By the Messenger-Inquirer
Former Western Kentucky football player and assistant coach Romeo Crennel and two other individuals with Hilltopper ties were among six announced Thursday for selection into the 2021 class of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, as announced by the Louisville Sports Commission.
In addition to Crennel, WKU graduate John Asher and former Hilltopper basketball assistant Dwane Casey are among the honorees.
Crennel, currently Senior Advisor for Football Performance for the Houston Texans, was a four-year starter for WKU from 1966-69 and a team captain as a senior. Following one season as a graduate assistant coach at WKU, he was a full-time defensive assistant in college for a total of 11 years at WKU, Texas Tech, Mississippi and Georgia Tech.
In 1981, Crennel moved on to a career in the NFL that stands at 38 years and counting. His first stop was special teams coordinator with the New York Giants, and he moved through the ranks and was defensive coordinator for five Super Bowl wins — two with the Giants (1986, 1990) and three with New England (2001, 2003, 2004). He was head coach at Cleveland for four seasons and interim head coach for a season at both Kansas City and Houston.
Crennel is a member of the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni and WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Asher, who obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from WKU in 1990, was a well-known sports journalist and public relations expert who parlayed an award-winning career in radio news into a public relations position at Churchill Downs and recognition as the preeminent expert on the Kentucky Derby. Asher passed away at age 62 in August 2018.
Asher was inducted into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2020.
Casey served as an assistant coach for Hilltopper basketball under head coach Clem Haskins in two stints between 1981-86. He is currently the head coach for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
Casey, also an assistant at Kentucky under Eddie Sutton, has had a long career as both an assistant and head coach in the NBA, including tenures as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2018 with Toronto.
A selection committee comprised of 15 sports media professionals from throughout the Commonwealth selected this year’s class. The 2021 KSHOF class members and their families will be honored on Sept. 7 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville.