Campus community says goodbye to Ellwood Crosier
This summer the Yakima Valley College community was saddened by the loss of Ellwood Crosier, one of the most successful basketball coaches in the college’s history and namesake of Crosier Court in Sherar Gymnasium.
Crosier grew up in Lynden, Wash. Like many in the community, he worked hard on his family’s dairy and vegetable farm, but his parents always made time for fun too. His grandparents also played a big role in his childhood and his grandfather was instrumental in nurturing his love of sports. He even built a basketball hoop for Crosier and would often sit nearby and watch him practice.
When Crosier was starting his sophomore year, the family moved to Wapato, Wash., and he tried out for the high school basketball team. The coach told him, “Ellwood, you can’t shoot, you can’t pass, you can’t dribble; but I like your hustle so I’m going to give you a try.” He went on to become a key player for Wapato’s team.
After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Army before enrolling at YVC. He played on the basketball team and was voted Most Inspirational Player both of his years.
After YVC, Crosier transferred to the University of Washington and earned a degree in psychology. He then went on to earn his master’s degree at Utah State University. When he moved back to Yakima he was hired to teach psychology at YVC and, in 1964, became the YVC basketball coach. He coached both men’s and women’s teams for 29 years and enjoyed a successful career with more than 500 wins and four conference championships.
To honor his career, the Northwest Athletic Conference inducted Crosier into its Hall of Fame in 1997 with YVC following suit in 2010. Two years later, in September 2012, the school renamed its court at Sherar Gym and unveiled a Crosier Court plaque on permanent display in the gym’s front foyer.
“When we won the NWAC championship in 2008, Ellwood was one of the happiest guys — he stayed involved with YVC men’s basketball and always made it to a couple of games a season and had encouraging words for the coaches. It was even more meaningful since he was a Hall of Fame coach who had amassed so much success!” – Athletic Director Ray Funk.
Head Men’s Basketball Coach London Wilson said Crosier’s impact in the Yakima Valley will live on.
“You really don’t grasp the impact he made on the many people and the many different walks of life he had an impression on until you have literally and physically seen it. It is something truly special to know he represents us all here at Yakima Valley College,” stated Wilson.