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Power Take: Bona’s Crowley planted the seed for growth for Big 4 women

By Amy Moritz

The story goes that Jim Crowley wondered if he was on the verge of getting fired. In 2005, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team had suffered its fifth straight losing season. He kept his job and decided to reinvent his approach to coaching and recruiting. He found players who were hungry, who felt a sense of defensive pride and were comfortable using an entire shot clock on offense.

The Bonnies didn’t light up the scoreboard but they did start lighting up the win column. It added up to two NCAA at-large berths, a Sweet 16 appearance and four WNIT berths. All at a time when the postseason for women’s basketball in the Big 4 was nothing but a pipe dream.

That success led him to take the head job at Providence this week. Crowley is leaving Western New York but his impact on the sport in the area is lasting. Bona’s success helped elevate women’s basketball, creating a climate that drove other programs (see: UB) to invest and improve.

At its best, competition isn’t only about beating someone else; it’s about making yourself better and embracing what you do best. That’s Jim Crowley’s legacy.