After devoting more than 30 years to teaching and coaching students at Westview High School, Coach Cranston “Crannie” Hysong has been immortalized on the track where he achieved so much success.
Recently, Westview High School unveiled its new name, Hysong Track, to honor the coach who passed away on June 6, 2021.
“It means a lot because we’ve both been here since we opened the school in 1989,” said Sue Hysong, his wife and Westview athletics coach.
“So it’s a huge honour. I think it shows respect for the people working to get him appointed.
Hysong Track is only Tolleson’s second pitch to be dedicated.
Hysong started teaching in 1965 at the Clark County School District in Las Vegas. The following year, Hysong moved to Winslow, where he spent 15 years as a teacher and coach. In 1979, he won Region 8 National Coach of the Year.
Eventually landing in the Tolleson Union School District in 1981, Hysong continued to teach and coach at Tolleson Union High School.
Once Westview High School opened in 1989, Crannie and Sue were brought in to teach and coach.
Throughout his coaching career, Hysong has racked up a list of accolades, winning nine region titles, four state runners-up titles, and five state championships.
As an individual, Hysong was named AZ Region Coach of the Year three times and played a major role in the Arizona Interscholastic Association track meet. In 2017, he was selected as a member of the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.
Hysong even coached his son, Nick, to a gold medal in the pole vault at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
After his teaching career ended in 2001, Hysong remained an athletics coach, specializing in pole vaulting, before retiring in 2020.
“(Hysong) is a great coach,” said current boys athletics coach William Chaffee.
“But he was also a best friend, not only to his athletes but also to the coaches around them.”
Chaffee was a former athlete under Hysong before coaching alongside him for six years.
A man of faith, Hysong was highly respected as a church leader. He is one of the original members of Christ’s Church of the Valley, which has 13 locations in and around Phoenix.
“He’s not only a big name in the athletics community, but he’s also a man of faith and he incorporates that into his coaching philosophy,” Chaffee said. “He’s just a great guy to be around. He kind of made everyone better, not just the kids but the coaches.
Sue’s coaching career is equally impressive. His accolades include 10 area titles and four state titles, two-time state coach of the year, and the AIA Outstanding Leadership in Athletics Award.
She and Crannie are the only husband-wife duo to be inducted into the Arizona High School Athletic Coaching Hall of Fame.
Sue said she thought the new track name would have a big impact on the community.
“For athletes who have been in the past, it helps them reflect, and for their children who are there now, it also gives them a perspective on what their parents have accomplished,” Sue said. “Even though he has the name, you know, Hysong, they were all part of it.”
The Hysong family is connected to TUSD in other ways.
“The whole Hysong family is very connected to Tolleson Union. Everyone knows the Hysong name in Tolleson and across the state,” Chaffee said. “So it’s great to put Tolleson on the map.”
Chaffee hopes the new track name will continue the shimmering legacy built by the Hysongs.
“It’s well deserved for his whole family,” Chaffee said. “Just the Hysong name, they have so many accolades in athletics, but it’s great for young kids to understand how big they were in the 90s and even now, and how their name will always be linked to Westview.
“They basically opened up Westview and won all these titles when they started, and that legacy hopefully will stay there until it closes, or never will.”