SportsCenter’s Jay Crawford jumping for joy at son’s track and field success

For parents, watching their children succeed is special at any time. If those successes happen to occur during Father’s Day Weekend, well, emotions are likely to run even higher.

That is the backdrop for SportsCenter’s Jay Crawford this weekend, who will witness his son and Rutgers redshirt junior, Corey Crawford, compete in the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“I am usually pretty collected watching him compete,” said Jay, who is in Eugene, Ore. for the event. “But, obviously, I watch with great pride. With Father’s Day so close, watching him this weekend will have even more special meaning.”

ESPN's Jay Crawford
ESPN’s Jay Crawford

The climax of Corey’s season at Rutgers comes today as he competes in the long jump championship (6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN3).

Corey won every competition he competed in during the regular season, won gold at the Penn Relays in the Championship Division and was runner-up in the NCAA Regionals. His outdoor success comes on the heels of an outstanding indoor season, when he was named Outstanding Athlete at the American Athletic Conference Championships after completing an 8.22 meter (or about 26 feet, 11 ¾ inches) jump, good for fifth-longest jump in the world during the season.

With his outstanding performance, Corey was named Track and Field Performer of the Year in the Northeast region and qualified for the USA Nationals later this summer.

“I have always tried to talk to him about managing the moment, staying focused on the process and not the situation or results,” Jay said. “I tell him to compete like it’s his last season. I know he has embraced that advice.”

But Jay is quick to point out that Corey deserves all the credit for his success. “He gets every ounce of talent out of his body and works relentlessly in the weight room and on the track to be his best.”

Thinking about Corey’s success and Father’s Day coinciding, Jay can’t help but relate the two.

“My father and I were very close, almost best friends,” he said. “Each Father’s Day we would golf, and I was never able to beat him. Last year, Corey beat me in the last round we played. He managed the pressure so well and came from behind to beat me on 18. It’s been fun watching him soar to great heights.”

In true fatherly fashion, Jay has already determined Corey’s status in the Crawford household, regardless of Corey’s performance. “Win or lose this weekend, Corey is already a champion to me.”

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