Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Meadowcreek assistant baseball coach Bond Crosby teaches a swinging technique to Michael Bynoe prior to his at bat against Central Gwinnett.
In just three years, Bond Crosby made a substantial mark at Meadowcreek.
He taught social studies, coached three sports and offered stability in a transient, diverse community that often sees its athletic coaches leave for other jobs after short tenures. He was promoted to head baseball coach prior to the 2014 season, earning the promotion after making an impact in that sport as well as with his football and basketball positions.
Those contributions will be sorely missed at the Norcross high school, which received the tragic news that Crosby died early Thursday morning.
Just 29, Crosby fainted at a softball game a week earlier, suffered a massive heart attack in the hospital and underwent quadruple bypass surgery that kept him in critical condition and on life support. He battled a variety of issues in the hospital and took a turn for the worse Wednesday night.
His family posted this message on CaringBridge.org: “Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and help. Bond fought very hard. The doctors, nurses and staff worked tirelessly. However, late this evening Bond’s condition took a turn for the worse. The family had time to say their goodbyes and Bond passed away peacefully at 1 a.m.”
Crosby, who played baseball and ran cross country at Valdosta High, initially worked in the insurance business after graduating from Georgia College and State University. He also coached youth baseball teams during that time, which led to a career change into education.
Meadowcreek provided his first opportunity, allowing him to coach baseball, football and basketball over the past three years. He worked with the Mustangs’ quarterbacks this spring in football and was preparing for his fourth year at the high school. He was the school’s head ninth-grade football coach last season, guiding the team to its first victory in years. He received the Gwinnett Touchdown Club’s Tally Johnson Award as the football assistant coach of the year in 2012.
He had a bright future in baseball, where he helped Chris Reeves turn around a struggling program as an assistant. Crosby coached Meadowcreek’s junior varsity baseball team to a 4-4 record (with three close losses) in 2013, quite the achievement since the Mustangs had not fielded a JV team in years.
His success earned the promotion to head coach when Reeves stepped down for family reasons.
“Bond was one of the best up-and-coming baseball coaches in Gwinnett County,” said Don Einolf, Meadowcreek’s athletic director through the 2013-14 school year. “He had done extraordinary things with the Meadowcreek baseball program. On a personal note, he was a great friend, someone you could count on as the athletic director to represent his team and the entire athletic program well in the community. He will be sorely missed. He was just an extraordinary young man.”
Gwinnett's baseball coaches thought highly of Crosby after getting to know him in recent seasons.
"(Crosby) was smart, dedicated, charismatic and all in all, a great guy," Lanier head baseball coach Chad Longe said. "I was lucky enough to see him this season and summer and the one thing I noticed was how his players responded to him. He will be missed by the coaches in the area. It's very sad and tragic. I am glad I had the chance to get to know him and spend time with him."
Crosby's funeral arrangements are still pending.
"Bond was one of the most caring and selfless individuals I have ever known," said Collins Hill grad Whit Ferguson, one of Crosby's fraternity brothers at GCSU. "He was a special person who could cheer you up instantly with his contagious smile. He was a great friend, a gentleman in every sense of the word and will be missed by so many."
Though school isn't in session, word of Crosby's passing spread rapidly Thursday via social media with current and former students, and colleagues expressing their condolences. The Gwinnett County Public Schools' crisis team has been notified should staff members and students need to speak with grief counselors as the district starts the new school year.
"Today has been a difficult day for the Meadowcreek High family as we learned that we have lost one of our own," Meadowcreek principal Tommy Welch said. "We were notified early this morning of the passing of teacher and coach Bond Crosby. When we received word of his passing, I shared the sad news with our school's faculty and staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time. Mr. Crosby made a big impact on the lives of many students and he will be terribly missed in the classroom and on the field."