Reporting live from Tom Crean’s speech at Joe’s on Weed Street

  • 01/28/2009 11:05 am in

It’s 9:30 at night, around 45 minutes after he’s left the stage, and Tom Crean is drawing a basketball court on a napkin with a sharpie. A fan has just asked the first-year IU coach to teach him how to break a press — actually, I can’t be sure on this, because the Tom Petty and John Mellencamp blasting on the speakers in the back room hindered my hearing, but for the sake of this post, let’s just go with that — and so Crean is explaining. He’s drawing. He’s motioning with his hands. He’s showing how to throw the proper pass.

This is Tom Crean. Always on the move. Always working. Always shaking hands. Always signing autographs. He’s a bit like our new president in that way, except Hoosier Nation is considerably smaller than America, though there’s about equal struggle in each right now.

When Crean took the stage after new AD Fred Glass last evening –who I particularly enjoyed by the way — it was what you would expect. Times are tough, I’ve been frustrated many times, but we’re getting better. I will recruit the best players in the country. We’ll be back. You fans are great. The IU fanbase is the best in the country. We need a win tomorrow night against Northwestern, and your support is crucial.

But there were things I wasn’t expecting: It’s clear Crean has an impressive knowledge of Hoosier players past, as he rattled off names of players that were playing on video screens around him. He gets it, gets the history, but also sees the future. And then, he had a surprise for the hundreds in attendance: Calbert Cheaney. The all-time leading scorer in Big Ten history came to the stage and went to bat for Crean. Said he’s the man for this job, said ever since he met him, Crean has been asking him to help out in any way he can, help him contribute somehow.

I didn’t leave the bar feeling excited, or pumped up, or anything like that. The rally didn’t quite affect me in the typical way one would think it would. Instead, I left feeling relieved, feeling proud even. Tom Crean knows what it takes, and he knows how to do it the right way. In time, we will be Indiana again.

Amidst a season of epic failure, that’s about as good as it gets right now.

Crean’s entire speech from last evening at Joe’s can be heard right here:

[audio:crean1272009.mp3]

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  • jg

    I was in attendance as well and I have to say I mirror your feelings on the night. I got a chance to meet Coach, meet Calbert, and even talk to Fred Glass as his daughter is IU grad and a friend of my fiances whom they were in the same sorority. He is a great guy, very friendly, knowledgable and engaged me on questions about where IU alums watch IU sports here in Chicago.
    I guess last night was true closure for me on what has transpired over the past year. My thoughts are this. I know people love analyzing the game, our program, its players and looking forward to the future, but what Indiana basketball fans need to do is just take a step back and let this man and program go to work. Tom Crean IS DOING. He isn't hoping, wishing, wanting, HE IS DOING what he needs to do to make IU basketball what it once was. But most importantly, he wants to win for IU, and he wants to win for himself. This is his program now and I know he understands this more than anyone.

  • jg

    I was in attendance as well and I have to say I mirror your feelings on the night. I got a chance to meet Coach, meet Calbert, and even talk to Fred Glass as his daughter is IU grad and a friend of my fiances whom they were in the same sorority. He is a great guy, very friendly, knowledgable and engaged me on questions about where IU alums watch IU sports here in Chicago.
    I guess last night was true closure for me on what has transpired over the past year. My thoughts are this. I know people love analyzing the game, our program, its players and looking forward to the future, but what Indiana basketball fans need to do is just take a step back and let this man and program go to work. Tom Crean IS DOING. He isn't hoping, wishing, wanting, HE IS DOING what he needs to do to make IU basketball what it once was. But most importantly, he wants to win for IU, and he wants to win for himself. This is his program now and I know he understands this more than anyone.

  • jg

    I was in attendance as well and I have to say I mirror your feelings on the night. I got a chance to meet Coach, meet Calbert, and even talk to Fred Glass as his daughter is IU grad and a friend of my fiances whom they were in the same sorority. He is a great guy, very friendly, knowledgable and engaged me on questions about where IU alums watch IU sports here in Chicago.
    I guess last night was true closure for me on what has transpired over the past year. My thoughts are this. I know people love analyzing the game, our program, its players and looking forward to the future, but what Indiana basketball fans need to do is just take a step back and let this man and program go to work. Tom Crean IS DOING. He isn't hoping, wishing, wanting, HE IS DOING what he needs to do to make IU basketball what it once was. But most importantly, he wants to win for IU, and he wants to win for himself. This is his program now and I know he understands this more than anyone.

  • jg

    I was in attendance as well and I have to say I mirror your feelings on the night. I got a chance to meet Coach, meet Calbert, and even talk to Fred Glass as his daughter is IU grad and a friend of my fiances whom they were in the same sorority. He is a great guy, very friendly, knowledgable and engaged me on questions about where IU alums watch IU sports here in Chicago.
    I guess last night was true closure for me on what has transpired over the past year. My thoughts are this. I know people love analyzing the game, our program, its players and looking forward to the future, but what Indiana basketball fans need to do is just take a step back and let this man and program go to work. Tom Crean IS DOING. He isn't hoping, wishing, wanting, HE IS DOING what he needs to do to make IU basketball what it once was. But most importantly, he wants to win for IU, and he wants to win for himself. This is his program now and I know he understands this more than anyone.

  • CD

    I attended last night at Joe's as well and I could have done with a shorter speech from Crean only because he got his point across in the first 3 minutes. I was greatly impressed with Glass (who seemed even a little embarrassed when I asked him for an autograph) and his focus on making sure IU returns to what we've taken for granted for years – playing by the rules, actually having STUDENT-athletes that graduate and competing at a high level. It's comforting to see the train finally pointing back in the right direction.

  • CD

    I attended last night at Joe's as well and I could have done with a shorter speech from Crean only because he got his point across in the first 3 minutes. I was greatly impressed with Glass (who seemed even a little embarrassed when I asked him for an autograph) and his focus on making sure IU returns to what we've taken for granted for years – playing by the rules, actually having STUDENT-athletes that graduate and competing at a high level. It's comforting to see the train finally pointing back in the right direction.

  • CD

    I attended last night at Joe's as well and I could have done with a shorter speech from Crean only because he got his point across in the first 3 minutes. I was greatly impressed with Glass (who seemed even a little embarrassed when I asked him for an autograph) and his focus on making sure IU returns to what we've taken for granted for years – playing by the rules, actually having STUDENT-athletes that graduate and competing at a high level. It's comforting to see the train finally pointing back in the right direction.

  • CD

    I attended last night at Joe's as well and I could have done with a shorter speech from Crean only because he got his point across in the first 3 minutes. I was greatly impressed with Glass (who seemed even a little embarrassed when I asked him for an autograph) and his focus on making sure IU returns to what we've taken for granted for years – playing by the rules, actually having STUDENT-athletes that graduate and competing at a high level. It's comforting to see the train finally pointing back in the right direction.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    I was also lucky enough to catch last night's talk. Between the $2 pitchers of Coors Light and Calbert Cheaney making an appearance, it was a nice little precursor to tonight's romp up in Evanston.

    If there was one thing that I took away from his appearance, it was the energy that Crean exudes when he talks about the program. It truly was a relief to hear him talk about where we've been and where we are going.

    I also got to ask him what the deal is with his choice of Diet Coke or Coke during the game, to which he replied — 'During games, I need the high octane'

    Here’s hoping that Hoosier Nation is represented well tonight.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    I was also lucky enough to catch last night's talk. Between the $2 pitchers of Coors Light and Calbert Cheaney making an appearance, it was a nice little precursor to tonight's romp up in Evanston.

    If there was one thing that I took away from his appearance, it was the energy that Crean exudes when he talks about the program. It truly was a relief to hear him talk about where we've been and where we are going.

    I also got to ask him what the deal is with his choice of Diet Coke or Coke during the game, to which he replied — 'During games, I need the high octane'

    Here’s hoping that Hoosier Nation is represented well tonight.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    I was also lucky enough to catch last night's talk. Between the $2 pitchers of Coors Light and Calbert Cheaney making an appearance, it was a nice little precursor to tonight's romp up in Evanston.

    If there was one thing that I took away from his appearance, it was the energy that Crean exudes when he talks about the program. It truly was a relief to hear him talk about where we've been and where we are going.

    I also got to ask him what the deal is with his choice of Diet Coke or Coke during the game, to which he replied — 'During games, I need the high octane'

    Here’s hoping that Hoosier Nation is represented well tonight.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    I was also lucky enough to catch last night's talk. Between the $2 pitchers of Coors Light and Calbert Cheaney making an appearance, it was a nice little precursor to tonight's romp up in Evanston.

    If there was one thing that I took away from his appearance, it was the energy that Crean exudes when he talks about the program. It truly was a relief to hear him talk about where we've been and where we are going.

    I also got to ask him what the deal is with his choice of Diet Coke or Coke during the game, to which he replied — 'During games, I need the high octane'

    Here’s hoping that Hoosier Nation is represented well tonight.

  • Yeah, I only briefly touched on it in the post here, but Glass just seemed like a real down-to-earth cat. I was real impressed with him as well. The fact that he's trying to hold office hours to converse with students only strengthens that fact. Greenspan was so secretive and reserved about everything; Glass was enjoying a Bud Light with his fellow Hoosiers after Crean's speech last night.

    Sure, it was but one speech about five minutes in length and one sighting later in the evening, but sometimes that's all you need.

  • Yeah, I only briefly touched on it in the post here, but Glass just seemed like a real down-to-earth cat. I was real impressed with him as well. The fact that he's trying to hold office hours to converse with students only strengthens that fact. Greenspan was so secretive and reserved about everything; Glass was enjoying a drink with his fellow Hoosiers after Crean's speech last night.

    Sure, it was but one speech about five minutes in length and one sighting later in the evening, but sometimes that's all you need.

  • Yeah, I only briefly touched on it in the post here, but Glass just seemed like a real down-to-earth cat. I was real impressed with him as well. The fact that he's trying to hold office hours to converse with students only strengthens that fact. Greenspan was so secretive and reserved about everything; Glass was enjoying a drink with his fellow Hoosiers after Crean's speech last night.

    Sure, it was but one speech about five minutes in length and one sighting later in the evening, but sometimes that's all you need.

  • Yeah, I only briefly touched on it in the post here, but Glass just seemed like a real down-to-earth cat. I was real impressed with him as well. The fact that he's trying to hold office hours to converse with students only strengthens that fact. Greenspan was so secretive and reserved about everything; Glass was enjoying a drink with his fellow Hoosiers after Crean's speech last night.

    Sure, it was but one speech about five minutes in length and one sighting later in the evening, but sometimes that's all you need.

  • tn hoosierfan

    I can say after listening to this great man speak that he does get it. If you do not get fired up and feel so much pride and enthusiasm then you must be dead. As a Hoosier fan I am looking forward to the next few years and yes I will watch this team and hope for a win in the Big Ten this year. I have never felt so much pride over a losing team before, That is strange. I do not care after this past year the only way is up and we are headed there.
    GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • tn hoosierfan

    I can say after listening to this great man speak that he does get it. If you do not get fired up and feel so much pride and enthusiasm then you must be dead. As a Hoosier fan I am looking forward to the next few years and yes I will watch this team and hope for a win in the Big Ten this year. I have never felt so much pride over a losing team before, That is strange. I do not care after this past year the only way is up and we are headed there.
    GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • tn hoosierfan

    I can say after listening to this great man speak that he does get it. If you do not get fired up and feel so much pride and enthusiasm then you must be dead. As a Hoosier fan I am looking forward to the next few years and yes I will watch this team and hope for a win in the Big Ten this year. I have never felt so much pride over a losing team before, That is strange. I do not care after this past year the only way is up and we are headed there.
    GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • tn hoosierfan

    I can say after listening to this great man speak that he does get it. If you do not get fired up and feel so much pride and enthusiasm then you must be dead. As a Hoosier fan I am looking forward to the next few years and yes I will watch this team and hope for a win in the Big Ten this year. I have never felt so much pride over a losing team before, That is strange. I do not care after this past year the only way is up and we are headed there.
    GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • CutterInChicago

    I was there too. Heck, sounds like we were all there. Agree with most all the remarks below. Love Crean's energy and God Love Calbert Cheaney. I'm on-board with the direction they have things going.
    Anyway, just back from the IU v. Northwestern game. So very close… they have shown improvement the past 2 games.
    Go Hoosiers.

  • CutterInChicago

    I was there too. Heck, sounds like we were all there. Agree with most all the remarks below. Love Crean's energy and God Love Calbert Cheaney. I'm on-board with the direction they have things going.
    Anyway, just back from the IU v. Northwestern game. So very close… they have shown improvement the past 2 games.
    Go Hoosiers.

  • CutterInChicago

    I was there too. Heck, sounds like we were all there. Agree with most all the remarks below. Love Crean's energy and God Love Calbert Cheaney. I'm on-board with the direction they have things going.
    Anyway, just back from the IU v. Northwestern game. So very close… they have shown improvement the past 2 games.
    Go Hoosiers.

  • CutterInChicago

    I was there too. Heck, sounds like we were all there. Agree with most all the remarks below. Love Crean's energy and God Love Calbert Cheaney. I'm on-board with the direction they have things going.
    Anyway, just back from the IU v. Northwestern game. So very close… they have shown improvement the past 2 games.
    Go Hoosiers.

  • tn hoosierfan

    I can say after listening to this great man speak that he does get it. If you do not get fired up and feel so much pride and enthusiasm then you must be dead. As a Hoosier fan I am looking forward to the next few years and yes I will watch this team and hope for a win in the Big Ten this year. I have never felt so much pride over a losing team before, That is strange. I do not care after this past year the only way is up and we are headed there.
    GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • CutterInChicago

    I was there too. Heck, sounds like we were all there. Agree with most all the remarks below. Love Crean's energy and God Love Calbert Cheaney. I'm on-board with the direction they have things going.
    Anyway, just back from the IU v. Northwestern game. So very close… they have shown improvement the past 2 games.
    Go Hoosiers.