FARMINGTON – Navajo Prep girls basketball and volleyball coach Rainy Crisp has been named the interim athletic director at the school.
Crisp took over as the AD about four weeks ago, replacing former athletic director Mike Tillman. Sophina Taylor, Navajo Prep’s business manager, declined to comment on Tillman's departure, saying only, “He is no longer with the school.”
Tillman served as the athletic director for five years, and also served as the school’s discipline coordinator and head golf coach.
Taylor said the decision to make Crisp the interim athletic director was because Crisp was the most qualified person for the job.
Crisp is a 1998 graduate of Navajo Prep and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a minor in education. She has spent the last 11 seasons as the school’s girls basketball coach and the last eight seasons as the volleyball coach.
The position for a permanent athletic director will be posted in the coming weeks, according to Taylor, and Crisp said she is interested in the position.
“This is a position that I would like to have. It’s a great experience for me, and after being a coach for 11 years now, it’s something that is a step forward and a goal that I’ve had personally,” Crisp said. “Mr. Tillman has done so much for the athletic department, and the school in general, so it is huge shoes to fill.”
During her time coaching the girls basketball team, Crisp guided the Lady Eagles to the 2A state title game in 2008 and 2009, winning the title in 2009. As the volleyball coach, Crisp led Prep to the 2A state title match in 2007 and 2008, and the 3A state title match in 2014, losing to Texico in all three title appearances.
Crisp said if given the opportunity to become the school’s athletic director, and she would like to continue coaching at Prep when the school moves up in classification from 3A to 4A after this school year.
“That has been my passion for a long time,” she said. “There are a lot of athletic directors in 3A who kept coaching, but I’m not too sure about it going into 4A. If it was something I could still do, I’d love to keep coaching. If I couldn’t do both, it would definitely be a hard decision for me because coaching is my passion.”
One of Crisp’s first tasks as the interim athletic director was being a part of the hiring committee for new head golf coach Darrin Halliburton.
Crisp said the Halliburton hiring was an easy choice, as he had previously served as an assistant under Tillman.
“Mr. Halliburton has a connection with the students. He helps with our football program, as well, so he knows some of the students, and he knows the level of competition here at Prep,” Crisp said. “He was the perfect person to come in and take over as the golf coach.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.