Indiana fires Tom Crean after nine seasons

  • 03/16/2017 12:18 pm in

Tom Crean, who led Indiana to two Big Ten regular season championships and three Sweet Sixteen appearances, was fired on Thursday.

Crean, who took over in Bloomington in April of 2008 with the program under NCAA sanctions, was 166-135 in nine seasons.

Athletics Director Fred Glass announced the decision in a press release.

“After deliberative thought and evaluation, including multiple meetings with Tom about the future, I have decided to make a change in the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” Glass said. “Tom Crean brought us through one of the most challenging periods in IU basketball history, led his players to many successes in the classroom and on the court and represented our university with class and integrity. While winning two outright Big Ten titles in five years and being named Big Ten Coach of the Year, Tom worked tirelessly to develop great young men and successful teams. However, ultimately, we seek more consistent, high levels of success, and we will not shy away from our expectations. Tom is a good man and a good coach and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for his many positive contributions to Indiana basketball. We wish him well.

“The national search for our new coach begins immediately. The Board of Trustees and the President have expressly delegated to me the responsibility and authority for this search and hire. While I will not be establishing a formal search committee or advisory committee, I will consult with basketball experts from around the country and throughout the State of Indiana, including many former Indiana University basketball players. The expectations for Indiana University basketball are to perennially contend for and win multiple Big Ten championships, regularly go deep in the NCAA tournament, and win our next national championship—and more after that. We will identify and recruit a coach who will meet these expectations.”

Crean began the 2015-2016 season on several hot seat lists, but won the outright Big Ten regular season championship and beat Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Hoosiers started the 2016-2017 as one of the nation’s top teams and beat Kansas 103-99 in overtime in the Armed Forces Classic to begin the regular season. Indiana also beat North Carolina in November, but the season quickly went downhill from there.

Indiana lost three non-conference games – Fort Wayne, Butler and Louisville – and began the Big Ten season with a 0-2 record. Both losses came at home.

Sophomore forward OG Anunoby was injured in a 78-75 win at Penn State on Jan. 18. Indiana went on to finish with just a 7-11 record in the Big Ten and lost to Wisconsin, 70-60, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers missed the NCAA tournament in Crean’s ninth season, the second tournament miss in his last four seasons.

Indiana’s season ended in the NIT with a 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech on the road on Tuesday night, a game the Hoosiers should have played at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, but decided not to.

Ultimately Crean’s downfall at Indiana was largely tied to his inability to maintain consistent success. After winning just 28 games over his first three seasons, Indiana emerged back onto the national scene in 2011-2012 with the arrival of Cody Zeller.

The Hoosiers beat No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 10, 2011 in Bloomington and entered the national rankings for the first time under Crean. Indiana finished that season 27-9 and lost to eventual national champion Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen in Atlanta.

The following season, Zeller opted to return for his sophomore season and the Hoosiers began the season as a popular pick to win the national title. Indiana was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press top 25 for nine weeks and won the Big Ten regular season title outright with a thrilling 72-71 win at Michigan on March 10, 2013.

Indiana entered the 2013 NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed, but again fell in the Sweet Sixteen for a second straight season. The Hoosiers couldn’t solve Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and lost 61-50 to the Orange at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

The offseason brought change as Indiana graduated Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls and lost Zeller and Victor Oladipo as early entrants to the NBA. The arrival of a talented recruiting class – including five-star recruit Noah Vonleh – kept Indiana in the national conversation and ranked in preseason polls.

But the pieces never fit together and the Hoosiers missed the tournament, finishing 17-15. Indiana returned to the NCAA tournament in 2014-2015 after finishing just 9-9 in the Big Ten, but fell to Wichita State at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Over Crean’s last six seasons in Bloomington, he finished with a 67-51 record in Big Ten games, including the conference tournament.

Indiana will begin a national search for the 29th coach in program history.

Inside the Hall will have more on this developing story.

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  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    Maybe OG would stay if we bring back short shorts!

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    Certainly seems like Glass is trying to go about this the right way. Now let’s hope the perfect number comes up and the chips fall…

  • Zach

    Yes to Wilkes, HARD PASS to Alford

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  • MCPeePants

    “We don’t have to answer any more questions about Indiana or Butler, or Duke, or North Carolina,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge during Wednesday’s news conference.

    Said immediately following Stevens’ extension in 2016.

  • pcantidote

    You are quoting Ainge not Stevens. Most people would say that IU being so top of mind for Ainge is a “tell”.

  • IUMIKE1

    Then if you read the quotes by Stevens after he signed his latest contract you’ll want him even more, because that’s what he basically said (minus the IU part of course) when asked how he and the GM was able to get a new contract done so quickly.

  • IUMIKE1

    Gotta love photoshop…lol

  • IUMIKE1

    And if he does that, he doesn’t double down on that, yes, after it’s proven beyond a shred of a doubt that it never happened. Ok, ok, off of politics and back to bball. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Yes I do, his name is Father Winning. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Spot on as usual and so close to exactly what I’ve been thinking that it has to be scary for you to hear me say that.

    Same mailman or milkman…maybe ? lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Arch makes a real compelling take (just above this comment) on why Marshall should be strongly considered, IMHO

  • IUMIKE1

    Left out, never leaves Mom’s basement except to eat.

  • Arch Puddington

    Man, for your sake I hope not! I hope you are smarter and better looking than I am.

    That aside, we are clearly cut from the same cloth when it comes to basketball. And that is a good thing (I think).

  • IUMIKE1

    And our best chance to lure him away can’t be the run of the mill, oh you are the greatest, we just love you, approach. We also can’t include a pitch where a boatload of money is the first thing out of our mouth. Stevens isn’t all about the money and it isn’t the fore most thing in his decision making and with that in mind I’d even go as far as to say that it might be detrimental to our chances of getting him if we were to come in with money coming out of both barrels. I’d let him know that, under no circumstances is that part going to be a problem, and then let that part go.

    Was going say that you gotta make the call, but I think that you have to make the pitch in person rather than over the phone and you damn well better have thought long and hard about, not only what you’re going to say, but how you’re going to say it.

    One of the biggest reasons that he is such a desirable choice is that he is not your ordinary successful coach, and thus, unlike several other coaches (insert Calislimy here as example), successfully selling him on the idea of coming to IU will certainly require a very UNordinary approach.

  • IUMIKE1

    LOL, and here’s a participation trophy with a big blue ribbon pinned on it, now wipe those tears away.

  • IUMIKE1

    I understand what you’re saying and they are relevant points for someone that is on the other side of the decision that was made. There are a few reasons why I’m not seeing things as you are but I’ll just put this one out there. To borrow a phrase from you, history tells us that no team in the last decade or two has hung a banner that had a defense ranked lower than the best ranked defense Crean has ever had and while one really good point guard can make a lot of difference, that one player isn’t going to make that kind of difference.

  • IUMIKE1

    You_ do_ know that this Wed thru Sun are legal holidays…..don’t you ?

  • IUMIKE1

    My best friend’s son was recruited aggressively by him and played for him and that enabled me to be around him some, I have the same take on him as you do.

  • IUMIKE1

    LOL !! I think I’ll just roll with, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and throw in that the ” beholder ” can make the brains evaluation as well.

  • Neil Dixon

    It will if he is surrounded by talent, which Thomas was and this team also had great talent. I watched that 81 team and they were on the edge of extinction before Knight turned Thomas loose. This years team needed leadership. My God, they had two McDonalds all Americas on there and if you include Anunoby, three guys that will probably be NBA players but not one guy that could find his own butt with two hands when it came to leadership or the control and running of a team.
    I am hoping for the best. I only want what is best for IU but this whole thing is giving me bad feelings. It reminds me when they fired Davis. All those possibilities are out there and last time they came up with Kelvin Sampson.

  • Man, I’m a freelancer. I can make any day a holiday if I want — only I won’t make any money that way.

  • pcantidote

    I think his bank account contributes to the peace.