Whether it’s leading an elite college football team as a Heisman Trophy winner or running a small business, Eric Crouch has noticed parallels in both.
“It’s no different than calling a play in the huddle and executing it. It really taught me to work hard and nothing is ever given to you,” Crouch said. “The business world can be even harder than the football field. Both require teamwork and a common goal to work toward.”
Crouch often reminisces about his time on the football field. Specifically, his time leading the Huskers to win the 2000 Fiesta Bowl. Fast forward 19 years and the iconic Cornhusker is the quarterback of a business.
“My wife and I purchased it in 2004,” Crouch said. “The company before us, the owners before us were legends so we’ve been doing our best job to keep this business going strong and to keep continuing its legacy.”
Crouch and his wife now own Crouch Recreation based in Omaha, Nebraska, where Crouch was born and raised. The business is a full-service company that specializes in building playgrounds, splash pads, scoreboards, park shelters, and more.
Crouch Recreation primarily builds parks in elementary school and high school spaces. The company has provided its services and built equipment in Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa.
“It keeps me busy, I have a lot of flexibility to do what’s best for the business and our employees and our customers,” Crouch said. “It’s been a lot of fun for me. Designing these parks and adding equipment to benefit these communities has really given my life a deeper purpose after football.”
Even while Crouch operates a recreation company where he grew up, football remains prominent in his mind.
“I had never been to Arizona prior to the Fiesta Bowl. It was awesome, the weather was super nice, we had some fun practices, and I really enjoyed playing there,” Crouch said. “It was just a very good time, I was 19 years old and we were enjoying ourselves as college athletes. We came out with a great victory over the defending national champions.”
The 2000 Fiesta Bowl featured the No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers against the previous year’s national champion (won at the Fiesta Bowl) and No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers. Crouch went 9-15 for 148 yards and a touchdown as the Cornhuskers captured a 31-21 victory.
In the second half, the Cornhuskers dominated in the trenches with touchdown drives of 96 and 99 yards to cap off an 11-1 season. Crouch was named the Offensive Player of the Game.
“At the end holding up the trophy on the field with your teammates, that was one of the fondest memories of my career,” Crouch said. “It was an honor to play alongside those guys and to play in a bowl game that goes down in history.”
Crouch concluded his college career a season later. At the helm of Nebraska’s option offense, Crouch completed 105 of 189 passes for 1,510 yards and seven touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns.
He earned college football’s most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy, given to the most outstanding collegiate football player.
Crouch put together one of the most prolific careers in college football history. Now, he works daily with a newly ignited passion.
“Working to provide sports equipment in these surrounding regions is the goal that drives our company every day. Communicating and executing have been essential for me both on the field and in the business world,” Crouch said. “Operating this business has been a blessing for me and my family.”