John Arnett Crawford
November 9, 1941 - November 29, 2022
Obituary from

John Crawford

Kennewick, Washington - John Arnett Crawford passed away on Nov 29th at the age of 81. He was born Nov. 9th, 1941 in Cordova, Alaska to Rev. David & Anne Crawford. Life would bring him to the lower 48, but he enjoyed his many adventures back to Alaska.

Pasco, Washington became home in the fall of 1964, after graduating from Whitworth College and accepting a teaching position at Pasco High School. Here he taught math and computers for 30 years.

After retiring he became the Computer Coordinator/Instructor for the Pasco School District for 7 years. His career also included part-time teaching of math classes at CBC and computer education for teacher classes at EU, CWU, WSU and Seattle Pacific. John did not know the meaning of "retirement" and went on to work for the Pasco School District in a limited sports capacity for 17 years.

To say "he loved sports" is an understatement. John was a coach, referee, meet manager, committee member, and statistics mastermind. He coached basketball for 13 years, track for 10 years, and cross country for 3 years. He was meet manager for the Pasco Invite Track Meet for 46 years, and the State Cross Country Meet for 30 years. He used his computer knowledge to create results and statistics for track and cross country meets, regional basketball tournaments, wrestling and football. He even managed his own website, where he would post tournament/meet results and information. Many knew him as the "man in the van" providing results at track and cross country meets ranging in all ages.

John received numerous accolades for his contributions to education, the community and high school sports. Teacher of the Month awards, Outstanding Educator Award, and City of Pasco Community Service Award were among the many. In 2008, the Pasco School District named the track at Edgar Brown Stadium the "John Crawford Track". He was inducted into the WIAA Hall of Fame in 2015.

John is survived by his son, Steve (Tonni) Crawford, his daughter, Sharon (Dan) Anderson, 5 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandson.

John Crawford at the 2016 Pasco Invite - Sarah Gordon (TCH)

Longtime Tri-Cities sports leader who transformed sports stats using computers dies
By Jeff Morrow: Special to the Tri-City Herald
November 30, 2022

The Tri-Cities sports and business community lost a friend Tuesday when John Crawford passed away at the age of 81.

The long-time teacher and coach worked at only one high school his entire career — Pasco High School.

But Crawford belonged to everybody.

He was the guy who cajoled and nagged area high school football coaches to report their weekly football statistics to him so everyone knew who passed or rushed for the most yards.

He was the guy who made sure everyone had high school basketball statistics immediately after a game or tournament. And the guy who printed out the completed brackets of a wrestling tournament.

But his work as a sports event administrator was his greatest gift to the community, and two events that he ran — the annual Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s state high school cross country championships in November and the annual Pasco Invitational track and field meet in April — continually put the Tri-Cities on the map.

The amount of revenue coming into the community — for food at restaurants and hotel rooms — from just those two events was huge for the business community.

"I’m proud of being recognized for being an organizer — of being able to pull off the big events," he once told me.

To this day, both events are some of the biggest in the Tri-Cities and the state.

Crawford taught math and computers at Pasco High, starting with math in 1964.

He coached basketball — his first love — cross country and track and field at Pasco.

He retired as a teacher in 1994. But he still worked with teachers at Pasco district schools on computers for the next eight years. Yet that just gave him more time to work at local sporting events.


During the 1970s, Crawford saw what ended up being the first personal computer at a show.

"It was one of the old original Apples that was tape-driven," he said in the 1999 story. "I had to have one, because I could see what it could do."

What he saw was a marriage between computers and sports, and he used it in 1982 at the Pasco Invite.

Waiting hours after a meet had been the norm at the time. Crawford changed that with his computer programs.

Crawford’s ability to use a computer program back in the 1980s was key for the Tri-Cities to get the state high school cross country championships.

Just like track and field, cross country coaches used to wait hours after a state meet to get the final results.

In a 1999 story with me, Crawford recounted what he said to the WIAA committee in charge of awarding state sports events. "I still remember a board member asking me how long would it take to get the results (for state cross country) out," Crawford said. "I said 20 to 30 minutes. His response was, 'No, really. How long?'"

Pasco got the 1988 state meet, and true to his word, Crawford had the results out in 20-30 minutes. The state meet has been here ever since.

In 1990, the WIAA announced it would be moving the state meet to Port Townsend.

There was such an outcry by high school cross country coaches around the state — don't fix it if it ain't broke — that the WIAA reversed its decision, and it stayed in Pasco.


In 1976, Crawford decided to step away as a track coach at Pasco High, and instead asked to be put in charge of running the meets — something he’d found he liked to do.

When Crawford began running the Invite in the 1970s, there were 16 schools with 300 to 400 athletes. 

By these last 10 years, 115 schools with 1,600 athletes competing in the meet were more the norm.

The Pasco Invite has always been known as the largest one-day high school track and field meet in the nation.

At one point, Pasco also got to host the WIAA 4A-3A state track and field championships for a few years, starting in 2001.

Crawford’s key was always getting volunteers, and he told me once he always had a database of 350 of them. He'd introduce himself at the beginning of the school year to the new teachers in the Pasco School District.

At either event, he’d need 225-240 of them. And he always got them.

He wasn't above doing manual labor.

In 1999, then-Richland High athletic director Steve Potter told me he remembered seeing Crawford trying to line the lanes on the cinder track at Edgar Brown Stadium. "He used to get both knees infected being down there," said Potter.

Everyone knew what a gem they had in Crawford.


In 1998, Crawford was inducted into the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

In 2008, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Convention.

That same year, the track at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco was named after him. 

In 2016, he was inducted into the WIAA’s Hall of Fame as a contributor.

Born in Alaska, Crawford used to enjoy his summer trips to Skagway. It was where he liked to relax.

He also loved to golf, and I once saw him miss a hole-in-one at Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland by a mere 2 inches.

In these later years, he and I would compare notes during high school football games we were both attending, especially when one of us wasn’t sure about a yard-line a player caught an interception and returned it for a touchdown.

A few years ago, John’s health started to fail him. He made no secret he had been battling Parkinson’s Disease. But then his eyesight started to dim.

When he couldn’t go to the football games anymore, we would occasionally talk to each other on the phone on Saturdays so I could give him the roundup of what happened in the Mid-Columbia Conference games the night before.

My last phone call with him came in October. And then, sadly, I got really busy. I’d let that phone call get by me. Life got in the way.

I never realized it would be the last time we talked, and I’ll forever have that guilt that I let him down.

He was a good man, who loved high school sports. He provided opportunities for numerous high school kids to shine, not just in local sporting events, but also in large, big-time events.

In 2016, former WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese told former Herald reporter Annie Fowler, "John is one of those people who gets things done. He takes a situation and makes it better. He's made an impact on a lot of lives — kids and coaches."

And adults, too.