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:

  • Fifer39

    Class act from Collins.

  • Fifer39

    We need someone who can deliver tourney wins. Simple.

  • Fifer39

    I think there was only one person avoiding that conversation.

  • Christina Mundell Elston

    Unsure of timeline, but sources said he mentioned during a session with the players that he had turned down an offer to coach in the NBA to stay on and finish coaching, what he set out to do….

  • Fifer39

    I have tried so hard to give TC the benefit of the doubt. Despite the petulance, the excuses, the not taking responsibility, the results…I never once posted that I thought he should be fired. But this has just flicked a switch in me. I don’t know what the relationship was like behind the scenes, but if TC can’t accept this decision (as disappointed as he no doubt is), if he can’t look his employer in the eye (after being given the salary and resources he’s had over 9 years) and if he can’t accept that he didn’t meet the required standard (having never been past the S16 and having bombed this year – no, 2 B1Gs on their own are not enough) then I honestly believe he never really understood what ‘It’s Indiana’ was really all about.

  • Fifer39

    You really think that? Do you think we’re where we should be 9 years on with that ‘outstanding’ resume?

  • Fifer39

    Can’t wait till he brings a team back either – let’s face it, it’s not going to take a genius to work out how to stop them.

  • Fifer39

    Got to be honest, I’m hoping the next one is a basketball coach first and a Christian second!

  • Speed

    Clearly Crean’s coaching philosphy is different and unproven in ascending the heights of the NCAA. Perhaps in the end he will scale those heights. In the meantime let us hope that Glass chooses wisely which will allow the Hoosiers to once again join the elite.

  • Fifer39

    Why does he? He needs to secure someone who he (and we) believe can meet those expectations and he needs to give them the resources they need to succeed. Then, quite frankly, it’s up to them. That seems to be what TC didn’t understand.

  • Fifer39

    2 more wins this year?! Seriously?

  • Fifer39

    What exactly is everyone finding particularly ‘classy’ about the way TC has handled this?! I honestly just do not get all this love-in victim stuff.

  • Fifer39

    Do you wish he stayed?

  • Fifer39

    No, he’s set a high bar for the coach.

  • Diesel

    Alford. Done deal. You don’t have to be good if you can recruit, Calipari proof of that, Great recruiter but not a top 25 coach.

  • BL4IU

    No, I believe we can find a better b-ball coach. Like most, I respect the hard work he put in trying to get IU back to greatness and more importantly, I respect him as a person. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Tim O’Nawbny

    Class. Knight could take a lesson. Crean is a hard worker, a good guy in a tough business. Best of luck Mr. Crean. Coach. Go Hoosiers!

  • Tim O’Nawbny

    Agree with all.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    He talked about how he loved his players, hoped the program was able to win another banner…and another…for the fans, and said he loved Indiana and always would.

    That’s a classy thing to say right after you’ve been fired by the same institution, and that institution’s fans were less than kind to you recently. Then again, I always liked Crean as a person, so take my opinion for what it is.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    How did you read that article and come away with Crean being unable to accept the decision? It sounded just the opposite to me. Sure, he’s a little chapped at being canned (who wouldn’t be), but I didn’t get that he hadn’t accepted anything at all.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I think it’s funny that you gripe about how Crean handled an incredibly difficult situation as unclassy, but then you call into question his personality and call him names. If that wasn’t “classy” enough of you, then you suggest that you think he’s such a lousy coach that he’ll hurt the next program he takes over.

    Such class.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Who wouldn’t be upset at their employer after getting fired? RMK is mad at a dead guy for firing him 17 years ago!!!

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    And even though the man has been fired, doing anything less than ripping on the man is viewed in a negative light by some around here.

    I’ll happily stand with Lore on this one. If you want to keep piling on, have at it.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Mark, you can’t be serious. Sorry, but that line of “reasoning” is absolutely indefensible. Getting worked up over family members being mad over this? Expecting Crean to control his incredibly vocal and volatile family members’ emotions and public statements? Jim Harbaugh can’t control Jim Harbaugh’s statements most of the time!! How can Crean control them?

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    All fans have unrealistic expectations for their teams. Fan bases of historically significant programs are the worst offenders. Everything you said is accurate about the play on the floor, but I don’t think calling our fan base’s and AD’s expectations unreasonable insulting. I call it accurate.

  • I’m not the first to propose the idea.

  • And see, lookee here — we disagree! I’m referring specifically to the idea that’s been presented in various media that TC’s performance was just fine and his firing was unjustified — and in that light, IU’s AD and fan base is unreasonable in its expectations. And you think this position is accurate?

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    No, but you are reasonable where many, sadly, aren’t. I read the Harbaugh article. It’s harsh and unvarnished, but can we really argue that it isn’t likely the truth? Doninger and RMK got along about as well as Trump and Clinton. Our administration isn’t well known for its steadfast support of our coaches. Not only that, we tend to vilify them at the end, and then justify our reactions.

    We may not like what they had to say, but it sounded to me like John and Tom talked about what was going on privately, and John made it public after the firing. He’s being protective and unprofessional, but that’s kind of his privilege when talking about his brother-in-law. I didn’t see anything wrong with it.

  • John D Murphy

    My guess, if true, was an assistant spot when he was close to being fired two years ago. Nobody that has struggled at a blueblood in college, who wasn’t a long time player, and has never coached at any level in the NBA has jumped to HC status. I’m going to need some confirmation before I buy that as gospel.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I split the difference. I think our fan base has…let’s say lofty instead of unrealistic expectations (which is fine), and despite a good record, Crean’s firing was justified.

    We were good under Crean. At most schools, being good lets you keep your job. Not at IU. I’m fine with that. But suggesting that we don’t have “lofty” expectations is wrong.

    To me, the reason that they are so amped is that it has backed up on them for awhile. Crean wasn’t well supported by most of the fan base even when we were winning. Sounds to me that Crean felt like (and told the Harbaughs that) he didn’t feel supported by Glass either.

  • John D Murphy

    Also, I am assuming you are related somehow to Derek (wife? sister?). If so, please pass along our (I’ll take the liberty of speaking for most posters here) well wishes to big #32. Really loved watching him play. Glad he had a chance to get into coaching at IU and I really hope he lands on his feet. I’m sure TC will do what he can to find him a spot.

  • I never said there’s anything “wrong” with it. I said it’s 1) a way for TC to make his feelings heard without saying them himself and 2) a part of the campaign that we all know has started to get TC a new job. I simply don’t believe that the Harbaughs and TC didn’t know what they were doing. These are professionals who know how to utilize public relations to get what they want.

  • There’s a fundamental difference between “lofty” and “unreasonable.”

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Even if I agreed with you about both points, which I don’t, would it matter? For anyone who is not an IU fan reading about the situation, they are likely going into the article wondering why IU fired their coach one year removed from a B1G title and COY award.

    I just don’t see the big deal here. Who cares if random fans reading an SI article view IU negatively? We can’t really worry about what they feel and think about us.

  • Well, I’m not precisely “worried” about it. But I simply don’t like the narrative that some media are pushing. Sure, it means little, and likely isn’t affecting TG’s decision (at least, I hope it isn’t), but it just bugs me enough to comment on it.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Yes there is, but it is a small one, and one’s view on the issue is inexorably tied to his perspective. One man’s “lofty” is another’s “unreasonable.” It’s all subjective.

  • Well, you know, words matter. I was saying the narrative is that our expectations are unreasonable. Then you said I was suggesting that we don’t have “lofty” expectations. That’s a mischaracterization of what I said. I never suggested that we don’t have lofty expectations, and in fact, I would suggest that we certainly do. I just don’t consider lofty expectations to be unreasonable for a program of IU’s stature.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Okay. I can understand that sentiment. It just doesn’t bother me that any of them are chapped over this. I think it is one of the things that is almost charming about the entire Harbaugh family. They let you know what they think even if it is a little unprofessional.

    As a person who is completely unaware of what has gone on privately, I think I can paint a picture of how things likely went down. Crean, Jim and John probably vent to one another about all of the challenges in their respective jobs. They’re just supporting Tom.

  • 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.

  • 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.