GREENVILLE, S.C. (FURMAN ATHLETICS PRESS RELEASE) — New Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced today the hiring of Drew Cronic as the Paladins’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Cronic, who served as an assistant coach at Furman for nine seasons (2002-10), returns to Greenville following five years at Reinhardt (Ga.) University, where he served as head coach the last two seasons and posted a combined 22-3 record. This fall he directed the Eagles to a 13-1 campaign, Mid-South Conference championship, and semifinal finish in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoffs with a squad that averaged 51.1 points and 550.6 yards per game.
“We are thrilled to have Drew Cronic returning to Furman as our offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach,” said Hendrix on Wednesday morning. “I have known Drew for a long time, and he has all the qualities we are looking for as we assemble our staff — smart, innovative, tough-minded — and, more importantly, he is a great father and a man of character. He is also the son of a legendary Georgia high school football coach and has done a remarkable job at his recent assignment at Reinhardt. We can’t wait to get started and look forward to having Drew back in the Furman family, along with Amelia and their three sons — Noah, Eli, and Isaiah.”
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to return to Furman and work with new head coach Clay Hendrix,” said Cronic. “We know how great a place it is, the tremendous young men Furman attracts, and the dynamic nature of Greenville, so we’re thrilled with the chance to get Paladin Football turned around and headed in the right direction.”
Cronic played a key role in the establishment of Reinhardt football beginning in November of 2011, serving as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and recruiting coordinator leading up to the program’s inaugural season of competition in 2013. He was named head coach following the 2014 campaign and in his first year directed the Eagles to a 9-2 record. This past season he guided Reinhardt to 13 consecuctive victories before falling in the national playoff semifinals to Saint Francis of Indiana, the eventual national champion.
In addition to leading the NAIA in scoring and total offense, Reinhardt topped the country in rushing offense (360.0 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (71) while also boasting the nation’s second highest passing efficiency rating (178.0) and registering 25 touchdown passes. In addition, the Eagles’ defense finished second nationally in points allowed (13.8 ppg) and sacks (46), and fifth in total defense (283.5 ypg).
In his two seasons as head coach at Reinhardt, Cronic was twice named Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Region I Coach of the Year. In 2016 Reinhardt produced 14 all-conference selections and 24 academic all-conference honorees — both league highs.
Cronic spent one year as an assistant coach at Central of Carrollton (Ga.) High School, where he helped the Lions, who had gone 0-11 the year before, improve to 4-6 in 2011.
Cronic’s move back to his native Georgia followed a nine-year tenure at Furman, where he worked alongside Hendrix for five seasons (2002-06) and served in a number of key roles, including wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends coach, as well as recruiting coordinator.
As wide receivers coach he worked with several Paladin standouts, including All-Southern Conference performers Bear Rinehart, Brian Bratton, Isaac West, Justin Stepp, and Adam Mims, and as tight ends coach in 2009 he played a role in the development of all-conference performer Chris Truss.
His first Furman tenure featured several outstanding seasons, including the 2004 Southern Conference Championship (10-3) season and 11-3 campaign in 2005 that saw the Paladins advance to the NCAA FCS national semifinals. All told Furman made four trips to the FCS post-season during Cronic’s first stop in Greenville.
A native of Sharpsburg, Ga., he played quarterback for his father, Danny Cronic, at East Coweta (Ga.) High School before moving on to the University of Georgia, where he saw action at wide receiver and served on special teams. He lettered twice as a member of the Bulldog program and participated in both the 1995 Peach Bowl and 1997 Outback Bowl.
At the conclusion of his senior year he received Georgia’s first Leon Farmer Strength and Conditioning Award, which is given annually to the football player whose weight room work ethic made the greatest contribution to the football program.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Georgia, he served as a graduate assistant coach in charge of receivers at West Georgia for the 1998 season and secured his master’s degree in educational leadership in 1999.
Following his tenure at West Georgia, he joined the coaching staff at James Madison as receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator in 1999, where worked for three seasons before coming to Furman in 2002.
He and his wife, Amelia, have three sons: Noah (13), Eli (11), and Isaiah (5).