Nancy Bauer writes “For Coach” to honor beloved Girard football coach Craig Crespino

Crespino coached at Girard for 22 years and left a lasting impact on the community

GIRARD, Ks. – “I think we knew very early on that we had been a part of something really, truly profound,” says Nancy Bauer of Girard.

So profound and so important that Bauer compiled her neighbors stories, both devastating and heartwarming, and wrote a book.

“My husband and I would visit about it and say, you know somebody needs to write all those things down for prosperity, for our community and for our children,” Bauer says.

The book, entitled “For Coach”, tells the story of Craig Crespino and his impact on the Girard community.

“We had players that spent a lot of time at our house and he would go to their homes,” says Crespino’s daughter Erica. “He was my dad, but he was also a father figure to so many other kids, students, players.”

“He would help anybody he could, at any time,” Bauer says. “He would drop anything. He made people feel important and valued.”

Crespino spent 22 years on the Girard football coaching staff. First as an assistant, and then as the head coach.

“This is one of my favorite photos of Craig because, to me, it captures his personality,” Bauer says as she points to a photo. “His enthusiasm for the game of football was like nobody else’s.”

He passed away right before football season began, 16 years ago, in a tragic accident.

“There were more than 5,000 people at his funeral,” Harris says. “We had it at the Memorial Auditorium because we didn’t know where to have it. We knew there were going to be a lot of people there.”

“My number one goal from the beginning was just to preserve the story and preserve Craig’s legacy,” Bauer says. “The book is about a man who impacted a community in an incredibly profound way and his tragic and sudden death impacted our community in a terribly difficult way. But it’s also about a community coming together and deciding that we needed to carry each other through this.”

And that’s what the community did. For coach.

“There’s one guy in particular that reached out to me over Facebook messenger and said, I just have to share a story with you about your dad,” Harris says. “It was just nice to hear something new and to be reminded that people are carrying him with them every day and that he is not going to be forgotten.”

Bauer introduced the published book at the Craig Crespino Memorial Golf Tournament in June. The first 100 copies sold that weekend.