Coaching search Archive

Tom Crean is stuck in Bloomington forever

Not exactly. But Crean’s deal does include a provision that will theoretically keep him from jumping ship any time soon:

Under a preliminary deal between Crean and the university, Crean would owe $3 million if he resigns in the first three years of an eight-year contract. The amount lowers to $2 million in years four and five. It would be $1 million the last three years of the deal.

The obvious upshot here is that Crean is not only emotionally tied to Bloomington for the next eight years, he’s financially tied too. That’s good news for anyone worried that he might leave if the NCAA slaps serious sanctions on the program, but that seemed unlikely anyway. When one takes a job like IU under the current circumstances, that’s a pretty obvious agreement to a long-term rebuild. Plus, Crean isn’t a program-jumper anyway. But I guess a little extra financial incentive doesn’t hurt.

For more on the specifics of Crean’s deal, check out the Basketblog, which managed to get a copy of the deal’s Memo of Understanding. (For what it’s worth, Memorandum of Understanding always makes me laugh — it sounds like some sort of new-age, progressive educational classroom theory.)

Tom Crean the choice for Indiana

crean233444.jpgAndy Katz of ESPN broke the story this afternoon and its a done deal: Tom Crean will be the next head coach at Indiana. An Indiana trustee also confirmed Crean’s hiring to the Associated Press as did Director of Media Relations J.D. Campbell.

He will be officially announced at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday morning in the Hoosier Room.

Crean, 42, just completed his ninth season as the head coach of Marquette. In 2003, behind the play of Dwyane Wade, the Golden Eagles went to the Final Four and lost to eventual runner-up Kansas. This past season, Marquette beat Kentucky in the first round before falling to Stanford.

Before leaving for Marquette, Crean was Tom Izzo’s top assistant at Michigan State and recruited many of the players that eventually cut down the nets in Indianapolis in 2000 for the Spartans. He also spent time as an assistant at Pittsburgh and Western Kentucky. He is a 1989 graduate of Central Michigan.

While it’s not yet known if Crean will bring his current staff to IU, a likely addition would be his top assistant at Marquette, former Ball State head coach Tim Buckley. Buckley was originally on Crean’s staff at Marquette before coaching at Ball State for six seasons. Buckley then went to Iowa as an assistant to Steve Alford before returning to Marquette.

One interesting nugget on Buckley is that he started Marquette’s interest in Wade after discovering him at an AAU Tournament. Wade was the sixth man on his AAU team when Buckley first saw him play and played a big part in bringing him to Marquette.

For PostmanE’s reaction on Crean’s hiring head over to The Dagger on Yahoo! Sports…

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ITH Super Happy Fun Time Coaching Search: Anthony Grant

agrant.jpgKelvin is out the door and Dan is not our man, so that can only mean one thing: It’s coaching search time! Here’s a look at the candidates that could land in Bloomington. We’ll give you the pros, the cons and the bottom line. This afternoon: Virginia Commonwealth’s Anthony Grant.

Pros: The 40-year old Grant spent 10 years with Billy Donovan as an assistant before accepting the head coaching gig at VCU in April of 2006. At Florida, he was Donovan’s right hand man and was the lead recruiter for many of the players who led the Gators to back-to-back titles. In two seasons at VCU, Grant is 52-14 and in 2007, his Rams reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a win over Duke. Grant would be a long-term solution and his prowess in the recruiting world could help return top talent to Bloomington. In his time at Florida, he helped bring nine McDonald’s All-Americans and four first round NBA draft picks into the program.

Cons: Like some of the other candidates we’ve profiled, Grant’s lack of head coaching experience above the mid major level might be frowned upon by the “blue ribbon” committee. On the surface, he doesn’t seem to have any ties to the state of Indiana or to the Big Ten having played at Dayton and having coached his entire career in Florida and on the east coast. When LSU got rid of John Brady in February, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Grant would land in Baton Rouge, but LSU may be heading in a different direction with its search opening up the possibility for IU interest.

Bottom line: If IU decides to go with an up and coming coach, they’d be hard pressed to find a better resume than Grant’s. He was an instrumental part of Florida’s back-to-back national championship and helped Donovan build the program from relative obscurity. Most speculation has him ending up in the SEC, but with South Carolina moving towards Darrin Horn and LSU interest possibly waning, Grant could get a look and some consideration from the decision makers in Bloomington.

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ITH Super Happy Fun Time Coaching Search: Mike Montgomery

montgomery.jpgKelvin is out the door and Dan is not our man, so that can only mean one thing: It’s coaching search time! Here’s a look at the candidates that could land in Bloomington. We’ll give you the pros, the cons and the bottom line. This morning: Mike Montgomery.

Pros: Montgomery spent 26 years as a head coach in college before leaving Stanford in 2004 for the Golden State Warriors. He lasted two seasons before being fired in August of 2006. Montgomery’s career record in the college ranks is 547-244 and in 1998, he led the Cardinal to their first Final Four in 56 years. He is one of just six coaches to receive the John Wooden “Legends of Coaching” Lifetime Achievement Award joining Denny Crum, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Dean Smith and Lute Olsen. While in Golden State, he had former IU standout Keith Smart on his staff and it would be interesting to see if he’d bring Smart along if he lands in Bloomington.

Cons: At 61, there are serious concerns about how long of a tenure Montgomery would be able to have at IU. His age could pose a problem in recruiting as competing schools could use it against him to cast doubt on how much longer he’ll be around. He’s also a west coast guy as he’s spent his entire head coaching career in Montana and California.

Bottom line: Montgomery would have been a good hire about 10 years ago and could be a steal for a lower tier program looking to drum up some interest. His age will clearly work against him and rightfully so: IU needs a coach to build the program and sustain it. Hiring a 61-year old would be a short term fix to a situation that clearly requires a long term solution. Steer clear of Monty.

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ITH Super Happy Fun Time Coaching Search: Brad Brownell

brownell.jpgKelvin is out the door and Dan is not our man, so that can only mean one thing: It’s coaching search time! Here’s a look at the candidates that could land in Bloomington. We’ll give you the pros, the cons and the bottom line. This morning: Wright State’s Brad Brownell.

Pros: At first glance, Brownell might not look like much of a candidate to be the next Indiana coach. He’s never won a game in the NCAA Tournament (he’s 0-3) and his head coaching gigs to date are at UNC-Wilmington and Wright State. However, he’s won 20+ games in two consecutive seasons as the lead man in Dayton including taking the Raiders to their first NCAA bid since 1993 a season ago. The 39-year old Brownell was born in Evansville and graduated from Harrison high school where he was a teammate of Calbert Cheaney. His career record sits at 127-60.

Cons: Based on name value, Brownell probably won’t excite many IU fans and his hiring could get a head scratching reaction from the national media. His record is more than adequate, but will it translate from the mid-major level to the Big Ten? I’m not sure a NCAA Tournament win is a prerequisite to land the job, but Brownell won’t get any points from the committee in that department.

Bottom line: While he’s probably a sleeper to land in Bloomington, there’s no doubt Brownell would be interested in the opportunity and his record indicates he could succeed. The quick turnaround he’s orchestrated at Wright State is impressive and at 39, he’s young enough to build the program for the long haul. At the minimum, if the committee decides to interview multiple candidates, Brownell deserves a shot to say his piece.

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Bennett: “I am not going to pursue the Indiana job”

bennett.jpgAccording to a report by Vince Grippi of the Spokesman Review, Washington State head coach had preliminary talks with Indiana and has decided not to take it any further. In other words, he’s not coming to IU.

Indiana University called. Tony Bennett answered. He listened. Then he decided to stay put.

“I had an exploratory conversation with Indiana,” said Bennett Sunday afternoon, “and I am not going to pursue the Indiana job.”

Bennett said Indiana called Saturday evening to gauge his interest. He didn’t say whom he talked with, but added “they made contact last night and they went through the proper procedures by contacting (WSU athletic director) Jim Sterk and, like I said, I had an exploratory conversation with them.”

So it’s on to the next option for Indiana and it’s not clear at this time just who that might be. Two of everybody’s early favorites, Bennett and Sean Miller of Xavier, are likely out of the picture. We’ll continue to keep you posted as news is reported or if we hear anything of interest.

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Rumors, rumors everywhere

There’s been no shortage of reports today regarding Tony Bennett and the Indiana job. First, it was Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports reporting that IU offered the job to Bennett. Then, you had Andy Katz of ESPN come back with a contradicting story that IU had not contacted him with a quote from Bennett that said as much. If that wasn’t enough Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline weighed-in with his side of things and told us we’ll know if Bennett is the man within 24 hours.

A lot of you have commented asking for my take on things, so here it goes:

First, it’s important to remember that Goodman, Katz and Parrish are all trying to break this story. After all, it’s a pretty big one. Since they’re not bound to the rules of normal print media, they’re going to write about anything they feel is legitimate information from a good source. As far as Bennett telling Katz that he hasn’t talked to Indiana, what do you expect him to say? That he’s in negotiations and will arrive in Bloomington tomorrow? That’s not how it works, folks. Katz is a very good reporter, but he’s been wrong before (see his report a few years back that Steve Alford was going to Missouri). I do believe that Indiana has made contact with either Bennett or his representatives to gauge his interest. And he’s probably interested.

I can’t think of a good reason for Bennett to stay at Washington State. No offense to what Bennett has done there or the fans of the program, but let’s be honest, it’s not a destination job. Indiana is a destination and given Bennett’s ties to the Big Ten and the prestige of the program, he’d be foolish not to give it serious consideration. On the surface, he seems to be an ideal fit for the situation.

I have been told by multiple people that IU would like to have a coach in place before the Final Four, so whether or not Bennett is the man, we should know a lot more in the coming days. Until then, stay tuned…

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Goodman: IU offers job to Bennett

tbennett4456.jpgAccording to Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com, IU has offered its head coaching position to Washington State head coach Tony Bennett. Here are the details:

Indiana offered its men’s basketball coaching job to Tony Bennett one day after his Washington State team was knocked out of the NCAA tournament, a pair of sources told FOXSports.com.

The names that had surfaced were Bennett, Xavier’s Sean Miller, Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon and Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings. However, the Hoosiers’ administration wasted little time in making a play for Bennett — who may also draw interest from other jobs — including LSU and California.

I really don’t know what to make of this report. It would seem to me the “blue ribbon” committee would at least want to talk to some of the coaches still remaining in the tournament to gauge interest in the job. Perhaps they’ve already done that via representatives. Also, Goodman reported that IU had fired Kelvin Sampson about a month ago and that report turned out to be false.

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Xavier AD says Miller isn’t going to Indiana; Crean won’t comment on opening

smiller.jpgIn the constant search for any and all information relating to the coaching opening at IU, I just came across some more information on Xavier coach Sean Miller. According to Rick Bozich’s blog on The Louisville Courier-Journal, Sean Miller told Xavier AD Mike Bobinski that he won’t be going to Bloomington:

Just talked to Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski. Asked him if he was worried that he might lose his basketball coach, Sean Miller, to Indiana after Xavier’s marvelous NCAA Tournament run finally ends.

“No,” Bobinski said.

Miller and Indiana have been mentioned as a possibile marriage. But Bobinski said it’s not going to happen. Why?

“Because he (Miller) told me so,” Bobinski said.

Also, Marquette coach Tom Crean didn’t jump at the chance to comment on the IU opening, according to Bozich:

I also asked Marquette coach Tom Crean about the Indiana opening Thursday night before Western Kentucky’s game against UCLA. I’ve know Crean for 15 years, but it’s fair to say he was not a big fan of my question.

This is what Crean said: “I’ve got no idea (who the next coach at Indiana will be). It’s out of my area of jurisdiction.”

I’ve got to be honest: I was really enamored with the possibility of getting Miller to Bloomington, but things aren’t looking good here. As far as Crean is concerned, I’m really indifferent. If we had to settle for him after exhausting several options, I would embrace his hiring and live with it. But he’s definitely not in my top five.

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ITH Super Happy Fun Time Coaching Search: John Calipari

p1_coachcal.jpgKelvin is out the door and Dan is not our man, so that can only mean one thing: It’s coaching search time! Here’s a look at the candidates that could land in Bloomington. We’ll give you the pros, the cons and the bottom line. This afternoon: Memphis’s John Calipari.

Pros: John Calipari is a proven, lifetime winner at the collegiate level. His all-time record is 409-135, and while that number is inflated by the easy 20-ish wins Memphis picks up in Conference USA every year, the fact that Memphis is in a position to cruise through their conference so easily is solely thanks to Calipari’s program-building. Memphis doesn’t just run through C-USA — they are a perennial national contender, because Calipari might be the best recruiter in the country.

Once Calipari assembles his talent, his Memphis Attack offense (derived from Vance Walberg’s dribble-drive motion offense) is one of the most exacting, difficult offensive styles in the country. It forces teams to isolate each player defensively and dares them to stop Chris Douglas-Roberts or Derrick Rose from getting to the hole. The notion that players like that might one day be running Cal’s DDM offense in Assembly Hall is enough to make an uptempo hoops fan’s mouth water. (Hint: My mouth is watering.)

Cons: It’d be disingenuous to say Calipari’s near-legendary recruitment process always seems above-board. At the very least, he’s an admitted and open associate of William Wesley, and while that’s not a violation — Wesley’s a “friend of the program,” surely no different from many IU boosters — Wesley also happens to have a strange, iconic relationship with young talent. The upshot of this is that a Calipari IU program would be stocked with the best talent in the country. The downside is a nuclear scenario of someday finding out the creepy ways that talent got there.

Bottom Line: Calipari might be interested in the IU job, and the Hoosiers should give him at least a cursory look, but at the end of the day IU’s squeamishness about Calipari’s recruiting undertones will probably prevent them from getting too serious.

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