| Cory Gray at the 2017 state championship game. |
By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications
Cory Gray suffered a stroke in the summer of 2016 and went through months of struggle and rehab to get back to the softball field. He returned to coach the Crusaders softball team to the Class 2A state title in June 2017.
Click here to read: Crusaders are the state champions
On April 29, Gray was honored as the Coach of the Year at the IndyStar Sports Awards. Gray took the stage at Clowes Hall on the Butler University campus to accept the award and held the audience in rapt attention with his humor and humility. The Star’s headline said it all: “One story of survival through softball steals the show.”
With nine members of his current team in the front row along with super fan Diane Beasley, Class of 1958, the coach began haltingly: “My speech is not very good, so bear with me. I want to say thank you for nominating me. I have no idea how this works or how I even won.”
“First, let me tell you about the girls,” continued Coach Gray, who then recited the girls’ records and triumphs.
“It was just a magical time with these kids,” he said. “There was so much talent (that) there wasn’t a whole lot of coaching that needed to be done.
“It was more managing the drama of 15-18 year old girls,” he said, getting a big laugh from the crowd.
“I was sick for the whole preseason so I saw it as my job to work hard to get back to the girls and I was able to coach third base all year and call pitches, so I was proud of that,” he said.
Gray gave credit to assistants Pat Miles, Brad Streeval, and Mike Troutman.
“And also all the credit goes to the girls,” he said. Diane Beasley said the speeches were limited to 15 seconds, but Gray’s must have taken five minutes.
“No one was complaining, though, because had the audience in the palm of his hand,” she said. “He credited his co-coaches (not assistant coaches) and the talent of the girls for last year's State Championship. He was just there to deal with the drama of teenage girls. The crowd went wild.”
Posted on Mon, May 7, 2018
by Beth Murphy filed under