAC play
Late Layup Lifts Vikings to 67-66 Victory Over NNU
Senior guard Brad Wallace scores game-winning layup with 13.9 seconds remaining in the game
First-Place Vikings Host NNU and CWU in GNAC Play
WWU takes four-game winning streak into key GNAC contests at Carver Gym
WWU Honored as GNAC/Red Lion Team of the Week
Vikings recognized after earning a pair of key GNAC road victories last week
Daulton Hommes Named GNAC Player of the Week
Hommes averaged 23.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game to help lead Vikings to pair of GNAC road victories
Vikings Improve to 4-0 in GNAC With 90-86 Win at SMU
Daulton Hommes lead five players in double-digits with game-high 29 points
Vikings Record Big Road Win at Seattle Pacific 86-80
Trey Drechsel leads all players with 27 points on 8-for-13 shooting
Men's Hoops Returns to Action With Road GNAC Contests
Vikings face I-5 rivals Seattle Pacific (Thursday) and Saint Martin's (Saturday) in key GNAC games
Hommes and Drechsel Named to All-Tournament Team
Hommes and Drechsel both average over 20 points per game in WWU’s 2-0 performance in Hoops in Hawai'i Holiday Classic
Daulton Hommes Named GNAC Player of the Week
Hommes averaged 19.0 points per game in WWU’s three games, including career-high 37 points vs. Harding