Boxing Coach and Mentor
July 27, 2022
Jason Crutchfield first saw Claressa Shields fight when she was only 11 years old. Although the notion of coaching a female boxer, let alone a pre pubescent one wasn’t in his original coaching gameplan, he decided to give it a go. When he started working with her he recognized star power immediately and decided that he would be there to support her no matter what. Crutchfield wasn’t a professional boxing coach although he did have a ton of boxing experience and was a legendary four time Gold Gloves Champion out of Flint Central High School, and Berston Field House, an accomplished boxer in his own right. He was instead, a professional utility worker, and coaching was something that he did for free at night. But he took it very seriously, especially when he recognized Shields potential.
So Crutchfield determined to do whatever it took to help her be successful. Given Shields tumultuous family life that included a father in prison and a mother struggling with addiction, that sometimes meant going above and beyond the call of duty. Shields would often find a place to stay at the home Crutchfield shared with his wife Mickey Rouse. It wasn’t long before she moved in as a permanent member of the Rouse/Crutchield home with her own room.
Crutchfield predicted that Shields would make it to the Olympics and win the Gold in 2012 in London, and true to his vision she did just that. She followed that up with another Gold in Rio in 2016 although Crutchfield and Shields had split by that point. Still, Shields calls herself the GWOAT (Greatest Woman of All Time), and no one disputes that. Crutchfield can take great pride in knowing none of that likely happens without him seeing her at 11 years old at a boxing program at Berston Field House.
Crutchfield is still at it crafting champions with three of his boxers qualified to go to the Nationals after claiming Michigan Gold Gloves titles. Jaquan McElroy took the title in the 156-pound weight class, Chris Thompson at the 176-pound division, and Sardius Simmons for the 203-pounds-plus division. All of them joined us for this Champions show in the Aquarium