Just Holzmeyer, a pastor, and Crews, the former UE men’s basketball coach and Saint Louis assistant.
“At that point, we had no idea with what was getting ready to happen with the next basketball season,” Holzmeyer said.
Now it’s NABC and Atlantic 10 Conference coach of the year Crews.
After Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus started a leave of absence last August and later died in December due to health complications, Crews guided the Billikens to a 27-6 record, regular-season Atlantic 10 title and NCAA tournament appearance in his interim head coaching capacity.
Crews had already left his mark on “Lessons from the Locker Room,” a devotional that highlights 22 messages from basketball coaches with matching scripture passages.
“It’s a good way for him to show who he really is — a man of faith, a person with great integrity and character,” said Holzmeyer, now pastor at Northwoods Church in Evansville. “His thoughts in the book really highlight the person we’re seeing now on the national stage.”
Holzmeyer got to know Crews as a UE athletics intern in the mid-1990s, and after the coach left Army in 2009, Holzmeyer invited him to speak to a group of fathers at his Knoxville, Tenn.-area church. Crews later returned to help out at a basketball camp there the next two summers — 2010 and 2011.
“What we’d end up doing each night — he and myself, Jody Wright and Mitch Cupples, who were both in the book too — we’d go out after the games were over, eat and talk about life and sports and how the two really go together,” Holzmeyer said.
Crews couldn’t make it back for the 2012 summer camp. By that time, Majerus had lured him into an assistant job with the Billikens.
The group of coaches didn’t want to forget what came out of those post-camp conversations. Now there’s “Lessons from the Locker Room.”
“I think the primary lesson that we want to get across is that as an athlete or parent of an athlete, you’re going to go through various things,” Holzmeyer said. “But everything that happens, the Bible has something to say about it and God has something to say about it. That’s how you can really tackle it.”