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Crabtree, AMS get new scoreboards

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools



Former Alma basketball coach Mike McSpadden used to dread 3 o'clock. Every afternoon, when the buses plowed through the old dirt parking lot that whirled past a still relatively new Crabtree Gymnasium, dust always seemed to find its way through the crack in the door to Crabtree Gym. 


Coaching wasn't just about teaching kids to shoot; it was about keeping dirt from covering the old tile floor, too.


"I'm pretty sure Mike swept that floor every hour," remembers longtime Alma coach Stan Flenor.


For nearly thirty-five years, the scoreboards at Crabtree and Alma Middle School have seen quite a bit  — buzzer-beating shots, championship runs, spectacular dunks. 


"They've gone from dirt parking lots and no air conditioning to a beautiful arena and a whole new school," Flenor said. "It's kind of evolved, and they've (scoreboards) just kind of been there. Really, for 36 years, that's been a big part of my life in and out of that building. We've been downstairs for 13 years, so you sort of lose the nuances of it."


A Van Buren graduate, Flenor did his student teaching under the tutelage of McSpadden, the school's longtime AD who retired two years ago. In 1990, Flenor replaced McSpadden as the Airedales' boys coach. 


Flenor's been there ever since.


"In 1985, the last day of school, all the coaches got wrenches and ratchets and we took the bleachers apart, piece by piece by hand, and cut up the wood and took the scoreboard down," Flenor said. "And then, we've had those (scoreboard) ever since."


This year, the scoreboards will have a different look. Alma has replaced the scoreboards at Crabtree and Alma Middle School with sharp lettering that includes longtime sponsor Citizens Bank.


"Citizens have always been a real big supporter of Van Buren, too," Flenor said. "It's Crawford County's bank. Brent (Taylor) has been at Citizens for a while. He's someone who is going to promote not only our school but all schools in the county."


Alma girls coach Codey Mann was still in high school during the time Flenor took over as the team's coach. He, too, is pleased with the new scoreboards. 


Built in 1966, Crabtree received a nice makeover in 1995 with the addition of new locker rooms and two new coaches' offices. 


"In 1995, in our building project, we as coaches took sledgehammers and busted the back out and hauled off the rock and built separate dressing rooms, for the men and women, and coaches offices. 


"And again, the scoreboard has endured."