NORMAN — Brian McCrae is not used to being laid up. The Bishop Snyder football coach in Jacksonville, Fla., like most coaches, likes to be moving around and getting things done.
However, after having back surgery, McCrae admitted he had been laying in his hospital bed feeling sorry for himself.
That all changed May 20. On that day, as he watched his hospital television, he saw a tornado rip through Moore and was transfixed on what he was seeing.
Even though it took place more than 1,150 miles from where he laid in his hospital bed, McCrae knew exactly what the people of Moore were going through. He also knew exactly what needed to be done.
“I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself,” McCrae said. “I looked up at the TV and saw all the devastation in Oklahoma on the news. I said I guess I don’t have it that bad after all. It hearkened me back to when I was in Central Florida and had two hurricanes back to back. Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances. It absolutely devastated our state and that was during football season. It was just such a gut-wrenching time.
“I knew that is what was exactly going on at that time in Oklahoma.”
McCrae said despite the hardships the hurricanes had done to his towns, the one thing that everyone was able to galvanize around was football. With Hurricane Charley taking place during the middle of the season, fans and townspeople still came out on Friday night to watch his team play.
McCrae wants to make sure the schools in Moore are able to be the same type of inspiration. He also doesn’t want them to have to ever worry about needing to replace athletic equipment for a long time.
“I tell my kids all the time, you either do something then you get better,” McCrae said, “or you do nothing and you get worse. Those are the two choices you always have. I said to myself, ‘are you going to do something or are you going to do nothing.’”