Astros’ broadcast contest keeps Jones where he wants to be
Since elementary school, Crawford Jones has wanted to make sports a big part of his life.
During rides to school, the former UH quarterback would quiz his mom on stats and trivia just so they could talk sports along the way.
When Jones was interviewed as a player, he took mental notes and used them to help when he was on the other side of the microphone. Now he has his chance.
Jones, who won the Astros’ “You Make The Call” contest last summer, earned a job as the team’s radio apprentice and in-game host. He said he gets an idea of what an athlete is thinking or feeling in certain situations. He also remembers great questions he would get asked and tries to avoid the bad ones.
Jones said his success humbled him because he may not have had the opportunity if he didn’t choose to play football at UH in 2008.
During 2008 recruitment, Jones was talking to coaches from Rice about playing for the Owls. However, a call from head coach Tony Levine, who was then an assistant coach, helped make up his mind.
“If it weren’t for (Levine), I wouldn’t have gone to UH and that means I wouldn’t have met my fiancé, got this job, or met a bunch of amazing people,” Jones said.
Jones was initially a business major, but one Christmas he visited a CBS station with his father in the Fort Worth area and envisioned a career change.
“We saw behind the scenes of a live broadcast and how it all works,” Jones said. “The rush I got there was the closest thing to being on the field and I knew that rush was something I would eventually miss.”
After a conversation with his father, Jones knew what he had to do. As soon as he returned to school he changed his major to broadcast journalism, which led him to try out for “You Make The Call.”
Beforehand, Jones had doubts about entering. While interning at a local radio station his peers talked him into giving it a shot.
“Going into a contest with 350 applicants for one position, I was totally skeptical. I had a really good feeling that if I could just get through the first round that I had a shot,” Jones said.
“Knowing that there were so many other great contestants it honestly kind of took the pressure off me and let me just go in there and enjoy it. I went in thinking that if nothing else it would be a good experience and I got a lot more than that.”
However, Jones encountered a conflicting schedule, as two-a-days started around the same time the top 10 contestants were selected; but Levine allowed Jones to miss a practice in order to pursue his dream.
Levine said he was proud that Jones was in the depths of the competition and had confidence in him. More importantly, Levine said, it allowed Jones to do what he loves.
Jones spent his first two seasons on the sidelines behind UH legend Case Keenum. As a junior and senior, Jones served as the holder for field goals and extra points. It was also where he reunited with Levine, who was then the special teams coach.
In 2012, Jones started the last two games of the season including a 40-17 win against Tulane in the final game at Robertson Stadium and finished the season with 11 passing touchdowns.
“Crawford is an individual that I love because he has a lot of dedication. He will always strive to compete in whatever he does,” Levine said.