Alumni Spotlight: Carter Crutchfield
Carter Crutchfield may be heading to the Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, but he hasn’t forgotten his Dalton roots.
“Dalton is still very close to my heart,” Crutchfield said.
Crutchfield graduated from Dalton High School in 2009 and is currently the assistant to the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay. The Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 13, where Crutchfield will be watching from the sidelines.
After graduating from Dalton High, Crutchfield attended Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville where he played football for four years. He studied marketing in school, but wasn’t sure what he ultimately wanted to pursue as a career.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Crutchfield said. “I was definitely drawn to working in athletics but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I knew I didn’t want to coach, but I was trying to find a niche.”
Once he completed his degree at Tennessee Tech, Crutchfield worked for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and for Austin Peay University in Clarksville before he was hired by the Rams just a week before the start of the season.
Crutchfield’s love for football started at a young age. In fifth grade he started as a ball boy for the Dalton High School Catamounts football team.
“My first year as a ball boy was in 2001,” Crutchfield said. “That was the year that Dalton went to the state championship game in football.”
He continued on as a ball boy for four years until he was in the ninth grade, when he went out for the team himself. Crutchfield credits these early experiences with his current passion for football.
“That was what cultivated my love for football,” Crutchfield said. “Getting to be around those guys and those coaches at an early age, feeling like you’re going through the grind with the guys and going through the weeks at practice with them, and then getting to see that success. I credit, to this day, how I carry myself and how I treat people with what I learned from the Dalton High School coaches.”
Growing up playing football for Dalton High School, Crutchfield experienced the full stands and passionate fans that exist in the district. It wasn’t until he left for college that he realized just how special it was to have such strong fan turnout.
“I feel like when you grow up in Dalton as a young kid, football is king,” Crutchfield said. “The fan turnout is what makes it so special. I didn’t really realize how special it was until I got to college and I would talk to my teammates from other places and they were like, you got articles in the paper and your stands were full, we didn’t have all of that. You realize just how special it is. It’s honestly the people that make it so special there.”
Crutchfield credits his success to his attitude and work ethic. He said his motto is to, “be where [your] feet are.”
“When I say that I mean, do the job you’re asked to do to the best of your ability,” Crutchfield said. “Whether that’s sweep the floors, pick up trash or run the entire organization, I think to do that to the best of your abilities. Coming from a guy who literally started at some of the lowest levels, I really feel like if you do your job to the best of your abilities, that will be seen and you’ll find a way to get better opportunities.”
As he prepares to stand on the sidelines of the biggest game in football, Crutchfield said he is thankful that his family will be able to be there with him.
“I’m really excited that my wife and family and her family get to experience this with me,” Crutchfield said. “They’ve been with me through the ebbs and flows of my career, so for me to get to share this opportunity on the biggest stage of this game with them is awesome.”
Even as he prepares for the Super Bowl, Crutchfield says that nothing quite compares to his experience playing at Dalton High School.
“Friday Night Lights at Harmon Field are still some of the most special experiences that I will ever have,” Crutchfield said. “I feel like it helped shape and mold my career and who I am as a person. My experiences in Dalton were tremendous, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”