Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce: On Tom Crean and tradition

Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce: On Tom Crean and tradition:

The first thing Al McGuire taught Tom Crean when Crean took over at Marquette was not to worry about competing against the past. “He told me, ‘You don’t have to worry about matching up with what I did,’” Crean said. That was why he came to know Rick Majerus, whose passing so moved him over the weekend. That also freed him up, and enabled him to honor the past while creating a present. He has the same job here now, with a team that might just be good enough to do it, and you can’t help but wonder why history has to be such a burden. There are blessings to it as well, if you just know where to look.

  • DeeLyle

    Interesting read. We’ve all said it before, but we are truly blessed to have someone like Tom Crean running the show. I’ve looked back at the articles posted when we were searching for a new head coach and we could have gone so many different ways. We are extremely fortunate to have chosen the Tom Crean path.

  • jermhoosierfan

    At the time, it was reported just how bare the team was with all the defections that happened. We certainly got the right coach for this era of IU basketball. I love that CTC shows ton of respect to those players who have made IU the blue blood that it is by bringing in the former players like the 1953 Championship team. He doesn’t have to do that, but he shows his current players what they are playing for. They are not just playing for themselves and the student body, but they are also playing as a representation of what made IU great. It also shows that when you win a NCAA Championship at IU, you will be imortalized.

    I loved the respect made to Al McGuire and Rick Majarus. McGuire was a real class act. I loved listening to his commentary doing games in the late 80′s and 90′s. I have a feeling that Crean will wear Knight down in coming back in the next year or 2. If this team does win a championship by either the 1976 standard or 1987 standard (i.e. undefeated or 3-4 losses), I think he will want to come back specially if they go undefeated.

  • chadacook

    Apart from having to look up “amanuensis”, that is a wonderful piece of writing about a sad reality that, for the good of IU basketball, has to be set right. The guy mentions Oladipo’s wingspan. I wish I could find it, but there’s a picture I’ll never forget of Bobby Wilkerson from the ’76 team. It was taken from under the basket and shows a completely, insanely intense Wilkerson, arms spread wide, staring full-bore into the face of an opponent (memory tells me it was Steve Grote of Michigan) who’s putting the ball inbounds. Having fully experienced that season, to me that photo is iconic of all that IU did then, under a coach who at that time everyone was just beginning to realize was a basketball genius and Moses-type leader (not kidding) who was set to lead IU out of a basketball wilderness it had been in for a long time. Bobby Knight did that in ’76, continued it in ’81 and punctuated the whole thing in ’87. IU basketball needed his leadership then – it is almost miraculous that he showed up just when he did and then accomplished all that he did.

    The writer talks about Al McGuire and Rick Majerus and the wholesome continuity of Marquette basketball as exemplified by the relationship that Tom Crean had with those two men. What comes out in how Tom Crean is quoted is how perfectly he understands what relationships mean in Milwaukee – the interpersonal relationships the three coaches had, and the institutional relationship that Mcquire and Majerus maintained there by mentoring Tom Crean and being present, off stage. The Marquette program can’t compare with Indiana’s basketball. But look what they have that we don’t.

    After a very sad period of his career’s decline at IU, culminating in bizarre behavior that I don’t think I’ll ever understand, Bobby Knight was fired and by his choice alone is completely outside the family of IU basketball. Rick Majerus just died, but Marquette basketball is fully intact. I wonder when Bobby Knight eventually passes away whether his relationship with and to IU basketball will have been restored. If this doesn’t happen, it will be an enduring tragedy for IU basketball. I think Tom Crean understands that and is ready to smooth the way for Bobby Knight’s return. I hope Coach Knight can find a way to help make that happen.

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