Whoever speaks with Mike Crowley is prey to his fiercely contagious smile. A storyteller through and through and someone who genuinely enjoys making others laugh, Crowley is also known as the ASU football “Tee Guy,” a moniker he couldn’t be happier to sport.
Starting as the manager of the football team when he was a freshman in 1990, Crowley quickly became an integral personality on the ASU athletics staff. However, it wasn’t until his first time running out to grab the tee that he realized his true calling.
“[So the first time] I jog out, jog back and start getting booed. So I thought, ‘Oh my God, what am I supposed to do?!’”
So the next time he ran a bit faster. Still not getting the response he wanted, he decided what his trick would be.
“Then I go, ‘Well, okay. Now I’m just going to start doing a flip,’” says Crowley. “So I ran out, ran back and did a flip and they started cheering.”
Unfortunately, for Crowley, ASU’s high scoring meant that he was flipping quite a bit and his back was suffering. By the time the ’96 season came along, the flipping was shut down because they were “afraid [he]wouldn’t get up.”
In lieu of the flip, Crowley decided to grab the tee during an all-out sprint—which fans noticed and began timing him, occasionally alongside a “Tee Guy” chant. However it isn’t just the stands that are fans of Crowley, he prides himself in being a smiling face on the sidelines and someone to break the tension when things aren’t going as well as planned.
College Times sat down with Mike “Tee Guy” Crowley, a speech language pathology assistant during the week, to ask him a few questions about his love of football and his dedication to the Sun Devils. (Check out his license plate!)
CT: Approximately how long does it take you to run out and grab the tee?
Crowley: I’d say it probably takes around eight to 10 seconds.
About how many times a game do you have to retrieve the tee?
Easily four times. It can get to nine or 10 times out there though.
What do you do to prepare before a game?
I do a lot of stretches. When the team is warming up, you’ll see me stretching [and]doing whatever I have to, and then when we’re about to kick off, I do a little bit more stretching.
What do you love so much about football?
I think it’s just being part of the team and helping the equipment staff prepare. As the week goes on from Monday to Saturday, the stress level increases, so to [be]the court jester [and]come in and break the ice and not take it so seriously [means a lot].
Are you truly a Sun Devil for life?
Oh yeah. It’s even imprinted on my tooth. So I am a Sun Devil for life.