GONZALES — After five seasons as head football coach and athletic director for the Gonzales Apaches, Kodi Crane officially gave his resignation Monday to he accept a job with the same title at Caddo Mills ISD, which he’s expected to start on Feb. 11.
“It is with respect and mixed feelings that we will say goodbye to Coach Kodi Crane,” said Dr. Kim Strozier, superintendent of Gonzales ISD. “This move is one that will bring his extended family closer and on that note, we are so happy for the Crane family. We will truly miss him, Leslie and the boys as they continue their journey.”
The Gonzales ISD school board met Monday, to accept Crane’s resignation, and the district is currently in the process of forming a hiring committee for the next athletic director and/or head football coach.
According to Crane, the current superintendent at Caddo Mills ISD was a principal during the time he coached at Groesbeck.
“That job came open and he called and asked,” Crane told the Inquirer. “We went up there and looked at it, it’s a lot closer to my wife’s family, it’s closer to my family, not a ton, but hour, hour and a half. So, closer to family, and we decided after we went up there and looked around and interviewed it was great opportunity, not only now but in the future as well.”
The Apaches athletic program underwent many changes during his tenure. With the addition of boys’ and girls’ soccer, installation of a new track and revamping the weight room with new equipment, the Gonzales Apaches saw many upgrades since Crane’s hiring in 2014.
“I hope we’re leaving an impression that we love kids and we have taken care of kids to the best of our ability,” Crane said. “Yes, we have developed a soccer team, we have got new weight room equipment and put down a track and all of that is great, but I hope that the legacy is that this coaching staff cared about kids and took care of kids and put kids first in every decision that we’ve made since we’ve been here.”
“Coach Kodi Crane made a hugely positive impact for our Apache Athletes and the district as a whole,” Strozier said. “Coach came to Gonzales ISD with a passion for leading athletes with a focus on developing leaders for life. The leadership and implementation of a program supporting students holistically took hold immediately and made our program stronger. The attention given to the importance of family and dedication to being a positive role model in all walks of life is commendable. We have appreciated the focus on setting goals for achievement not only athletically but academically as a strength. Additionally, providing for the alignment of athletics starting at the sixth-grade level has also contributed to greater strengths in athletic preparation.
“We will certainly miss Coach Crane and wish him the best as he moves on to his new position.”
Crane leaves Gonzales with 27-31 overall record, making it to the playoffs all five seasons and the area round of playoffs three times.
Highlight moments for the athletic director include beating Boerne this season to force a tie up top district, winning two overtime games, going 0-5 and turning it around and beating Pleasanton his first season and also knocking off Smithville in a win-and-your-in district finale.
However, Crane also pointed out the importance of several other moments outside of football.
“Taking our soccer team that first year throughout that playoff run and going down to the valley, great moment, great time to be an Apache,” he began to list. “Going with our girls cross country team to the state cross country championships, seeing our baseball team make the playoffs last year. All of our sports, I felt a time over the five years that this was a great moment but more than that, on a personal level, my son was baptized, put his faith in the lord Jesus Christ right over here in Gonzales. My personal life there’s been some great memories here as well. Always hearing about the Come and Take It Festival because that time of the year I’ve never seen it or been here but then get to ride in the parade and figure out they block the whole downtown off and you can’t drive. There’s been great moments not only athletically but in my personal life.”
When asked what kind of advice he would give to the next athletic director, Crane said getting to know all of Gonzales is key.
“Come in and get to know these kids,” he advised. “They are great kids that want to compete and compete as hard as they can possibly compete. Get to know the culture of this town, the culture of this community and the culture of this school as quick as you can and that will help you as you move forward.”
Crane thanked many people, including administrators, the superintendent, the school board and the Gonzales community for accepting his family during his time as head coach.
“Most importantly, thank you to the kids,” Crane said. “A big thank you to all the players that sacrificed so much for Apache athletics.”