It's been more than a few decades since Reginald Crews played junior varsity football. But he never forgot the sting of not having someone in the stands cheering for him and supporting his efforts.
He made a vow to any future children he might have: Whatever they chose to do, he would be there for them.
Crews has kept that promise. Big time!
When daughter Sarah, an athletic and academic star on the North Augusta High School Lady Jackets basketball team, made her commitment to play for the Lady Bearcats at Lander University, Crews knew that he would be with his daughter for as many home and away games as possible. Over the three years that Sarah has been a member of the Lady Bearcats, Crews has traveled thousands of miles in support of Sarah and her teammates. His dedication has earned him the unofficial title of "Team Dad."
"I try to make each player feel that I am there to watch them, not only Sarah," he said. "Many of the players have families who live far away. They need support, too."
During Sarah's freshman year in the 2018-19 basketball season, Crews made almost every game - a remarkable feat considering the demands of his job then as a federal corrections officer. In his daughter's sophomore year, he vowed, "I'm going to make every single game." He kept his word and was ready to pack his bags when the Lady Bearcats won the Peach Belt Conference championship, a win that made them eligible for the NCAA Division II basketball tournament.
"Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. March Madness ended for everyone," he said. "I still think about what might have been."
By the time the Lady Bearcats were moving through their 2020-21 season, Crews had retired from his career in law enforcement. "Going to the games was the highlight of my week," he said.
It's no surprise to all who know him that Crews was ready to hit the road when the Lady Bearcats won the Peach Belt Conference championship in 2021. He traveled to the tournament in Columbus, Ohio, where Lander's quest for the national title put them in the Elite Eight. That victory placed them in the Final Four - the first time in the University's history that the women's basketball team had earned this achievement.
Although the Lady Bearcats lost the game to Drury University, Crews said, "I was extremely proud of all that they accomplished. It was amazing. It's still amazing. The team made school history with their season."
Kevin Pederson, head coach for the Lady Bearcats, said Crews is part of that history. "It is hard to put into words what Reginald Crews means to our team. Everywhere we go, we know that he will be front and center. Our opponents tell us, 'that's a very impressive fan you have down there.' "
With his far-reaching voice, Crews lets everyone know he's in the stands. "We have never had a parent as consistently committed to our team," Pederson said. "We've had some who've come close. But it's Reginald's presence that everyone recognizes. You know he's going to be loud."
In fact, it's his vocals that earned Crews the name, "The Sizzler," in a 2019 newspaper article, which circulated statewide, about his support for the North Augusta Lady Jackets. Crews became a persona at the games during his daughter's tenure at the school. When Sarah came to Lander, Crews continued to rock the North Augusta stands with his cheers for the team and chiding of officials.
So powerful is Crews' voice that the article stated, "There's good news and bad news if you see - and hear, of course - The Sizzler this time of year.
"The good news is, the team you're rooting for is in the hunt for a state championship.
"The bad news is, well, the Lady Jackets are standing in the way - and for the last three years, every game in the state has gone their way."
Crews gave his voice to four, consecutive state championship titles of the Class AAAA team. "If I'm there, I'm going to be loud," said Crews, whose voice has been the source of Twitter feeds for years.
Away from the basketball court, Crews maintains a busy schedule. He and his wife Ordean also are parents to Reginald "Delany" Crews II, a general manager for a Domino's Pizza restaurant; and Gray, 15, a North Augusta High School sophomore who will be a student at the S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in the fall.
"Each of our children is accomplished in their way," said Crews, "and we are proud of them."
With a passion for fashion, Crews became frustrated when he could not find pocket squares to coordinate with his collection of ties, a collection totaling about 500 -- many of which are thrift store finds. Crews was not to be outdone.
"It's a piece of cloth and not very big," he said. "How hard could it be?"
He took a sewing class and began making his own pocket squares. In his "retirement," Crews is the designer and production team for his Squares & Buttons business, which features pocket squares and lapel buttons in a wide range of colors and designs. His fashion accessories, found on Crews' business website and on Facebook, are stylishly worn by people throughout the United States, including Roy Smith, former University of North Carolina basketball coach; the Morehouse College Glee Club; the Claflin University Concert Choir, and LeVelle Moton, basketball coach for North Carolina Central University. He recently designed pocket squares for a groom and his attendants.
With the tag line, "Stop the Naked Pocket Syndrome," Crews is making another "loud" statement with his business.
He's looking ahead to Sarah's senior year at Lander and the opportunities that the Lady Bearcats will have to excel on the basketball court.
With a successful record from the past - and Team Dad in the stands - fans can look forward to another sizzlin' season.