By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Writer
Name: Crystal Lindsey
Position: Head Varsity Girls
Track and Field Coach
School: Kenwood Academy
Mascot: Lady Broncos
Coach Crystal Lindsey is entering her first full season as Head Varsity Girls Track and Field Coach for the Kenwood Academy Lady Broncos.
Prior to her hiring, Lindsey excelled in a number of key positions. This includes leading the Westinghouse Lady Warriors to a top three city ranking back in 2015, and winning back-to-back Sectional Championships both in 2016 and 2017. During her tenure as head coach, Lindsey also led the Lady Warriors to several top five finishes from 2009-2017.
“State is about the quality of your team,” said Lindsey, about the process and value of building a city and state track championship team. “City is about the quantity of your team.”
Since joining the Lady Broncos back in August of 2019, Lindsey has compiled a number of accolades as head coach on her resume.
During the 2020 Indoor Track season, Lindsey has placed a top runner in Asia Thomas, who currently ranks No. 1 in the state of Illinois for the indoor 60-meter run and is tied for the top spot in the city’s 55-meter run.
Thanks to Lindsey, the Lady Broncos are currently ranked top five in the city in several categories.
With the Indoor Track and Field season coming to an end last week due to the coronavirus outbreak, Lindsey said she wanted to end her 2020 Indoor Track and Field campaign with a city championship.
Known as one of the top track and field coaches, mentors and consultants in the city, Lindsey was in high demand after having a successful track and field career at the prestigious Morgan Park High School from 1996-1999.
She was named a five event, All-American Athlete and scored a record-breaking 108 points at a track and field competition her senior season; crowned four-time IHSA State Champion with the Morgan Park Lady Mustangs; dominated both the 100 and 300-meter hurdle race; won the 4×200 meter race, and won both the triple and long jumps.
Lindsey would also experience success at the collegiate level. She earned All-Big Ten Conference honors for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for both indoor and outdoor track and field from 2000 to 2003.
Lindsey currently has her goals set on one day leading the Kenwood Lady Broncos to both a city and state championship as a coach. And with that in mind, she has already inherited several gifted runners from Kenwood Academy who have won multiple city championships in the past.
Lindsey was ecstatic when she heard the news that the Lady Broncos was loaded with talent. “Nighty-eight percent of the team is committed,” said coach Lindsey. “We’re getting kids back from injuries, and through all of that, we ran well.”
In addition to coaching, Lindsey is also equally adept as an educator. She said she currently loves teaching at Kenwood and loves to encourage the youth.
Since taking over the head coaching reigns of former Kenwood’s legendary head track and field coach Phillip Wallace, Lindsey stated it’s been a minor adjustment period for both herself and the runners. “I’ve been a teacher at Kenwood since the fall of 2016,” she said. “It was interesting teaching [here at first as a former coach at Westinghouse] because I was like a rival in the building.”
Lindsey thanks former Kenwood principal Dr. Gregory Jones for hiring her to teach at Kenwood. She said when Dr. Jones was the former assistant principal at Westinghouse High School back in 2009, he gave her the opportunity to help build the Lady Warriors track team from the ground up. Also In 2009, Lindsey and Jones watched the track team grow from an all freshmen class to an all senior class over a four-year period. Lindsey emphatically stated, “It was a very proud moment [in my life].”
As a 2003 graduate of the University of Illinois, Lindsey prides herself on using track and field as a teaching tool to help improve academic performance, behavior and discipline among the athletes she coaches.
Lindsey said the best advice she ever received was from her former legendary track and field head coach Derrick Calhoun of Morgan Park High School. She said Calhoun taught her the importance of putting athletes in great positions to succeed. And whether the athlete is talented or not, she will strive to get the best out of the individual long term.
Lindsey also said she patterns her coaching style after coach Calhoun, who was known for building a state powerhouse back in the late 90s with the Morgan Park Mustangs track and field team. Calhoun led the Mustangs to a school record four State Championships. With a focus and passion for coaching, Lindsey has placed a strong emphasis on the importance of goal setting, strategies, and leadership for her team.
Throughout her 20-year career, Lindsey has produced 10 all-city athletes, six all-state athletes; built a young track and field program from the ground up; and has helped to develop two all-city and all-state runners in Tamia McNutt and Jamika Brown, who are from Westinghouse.