Tom Crean speaks publicly for first time since IU firing

  • 03/21/2017 1:48 pm in

Tom Crean, who was fired on Thursday after nine seasons at Indiana, spoke publicly for the first time since being dismissed to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.

You can read the entire piece at this link, but here are some of the highlights:

· Crean told Thamel that his agent contacted him Wednesday night about his job status with the Hoosiers, but based on the wording of the piece, it doesn’t sound like he was informed of his dismissal until Thursday. Crean declined to meet with Athletic Director Fred Glass. On Thursday, he and his family went to Florida for spring break.

· On his feelings towards Indiana: “I love Indiana. I loved it here. That’s not going to change. You can’t go loving something every day for nine years and then suddenly hate it. I hope Indiana wins that national championship. And another one. I really do.”

· Crean doesn’t have any regrets, according to this passage:

Crean admits that in hindsight there’s plenty he’d have done differently, as he pointed out how the lack of graduate transfers on the market slowed his rebuilding process. Crean said he’d have made different recruiting and staffing decisions and also would have done small things like give free coaches clinics as soon as he’d arrived. But in terms of regrets, he said he has none: “Not at all. I wanted to win a national championship here as bad as any fan, former player or student could have ever possibly imagined.

· Crean told Thamel that he’s looking to be back on the sidelines as soon as possible, preferably by next season.

· Crean declined to discuss his feelings or dive into his relationship with the administration at Indiana:

Crean declined to delve into his feelings on the administration at Indiana. He hasn’t met with or spoken to Glass since the decision was made. But Crean used the word alignment nine different times during the interview when talking about the future, essentially alluding to what was missing without saying it.

· Crean revealed how he informed the 15 members of Indiana’s team of the news:

He said the most difficult part came with individually texting the 15 members of his team on Thursday. He refused to address the news by group text but knew he couldn’t get through 15 phone calls. “This will probably hit me more,” he said. “It hit me doing the texting. I don’t have my team anymore. I have my team. I have my family. But it’s different. I want to get back to the court.”

Filed to:

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Yes, they do. I was trying to be a little cheeky. I didn’t want to get hung up on the word “unreasonable” or “unrealistic.” Instead, we got hung up on Lofty.

  • Aha, I see where part of our disagreement comes from. I’m not concerned only, or even specifically, about the Harbaughs. Rather, I’m bothered most about the general narrative being spun by the media, of which the Harbaughs’ comments are just a part. Sports Illustrated has been pushing this “IU is crazy and unreasonable” narrative in a few stories, including specifically their publishing the Harbaughs’ comments, and some other media outlets are doing the same. That’s the narrative I’m talking about, and the Harbaughs are just a part of it.

    So, sure, I expect those closest to TC to come to his defense. But at the same time, I’m not going to be so naive as to think they’re not doing it at least in part to leverage a new position for TC. And it definitely plays into the general narrative that I’ve talked about elsewhere about how IU and its fan base is so unreasonable, and that firing TC was wrong because of it.

  • Well, as long as we agree in the end on the terms we’re using, all is right with the world. 🙂

  • Aaron Anderson

    I grew up worshiping Bobby Knight, IU basketball, motion offense, back screens, and man to man defense. I “protested” when Knight was fired. I have always loved IU, and I always will.
    At this point, Tom Crean is my favorite IU basketball coach. He did things right for his players and family. He brought in some of my favorite players and provided me with some of my favorite moments. I will always be a Crean fan and hope both he and IU win multiple titles in the future!!!
    I hope that we find the right Coach to build on what Coach Crean has started, and I hope he lands at a school that supports him fully. As far as I am concerned he is a Hoosier for life and will always have my support and respect.
    Thank you Tom Crean.

  • Doug Wilson

    Thanks Tom Crean! You will always go down in IU history as the guy who had the guts to coach IU after it was destroyed.

  • Fifer39

    Look at every single reason/excuse he gives for what has transpired:
    – lack of grad transfers
    – should have made different recruiting decisions
    – should have made different staffing decisions
    – should have held coaching clinics (?!)
    – repeatedly denies ‘failure’ on any level but has to focus on getting over the ‘betrayal’
    – all that stuff about ‘alignment’
    – the final quote, “We’re never going to look at failure being a part of this decision.”

    So nothing about playing some defense, taking care of the ball, making adjustments, etc – all the things that have just so obviously plagued us throughout his tenure. I’ve never been a Crean hater but I honestly think the man is deluded and until he does recognise the extent to which ‘failure’ did actually play a part in his downfall, I don’t think he will ever really accept the decision – or go on to be a better coach.

  • I have no problem with mid major coaches who have proven themselves. Miller and Mack don’t belong in that category. Stevens was a proven commodity. Mark Few has proven himself, and is the only homerun mid major hire, but he’s not interested. Marshall has proven himself, but has personality flaws. Gambling on mid major potential is… Gambling. I’d rather spend the extra and get the sure thing.

  • bball at nick’s

    Shame on me!

  • Bankshot

    I said in November OF 2015 that crean was a mediocre coach and would never get I.U. to the final four. I was blasted by the ITH regulars. Well, it’s march 2017 and time has proven me right. Crean would make a decent Indiana high school coach.

  • Guyton25

    Crean is a great mid-major coach. He thrives when he can recruit a #80 recruit at a conference where that’s like a top 20 recruit, because he then develops that player into a high level player in a couple years. Here, he was expected to land top recruits and coach them. He wasn’t used to recruiting those kinds of players so he recruited players he can coach and then found out at this level that means a successful year every other year at best. The top recruits he did land were all big men he couldn’t develop or coach properly (Zeller, Vonleh, Bryant).

    I think the most common opinion I’ve heard about Crean over the past 5 years is that his ceiling is lower than the Final Four. It just sucks that his passion and love for IU and Bloomington only ended up bringing him and IU disappointment and heartbreak. I’ll never forget the “It’s Indiana” and the video of all the fans swarmed around Crean in the halls of Assembly Hall after that top 25 win over Illinois in his 2nd or 3rd year.

  • Jim Miller

    stay classy

  • Koko

    Sources? A big fat generality don’t you think? Specifics please. When did he tell the team he was going to be fired?
    When did he turn down an offer to coach in the NBA? What team?

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Do you think that he has to come out and say, “Yup, I failed. Look at my record…abysmal” in order to have accepted what happened?

    He’s owning up to his past mistakes, just not in the manner you would prefer.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    See, I find SI nearly irrelevant. In order for them to be relevant, they have to be provocative.

  • Fifer39

    He’s owning up to past mistakes that were really about the deficiencies of others. I’m not expecting self-flagellation, just a little humility and some indication that he accepts that some of this was on him will do.

  • And who would that be? Stevens and Donovan are the only sure things, what other sure thing is out there that would come? Only sure things would be major coaches with proven success, like when NC got Williams but that’s not happening here. Name the elite college coaches, Coach K, Izzo, Williams, Self, Few, Calipari, Wright, maybe Bennett…..none of them are coming so we can either take a guy that’s done very well and has potential or someone like Alford whose past hasn’t been all that great and its not even a given we can get him.

  • The sure things I’m talking about are Stevens, Donovan, and Few. All are long shots, but money talks. Sure they tell media they’re not interested, but if we set the bar at Coach K’s salary of nearly $8m/yr, that’s 6x Few’s salary and 3x Steven’s salary. It’s easy to rebuff a hypothetical “will you leave your team to join IU”, but when you have a serious offer with that kind of money on the table and you have your family and your children’s futures under consideration, it’s a whole different matter.

  • marcusgresham

    I personally don’t care what his religion is–don’t even care if he has one–I just want him to be a good coach and a good person.

  • Creek0512

    Crean was doomed by the same thing that doomed Davis, consistency. In his 9 seasons coaching Indiana, 3 were terrible, 2 were bad, 1 was meh, and 3 were really good.

  • HenryHansen

    You mean the final four because of Dwyane Wade?

  • HoosierOne

    The goal every single season should be two win the conference title, conference tournament, and the national championship. Is it likely you’ll win it every single year….no….but it should always be the goal. I would assume the Patriots go into every season with a goal of winning the super bowl.

  • HoosierOne

    Reminds me of how everyone said the Big10 was weak all year. ESPN was the main pusher of this hype…..ESPN makes a lot of money off the ACC though too.

  • HoosierOne

    Firing someone before having a replacement is a dangerous. Still having a hard time understanding that strategy. Glass will make or break his career with this next hire.

  • Exactly. Can you imagine Belichick saying, “You know, it’s cool if we don’t make the playoffs next season. Let someone else win the Superbowl for a change.”

  • Jonny McClain

    did anyone else find the comments about starbucks and diet cokes odd? was that a jab at the coach in an otherwise nice piece?

  • John Mathias

    I understand that Stevens is a long shot according to every single media outlet and fan in the country but in reality nobody knows how he really feels. Joe Blow writer at ESPN has zero idea what he is thinking.

    Bottom line is that he still has to overcome King Crybaby for atleast the next 6 years just for the right to play for an NBA championship (James isnt leaving the East so shut that argument down here). If he leaves now and it doesn’t work out at IU every single NBA team will be salivating to bring him back to the league. He will have a blank check from every single owner. His NBA coaching stock is at its peak right now.

    Not saying he is coming but I do not believe the hype from any writer, they know about as much as we do. And save your time typing out the argument of “he said he will be there”. What do you expect him to say when his team is in the heat of the NBA season/playoff chase?

    At the end of the day he is not unlike most of us on this message board. He loves IU and might just jump at the chance to coach his childhood team. Nobody knows. We shall see.

  • MPS

    A big year for AD Fred Glass. He fires both the football and basketball in the same academic year. He plans to hire a basketball coach who will win an NCAA title. To fire Coach Crean in a year in which his top senior never got on the floor due to injury and also losing his most talented player for the final 15 games is shortsighted. After rebuilding the program from the swamp, Coach Crean deserved more from IU. Watch the player exodus. Watch the new recruits runaway. How many coaches will pass on the opportunity to coach the Hoosiers? Thank you Coach Crean! Thank you to the players of the Tom Crean era! God Bless!

  • Silly talk,they aren’t coming and if that’s your expectation then you’re going to be disappointed.

  • Not my expectations at all, but we’re talking about sure things, and those guys are the sure things. Everyone else is a gamble. It would be irresponsible of Glass not to try his hardest to recruit all 3 of them. Wasted effort? Probably, but why not try?