Ex-Huskie basketball coach awaits termination hearing

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Ex-Huskie basketball coach awaits termination hearing

Chad Kills Crow’s tenure as head basketball coach for the Pawhuska High School Huskies may have come to an end after just eight games.

A 1994 PHS graduate, Kills Crow was hired as the Huskies’ coach in July — shortly after leaving Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan., where he had served as head basketball coach for the previous five years.

Kills Crow coached Pawhuska’s boys team to a pair of victories in its eight games before the Christmas break. He was not on the bench when the Huskies returned to the court Jan. 4, however. At that time, Pawhuska Superintendent of Schools Landon Berry said that “nothing has been decided” regarding Kills Crow’s returning as head coach.

Berry proposed terminating Kills Crow’s employment at a Jan. 7 special meeting of the Pawhuska Board of Education. He recommended that action in a letter he presented to the board, but has not made public. Board members voted to have a a copy of Berry’s letter directed to Kills Crow. A notice containing information about due-process rights also was to be sent to the coach.

On Dec. 21 — two days after he last coached the Huskies in a game — Kills Crow was arrested on a public intoxication charge. That arrest, as well as another alcohol-related incident last fall, may have prompted the superintendent to suspend the 44-year-old coach (who turned 45 on Sunday).

Reportedly, the coach’s suspension is to remain in effect until a public hearing could be held on Berry’s recommendation to terminate the school district’s contract with the first-year PHS coach. Kills Crow’s two public drunkenness arrests were by Osage Nation Police and involved tribal charges, only.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 29, which would be after the current high school basketball season has been concluded. During the school district-initiated proceedings, Kills Crow is to be able to challenge issues cited by the superintendent in the termination letter. He also is allowed to have legal representation, school officials said. Original announcements indicated the hearing would begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Pawhuska Elementary School Cafeteria.

Longtime PHS assistant Mark Frye had continued to coach the Huskies after Kills Crow was suspended six games ago. At a meeting Monday night, school board members approved hiring Frye as the Huskies interim head coach. Frye has been assisted in the basketball coaching duties by a veteran area hoops coach, Dale Christenson, and young assistant coach Jamisson Cass, 2011 PHS grad who has been helping Huskie coaches since the season started two months ago.

Kills Crow was head basketball coach at Haskell from 20011 through the 2014-14 season, He had been an assistant at the college since 2009. Prior to that, he coached a high school team in Colorado. After graduating from PHS, Kills Crow continued his playing career at Haskell and Northeastern (Okla.) State.

Haskell was started in the latter 19th Century as a vocational training school for young American Indians. It has evolved as a vocational-technical school and junior college before becoming the four-year educational institution, Haskell Indian Nations University.

Kills Crow is of Lenape (Delaware) descent, in addition to being an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.