Nicholas Wyatt Crosby was born July 10, 1967, to Wyatt and Daisy Crosby in Spring Hill, Florida. Wyatt and Daisy were prominent real estate developers in the community. The Crosbys were active in local community groups, and Wyatt was an avid follower of his college team, the Florida Gators.
Nick was a good student, especially in English and history, and also enjoyed track and basketball from an early age. His sister Jennifer, born in 1969, was more social, and although the two had been close before adolescence, they drifted apart during high school, when Nick famously disrupted his sister’s Homecoming Queen bid by streaking the stage with his buddies.
Despite being placed on temporary academic probation for several such stunts, Nick’s good grades and athletic prowess made him a desirable college candidate. Nick accepted a full scholarship to Ole Miss – an act of rebellion that was the final straw for his father, who disowned him.
Nick matriculated in the fall of 1986 and shared a room in the athletes’ dorm with Kevin Gilmore, another scholarship student. When Kevin died in mysterious circumstances in late 1987, Nick was frequently contacted by police.
In addition to playing on the basketball team, Nick worked on the campus literary magazine, and served as its editor his senior year. In 1987 he was stripped of the Barry Hannah Fiction Prize due to suspected plagiarism, but he won the prize again uncontested in both his junior and senior years. Because of his prowess with words, Nick’s professors encouraged him to pursue a master's of fine arts in creative writing; but Nick decided to pursue a teaching career instead.
Nick’s college girlfriend, Beatrice Schanz, had graduated a year earlier and begun a PhD in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, Nick moved north to be with her and completed his teaching certificate. When the prestigious Chestnut Hill Academy offered him not only a high school teaching slot but the opportunity to serve as assistant basketball coach, Nick jumped at the chance. He was respected by his students and even more popular with team players, and took over as head coach in 1996. When Chestnut Hill’s team won the state championship in 1999, Nick dyed his hair blue and white for the rest of the school year, as he’d promised the team he would.
In early 1993, when Nick was 25, Beatrice discovered she was pregnant, and the couple decided to elope. When Mia Crosby was born, in November of 1993, Nick was overjoyed and sent photos and a letter to his parents and sister, inviting a reconciliation. Jennifer traveled to Philadelphia and stayed for a month, catching up with her brother and helping him and his wife adjust to their new arrival.
Despite the initial happiness Mia brought, the obligations and financial pressures of parenthood wore on Nick, and he began complaining about how the baby had come just as he’d been ready to return to his creative writing. A sympathetic colleague in the English department became the first of Nick’s affairs, but in the end, it was Beatrice who left Nick, in 2002, for a French linguistics professor with full tenure at Stanford. Beatrice won custody of Mia, who was not yet 10, and Nick’s daughter began a troubled bi-coastal adolescence, spending brief holiday periods and alternate summers with her father.
Beatrice and Nick remained cordial and tried their best to cooperate on Mia’s upbringing. In late 2009, Mia ran away from home with a college dropout five years her senior; after Nick and Beatrice spent a frantic month searching for her with the aid of local and federal law enforcement, Mia and her paramour turned up safe in Seattle, where her boyfriend’s social media company had just landed $70 million in venture capital. Nick and Beatrice flew to Seattle and reluctantly agreed to grant Mia emancipation. Since then, Mia has completed her GED independently and enrolled at the University of Washington.
In 2003, Nick accepted a position at the Taft School, in Watertown, Connecticut, again with dual responsibilities for teaching English and coaching basketball. Like most faculty members, he lived on campus, and served as a dormitory supervisor for two consecutive years. In 2007, one of Nick’s short stories was published in Zoetrope: All Story, and in 2008 he was accepted into a low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. He moved off the Taft campus and gave up his position as head basketball coach so he could focus on his writing. In 2009, he began dating a fellow MFA student who lives in New York, a divorcee with a daughter of her own. The couple announced their engagement on New Year’s Day, 2011.
Subscribe to read more