Tuesday, April 1, 2008

So Fresh and So Crean

Hoosier Nation's long national nightmare is over. And it awoke to the real-life version of being safely in your bed at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday, with nothing to do but watch sports and lay on the couch. For everyone who was ready to vomit on more than one occasion while watching IU stumble its way through an embarrassing cheating scandal, botched "firing", off-his-rocker interim coach, starters dismissed, and who knows what else, I have this to say: We are going to be all good. IU finally hired the man who should have had the job two years ago. And why? Here's why:

Why Crean was smart to come to IU:
-Big time money
-He cut his teeth in the Big Ten (Assistant coach at Michigan St.)
-He recruits that area (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)
-Chance to establish his own era at a school still searching for someone to fill The General's shoes
-Better facilities (AH holds a good number, ground broken for state-of-the-art practice center)
-Basketball is king in Indiana, especially at IU

Why IU was Smart to get Crean:
-Big "name" coach
-Has led a team to the Final Four
-Knows the Mid-West (Asst. at Pitt, Michigan St., W. Kentucky, Head Coach in Milwaukee, Wis.)
-Averaged 20 wins a year
-Workaholic who can right a wayward ship
-Pedigree (family includes Stanford and Baltimore Ravens football head coaches)
-Young enough to be here a long time (41 years old)
-Not even a whiff of past recruiting violations
-Proven winner

All of this considered, it was almost a must-do for Indiana. I honestly believe that Crean, along with Mark Few, should have been the only guys considered for the job that ultimately became Sampson's in 2006. This time around, he was overshadowed by "reach" names like Izzo, Matta, Pitino, Pearl, etc. as well as young(er) guys like Tony Bennett and Sean Miller. Throw in usual suspects such as alumns Steve Alford and Randy Whitman, NBA has-beens Mike Montgomery and Scott Skiles, plus wild-cards like Lon Kruger, and you've got yourself a coaching-carousel shit-show. I'm glad to see the cream rose to the top and the right man got the right job at the right time. A man who respects tradition and has a tireless work ethic, like Crean supposedly does, has the sky as his limit with a destination job like IU in his hands. Go ahead and laugh but even with impending NCAA sanctions IU is still a member of the "Big 6" of college basketball: UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina. Crean could easily join the likes of Branch McCracken, Fred Taylor, Jud Heathcote, and Bob Knight in the Pantheon of Big Ten greats, just like Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan are well on their way to doing.

Consider Crean's record at Marquette (playing/recruiting against the likes of Georgetown, Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan St., etc.):
-190-96 as MU head coach, over 9 seasons
-90-56 conference reocrd
-5 NCAA tournament appearances
-1 Final Four
-1 Conference Title & Conference Tourney Title (CUSA)

If he can do that at Marquette, a small Catholic school in Milwaukee that is a mid-level Big East School, think of what he can accomplish at IU!

Five Banners Is Not Enough!

UPDATE: When asked today at his press conference why he would leave Marquette for IU, Coach Crean had this to say:
"'It's Indiana. It's Indiana,' he repeated. 'It's the absolute pinnacle, and that's to be the head basketball coach of Indiana University.'"

I love this guy even more every minute!!


Young Por 'que said...

Damn did IU get lucky!

I L-O-V-E this hire. I am not going to try to prognasticate and be an irritating fan, but I think that this hire could right the ship and hopefully steer IU back to a place of glory (where it belongs, mind you).

Young Cicero said...