Cheaney leaving Indiana for assistant job at Saint Louis

  • 08/20/2013 9:23 pm in


Calbert Cheaney, the all-time leading scorer in the Big Ten and one of the best to ever wear an Indiana uniform, is leaving his position as director of basketball operations in Bloomington for an assistant coaching job at Saint Louis University.

Inside the Hall confirmed a report Tuesday evening by the Indiana Rivals site that Cheaney had accepted the position.

A spokesperson at Saint Louis also confirmed Cheaney’s hiring to Inside the Hall.

“It is bittersweet to leave Indiana,” Cheaney said in a release issued by Saint Louis on Wednesday. “Learning and building relationships with Coach (Tom) Crean, the IU staff and the players was an unbelievable experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

A major motivation in Cheaney’s decision to accept the job was the opportunity to get on the floor and work with players and also recruit, according to a source.

“Calbert played an invaluable role in the success we enjoyed the last two years and we are excited for what the future holds for him and his family,” Crean said in a release. “He brought a great deal to us and in turn, I think he gained valuable insight into the profession during his time at IU.

“He has come to have a strong desire to return to the floor coaching and can do so with someone he trusts and respects in Jim Crews. He will do an outstanding job and there is no doubt in my mind that he has a tremendous future coaching at any level.”

Cheaney joined Crean’s staff at Indiana on June 18, 2011.

The opportunity on the Saint Louis staff under Jim Crews, who led the Billikens to a 28-7 record and NCAA tournament appearance as an interim coach last season, became available when Jim Whitesell left for St. John’s back on August 6.

Crews, an Indiana alumnus, played on the 1976 NCAA championship team, the last undefeated champion in college basketball. Crews was also the coach at Evansville from 1985 through 1994 and recruited Cheaney, who played at Evansville Harrison, while serving as the head coach of the Purple Aces.

“I have had a great appreciation for Calbert as a player and person ever since I met him during his sophomore year in high school,” Crews said in a release. “He is of high character and has a great combination of work habits and work ethic. Calbert is very good at transferring his knowledge to the players he coaches, and he will fit in well with our coaching staff and players. We are excited to welcome him into the program.”

Cheaney was a three time All-American (1991,92, 93) for the Hoosiers who was named College Player of the Year and won both the Wooden and Naismith Awards and Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior.

He is the all-time leading scorer in Big Ten history with 2,613 points and led Indiana to a 105-27 record, a Final Four appearance in 1992 and a No. 1 ranking for most of the 1993 season.

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  • b_side

    You’re looking a little too deep into the word “solid”. He’s referring to Johnson, Whitehead, Goodluck, Humphrey, Robinson, Black, etc. I wouldn’t say we’re settling by any stretch of the imagination. Sure we wanted Lyles and Blackmon, and while their situations are outliers, you can’t recruit Top 5 classes every year (a la Kentucky) unless they’re all one-and-done. 5 star players want immediate playing and no competition.

    Depth is a two-way street sometimes. 2014 appears to be the first time in 4 years where we won’t have a McD’s All-American. I can get over that.

  • james

    You make a lot of great points and I pretty much agree with you. The religion thing can go both ways, it just depends on each particular kid. Some (like Black) are going to be all about it and it will work as a positive when recruiting them. Others might be put off or uncomfortable with it. It just depends on the kid.

    I definitely agree with you that the future is looking bright and while it sucks that Cheaney is leaving IU, if he wants to eventually be a head coach this might a good route for him to take. Good luck to Cheaney and let’s go Hoosiers!


    I’m with you on this one. 1) He probably WAS ready to not travel around so much when he FIRST got to IU, but old ways die hard. The itch was probably getting harder harder not to scratch as time went by.
    2) Maybe he had coaching in the back of his mind, felt like he had a pretty good grasp of that from a coaching perspective but wanted to get a look at coaching at the collegiate level without actually being an assistant coach and from a noncoaching angle, thus the job he took.
    3) Two years had passed, the offer came from someone that he knew, respected, had recruited him in high school and was an IU alum like himself, kinda like a whole bunch of things aligning all at the same time. Probably thought it better to accept a job with all of those things than possibly have to wait several years for one to open up again at IU.
    4) This way if he decides that coaching isn’t for him he can avoid all of the drama and rumors that would surely circulate if he got out of it at IU. You know, he couldn’t hack it, done something wrong, the head coach couldn’t get along with him cause Calbert wanted to do it the right way the IU way and the head coach didn’t, you know the usual stuff. lol
    5) Maybe he wanted to get his feet wet in the coaching game without everything he done being put under the microscope like it would have been at IU and get his coaching career started by jumping in the shallow end, so to speak, rather than into the coaching pressure cooker that is IU.

    I fail to see ANY smoke with this IMHO.

    Nobody, but a select few, will probably ever know all of the reasons why he took this job and isn’t that how it should be ?

  • Ole Man

    Are you honestly questioning my statement with my last line?
    I said it so as to make it clear I wasn’t on some religious witch hunt.

  • Ole Man

    I made a simple statement; and people are posting entire blogs of “logic and reasoning”. What does that tell you that so many feel a need to rush in to “excuse” this? And have to Make Up so many reasons?

  • Ole Man

    Excellent response. I put the Christian thought out there as a question. We here so much about CTC that it seems he’s almost evangelical.
    That has its place and time.


    It is more unusual for someone that, is young and wants to eventually be a head coach, to NOT be an assistant at more than one or two schools than it is for one to stay around the same program for long periods of time.

    Sorry but I have no fear that you will be able to tell me, I told you so, on this one, not in the least bit.

  • hoosierpapa

    Good luck to Calbert. Right time Right Job end of story. Real issue is that Saint Louis just became a major player both on and off the court. Team Crews/Cheany will be big time every year quickly. They will challenge us both on the court. They will have great coaches with a lot of NBA experience.


    Got a feeling we should also throw in, ” he’s only on loan until we have a place for him to come home to & ya better treat him right “.

  • mike g

    I would really like for CTC to steal Dane Fife away from Michigan State and bring him back.


    Was just saying to Calbert40 that I agreed with most of what he said. I don’t know that I would call my reply to him a ” blog ” of logic and reasoning, granted I probably typed out more of what I was thinking than I should have, but I just explained to him why I agreed with him and why, again, IMHO, I thought the vast majority of people thought that there was nothing to be made of this. Saying there is nothing to worry about on this one without knowing all the facts may be rushing things a little bit, but, again IMHO, saying that this IS an indicator of things not going well is a bigger rushing of things.


    If and when an opening comes up I too think he should, at the very least, be one of the top candidates, if not ” the ” candidate.

  • Scooter

    The below message is exactly why you find ways to keep Calbert Cheaney at IU and not let him leave for a position at St Louis:
    “Cheaney was a three time All-American (1991,92, 93) for the Hoosiers who was named College Player of the Year and won both the Wooden and Naismith Awards and Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior.”
    I do not like that Calbert is leaving. Maybe the players at IU do not feel that connected to him? Maybe CTC doesn’t see him fitting in to the coaching style? Maybe Calbert is extremely dissapointed in CTC’s style (Horrific Syracuse game planning)? Maybe Calbert isn’t aggressive enough on the recruiting circut? Eiher way, I do not like this at all. You have to find waysto keepguys like this around the program because they encompass all things right about IU basketball. There is something to be said for a guy who grinded out 4 years for this program and put himself on the line for IU, never wavering his effort or focus.

  • IUDan

    You need to step back a bit – it’s not like he had a choice between IU and SLU and chose SLU – he could stay in his position at IU or move into a coaching position at SLU – most people with ambition to be a head coach would make that choice … We didn’t have an opening now – simple as that.

  • Southport65

    old fan quit blowing smoke. I have been a fan since 1950 and I was a coach for 40+ years. sometimes you go where your best friends are. Crews and CC are best friends and BK boys and want to coach together. this is no bad reflection on the coach who let CC come back to IU. This is a good thing for CC and his family and CTC gave CC his chance to get into coaching. at st.louis CC will be the main asst. not the recruiter that IU needed to travel all the time. old fans remember how great CC was but these kids today do not. Most were not born when CC played at IU. maybe one day he will return but for now we should wish him well and not make this a downer for IU. Our program is going great with the head coach we have and it has always been a good thing when one of your staff gets a promotion not a bad thing as some who dislike our coach would like to make it. we should all be happy that IU can once again send our staff to better jobs because our school is doing so well and look forward to who our coach gets to replace CC.

  • calbert40

    Yes, you made a simple statement where you gave your opinion suggesting that there may be more to this than immediately meets the eye. You gave your reasons why you believe that way. It’s your opinion.

    IUMike, myself and some others believe otherwise, and have given our reasons why. I don’t view them as excuses at all. Two opinions expressing varying viewpoints, but I’m not “excusing” anything.

    Personally, I think you are looking for smoke when there isn’t a fire, but that’s JMO as well.

  • Ole Man

    I respect both you and Calbert for the way you responded.
    That is exactly how I see ITH. We agree; disagree; but post out of our love for the Hoosiers. And most of us, most of the time, attempt to respect other opinions, even if we strongly disagree.

  • calbert40

    I’m noticing a pattern. There are two reactions to this news: 1) Congratulations to Calbert! We hate to see him leave, but it is a great opportunity, and we wish him the best, or 2) Calbert must have left the program, because he doesn’t like CTC. We are losing out on recruits and now coaches, and this is yet another indication of what is truly going on inside the program.

    As a member of group 1, I think that group 2 needs to simmer down a little bit.

    1) Calbert chose to leave the program to accept a position that was not available at Indiana. This happens all of the time in the “real world.” It is not an indication of unhappiness with the old job, but rather jumping at an opportunity.

    2) The loss of a few recruits is not related to Calbert leaving, and to connect the two is more a case of original bias against CTC than anything else. Calbert was not a recruiter at IU. If Johnson left us, you could make the connection much easier, but it wasn’t. Apples and oranges.

    3) Calbert didn’t just leave the program for a random program. It is an up and coming program headed by a former IU alum also. Crews sought out Calbert. If he left IU for Pepperdine, you may be on to something, but he didn’t. He left to join Crews.

    Obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you believe Calbert left, because he feels IU is a sinking ship with CTC as its captain, step back for a minute and look at the facts surrounding this.


    All good points and maybe more importantly, correct.

  • Ole Man

    I don’t think Calbert left because it was a “sinking ship”. So we’re in total agreement there.

    To say “to accept a position that was not available at Indiana” is technically true, as NCAA schools are only allowed 3 asst. coaches each.

    However, as was documented in the NYTimes back in March ( I had to go back and search for the link), numerous other coaches may be hired, as Chaney was as director of basketball operations. They may advise during a game; coach during practices, etc. They can even be called coaches. They cannot hold the official title of assistant. However, in form and function they serve as an assistant coach.

    It may indeed be as simple as you stated, and that Chaney wanted the title beside his name.

    He could, however, have leveraged his current position at IU into a head coaching job.

    Maybe the real truth is that he wanted a fresh start where he could just be himself, without the weight and responsibility that comes from being a Hoosier favorite. As is well documented by postings on this site, coaching for IU is a win/lose situation. They love ’em, doubt ’em puzzle over ’em, scream at ’em. I’m sure that’s the same wherever you go; just not to the intensity level found surrounding IU’s program.

    We’ll never know, but it’s fun to write, read, and debate all the possible variations.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Good luck Calbert!! Thank you!

  • calbert40

    I don’t know Calbert (despite my screen name), so until he tells us why, all of us are really speculating why he chose to leave.

    Maybe he felt that being an official assistant coach was a more prestigious position than director of basketball operations at IU? Maybe he wanted a change of scenery again? Maybe there was some friction on the staff…not so far as coaching ability is concerned, but in division of labors? All of us are truly spitballing.

    Truthfully, I think the suggestion that perhaps he just wanted another challenge is reasonable on its own merit. Regardless, I think we all wish him luck, and if by some crazy twist he came back to coach at IU in some capacity, we’d all be ecstatic.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    We all have to start somewhere to be a coach. Maybe Alex can correct me but as Dir of BB Ops, you are not allowed to be on the floor during practices. That was a direct comment that he made, wanting to work with the kids directly.
    Furthermore to address the Horrific Syracuse game, I think we all remember the Syracuse game but do you recall the prior game of Temple….the ref’s allowed them to beat us up to a pulp. These guys were wore out. Then we come out a play a similarly game called by the ref’s…IMO we were beaten and wore down. The Zone killed us but most importantly we were tired and could not penetrate the zone…Period.

  • Guest

    Excellent thought on just wanting another challenge.

  • nwin fan

    Absolutely mt rushmore of Iu hoops

  • KnightEraCurmudgeon

    I simply think Calbert has had a long and solid relationship with Coach Crews and it looks like a good opportunity to him. Let’s face it, Cook Hall right now is one of the most energized and dynamic places in planet basketball right now. Opportunity happens IN Cook Hall, and opportunity happens BECAUSE of Cook Hall. We should all rejoice (yes, even in the Biblical sense!). I am immensely happy for Calbert, I hope it works out for him, and I am thankful for everything he’s meant to IU basketball.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    No single person is bigger than the program

  • Ole Man

    I’ve tried to find out differently; but thus far, from what I’ve read, you can coach in practice. I just don’t think it’s done a lot; would be very confusing.

  • Ole Man

    Bet they start recruiting the state of Indiana real hard!

  • Ole Man

    Good thoughts, Ken.

  • Ole Man

    Not starting an argument, but please list the top 50 guys on the team. I know that 3 of this years class are in the top 100. I know Hanner was around 76 last year. Vonleh is obvious.
    I like our team, but I think you might accidentally be exaggerating on the top 50 members.

  • Ole Man

    As an assistant he will constantly be on the road traveling. Otherwise, some good thoughts.

  • oldiugymnast

    D of BB Ops is NOT allowed to be on the floor during practice per NCAA rules.

    And Bleeding Crimson – you are spot on. The zone didn’t kill us, it was the hacking. And it didn’t help that our best shooter got hand checked and grabbed on every screen – and he got fouled so hard the game before that he separated his shoulder (if you haven’t done this, Jordan Hulls is a stud for playing through that pain. I did it at IU my Jr. summer and couldn’t lift my arms over my head for 2 weeks, pretend to get on rings for 6 weeks, and everything else for 3+… that hurt as much as breaking ribs!).

    I don’t know why Calbert left but it really isn’t any of my business. He is a grown man and can make his own decisions for whatever reasons he wishes to.

  • Southport65

    Funny a poll of NCAA College Basketball Coaches rank Crean 14th best in X and O’s and play making. Posted today on ESPN but some fickle fans think he should be 314. His peers don’t think so and I don’t either! This is good news for Calbert. A promotion and a chance to coach with one of his best friends who is much older than CTC so an easier path to be a head coach.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Not exaggerating a bit. Yogi and Vonleh were McDonald’s All-Americans. Beyond them I said we had five top 50-60 guys: Rivals had Hollowell 41, Perea 43, Troy Williams 47, and Stan Robinson 56, while ESPN had Luke Fischer 34.

  • Southport65

    By the way that guy in KY was rated 16th by his peers of 250 coaches polled.

  • semohoosier

    I don’t believe oldfan was being serious

  • semohoosier

    I don’t believe there is any smoke too worry about. I think it is always good to look for it though that way things can be taken care of before the whole thing burns down and I really don’t want to say his name.Even though as fans it’s not our thing to worry about we just do it because our little gadgets let us and it is those gadgets that let us agree to disagree anytime and anywhere don’t u just love it.Oh how times have changed.

  • open your eyes people

    Crean will never win a national championship because the man flat out can’t coach. It’s like a chess game and he gets out played by the best. Indiana talent and around in the area are hands down the best. Thomas wasn’t from Indiana but he was about a mile or two from it. Indiana prior has always been loaded with in state talent or around the area. Bailey, Graham, Cheaney, Edwards, Jones and I could go on and on !!!!!

  • dwdkc

    For those who must try to find a dark cloud with every silver lining (which is what Calbert’s move is, a nice advancement on the coaching progression), some comments on the Star article sounded about right. He was burned out from NBA travelling two years ago so took a non-travelling job to get into the college coaching arena in a lower pressure way. He sure didn’t need the money. It’s two years later–great ones at IU, but now the itch to coach more is growing– and an older coach that has said he doesn’t want to coach a long time, who is a trusted friend, offers him an assistant job that is not now available at IU–well why wouldn’t he jump at that? And St. Louis isn’t IU but it’s a serious program.

  • marcusgresham

    DeAndre Thomas almost was

  • marcusgresham

    I remember Calbert saying he was taking the original position to see if he wanted to be in coaching. I’m sure after a couple of years his kids have grown up a bit and he’s more comfortable being away from home now. I think a lot of people are reading more into this than there is.

  • marcusgresham

    Good point about the age. Let’s not forget, Crews wasn’t even coaching, but took the gig as a favor to Rick Majerus. Calbert may have been told he is next in line.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks for the clarification on D of BB. Good research.

  • Ole Man

    Guess it’s who you read as to where they’re rated; but thanks for the clarification.

  • Ole Man

    Got a grin at the “been around long enough to know better”. You’d think I have.
    Very good thoughts.
    Enjoyed reading them.

  • IU80

    Congrats to one of the classiest and most talented individuals ever to wear the IU uniform. I expect he will have great success and return home to lead the “fight for
    the Cream & Crimson for the glory of Old IU.”

  • what would you do

    Ok, here’s my 2 cents.

    Calbert Cheaney is, what, already 42 years old and would like to coach, presumably advancing to head. Tom Crean is only 47, and will plan to be at IU a good long time, because it’s a destination job. Jim Crews, whom Calbert knows already as a friend and mentor, is over 60 and came out of retirement on an emergency interim basis to coach St. Louis, then stayed because he was needed to provide stability for the program after Rick Majerus passed away. I believe I even heard Crews’ family still lives in Indy.

    If Calbert wants to advance to a head coach position and do it in the next few years, would the logical path be going to St. Louis or staying at IU?

    Case closed, at least for me.

  • That One Guy

    Uh…wrong. Tijan Jobe.

  • 502hoohoo

    If there was really an assistant job open at IU, and Cheaney declined only to later accept an assistant job at St. Louis, that speaks volumes about where Indiana–and more likely, CTC–stand in the basketball community. I mean, this giy was one of our own, and he opts for St. Louis? And then I read through hundreds of comments of our fans rationalizing this move with illogical make-believe (he wanted to work his way up, he was tired of traveling when IU offered, sometimes its hard to go home). We need to lose Crean, and stop losing everyone else who can take indiana to the next level…