John Croyle
Class of 2002

Category: Distinguished Alabama Sportsman

Born: March 9, 1951
Birthplace: Gadsden, Alabama

Athlete - Humanitarian - Youth Benefactor


Born March 9, 1951, Gadsden, Ala He attended Gadsden High School where he became an All American in football and basketball. Signed to play football at the University of Alabama he was on three SEC championship teams, participated in three bowl games, was on the 1973 National Championship team and was chosen an All American. While at the University he realized the real need for a Christian Home for abused and neglected children. After graduation instead of pro football, he chose to follow his heart and use what he considered his God given talent, to help troubled young people. In 1974, land near Gadsden was purchased and Big Oak Boys Ranch was born in an old farmhouse with five boys. More than twenty-five years later his dream has grown to include not only Big Oak Boys Ranch, but also Big Oak Girls Ranch, and Westbrook Christian School; and his very successful story has received national attention. Many hundreds of troubled young people have been rescued from a life most people cannot comprehend and have been given a chance to live a normal life because of the vision of John Croyle and his ability to make it happen. He and his staff at the Big Oak Ranches are very special, and they are guided by a very special philosophy: A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house we lived in, the kind of car we drove or how much money we had in the bank, but the world may be different because you and I were important in the life of a child.


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