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Enterprise coach Mike Crawford and his players react while watching the final moments of the team’s Blue Mountain District tournament overtime win against Heppner on Saturday at the Pendleton Convention Center. Enterprise beat the Mustangs 40-38, notching third place and Crawford’s 500th win.

ENTERPRISE — A major accolade has come the way of Mike Crawford.

Next Sunday, June 6, the longtime Enterprise girls basketball coach will be given his award for being named the 2021 National Federation of State High School Associations Section 8 Coach of the Year for girls basketball, which in essence pegs him as the top girls hoops coach in the Northwest, and one of the best in the county.

“You stop to think about it, Mike was chosen as the best of the best from six Northwest states,” Oregon Athletic Coaches Association Executive Director Rob Younger said.

Crawford, along with 12 other Section 8 award winners, five state award winners and two national winners, will be honored at an awards banquet Sunday evening at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Crawford was nominated last fall as the state coach of the year for girls basketball, which pit him up against other coaches from Section 8 states. That includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Montana and Wyoming.

“The fact that it was a recognition from other coaches that got it started, it’s humbling,” Crawford said. “It’s a longevity thing. I got my 500th win. That’s kind of rarefied stuff. It’s ‘How do you have a concept or a feeling for what that means when it is about you?’”

Younger said Crawford was nominated, in part, because of his lengthy and successful career at EHS.

“The federation awards, a big part of it is their longevity, their commitment to their school and their community,” Younger said. “Mike is being recognized for his many years of outstanding service to the Enterprise community in basketball.”

Crawford, a staple of Northeast Oregon hoops, has racked up more than 500 career wins with the Outlaws during a career that has spanned three decades. He picked up his 500th win when Enterprise defeated Heppner in overtime, 40-38, during a Blue Mountain Conference district tournament contest on Feb. 22, 2020.

A major factor in the success Crawford and Enterprise have had over the years is due to his players.

“I’ve been incredibly blessed to be at one school and have the people around me in that entire time to be able to accomplish the fears we have done together,” he said.

Younger said the award winners won’t speak Sunday, but Crawford said if he were allowed to, he would share how humbled he was to be considered.

“Think of all the people that are in that category. To be the Section 8 winner puts me into where there are eight people who are vying for the National Coach of the Year. And to be in that finalist section — it is humbling,” he said. “I don’t have perspective for the whole country. I know that it’s not typical these days of coaches to be in the mix (that long)...I’ve been coaching for over 40 years, and (still) feel like I’m young and can do it. I just really appreciate the acknowledgement. I don’t know it’s quite as deserving, but others thought so.

“How do you express in words to say how incredible that is?”

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