Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thoughts on Crean Leaving

It appears that Tom Crean will be announced as Indiana's new head basketball coach today. Needless to say, I was a little shocked to hear it (as were all the talking heads around the Milwaukee area). You can debate his physical coaching in-game ability all you want, but I'm not going to do that here. Let's just think about some of the positives that Tom Crean had done for the Marquette program since taking over:
-9 years, 190-96 record.
-Final 4 appearance
-Was part of the process that got Marquette in the Big East
-Built program into a perennial top-25 team
-3 members of his team were drafted, and another 3 on current roster have a decent shot
-Was not an asshole, and the players loved playing for him

So it's safe to say, in relative terms, that Tom Crean built a solid Men's basketball program with good principles that was a consistent winner.

So why leave now? I first assumed it was about money...and it still could be after we hear the terms later on today at Indiana. But after doing some research I found out he made 1.5 Mil in 2006, and various talking heads in Milwaukee all reiterated he was still probably in the top 5 IN THE COUNTRY as far as pay goes. So unless Indiana goes far and above can't be the primary issue (Marquette had Crean locked up for like...8 more years or something).

Here's an article that pretty much sums it up
Crean might have felt he had taken Marquette as far as it can go. He got the Golden Eagles to the 2003 Final Four with the considerable help of Dwyane Wade -- but that was before they joined the murderous Big East. Since then, he has won 20 games for three straight seasons, which is quite impressive, but sustaining that will never be easy in a 16-team meat grinder.

Crean's ego finally won him over. He had the money, the power, the support, & the foundation built at Marquette. Now he wants the legacy. He wants Big Ten titles. He wants more Final Fours. He wants the national media attention. He'll get that all at Indiana.

Put it this way. If Crean can succeed at Marquette, is there any doubt that he can succeed at Indiana?


matt said...

He can succeed long term. Short term, there are lots of questions at Indiana, such as potential NCAA sanctions.

Hopefully the Indiana folks will give him some slack, which I would assume they would do given the prior debacle with Sampson.

Anonymous said...

He said in the presser that his contract is an 8 year, so it looks like IU knows it is going to take time.

Phill said...

As we've seen previously...contracts with college coaches are meaningless, they can be bought out at any time and frequently are by the Universities. If I were Crean I would have been much more wary of the sanctions coming from the NCAA and Indiana's continued incredibly high expectations

brad said...

Good stuff Woz. That’s basically what it came down to...taking one of the most marquee jobs in America. He'll be in an easier conference, in fertile recruiting grounds. For a medium sized population, Indiana still produces a huge amount of college talent: Eric Gordon, Luke Harangody, Robby Hummell, Etwan Moore, Dom James, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, the guys on Butler, etc...Maybe a few more of those guys go to IU if it wasn’t chaos since Knight left. As for the sanctions, everything I hear it will be a loss of a scholly or two, at worst. Anything major will just be wishful thinking on Matt's part.

As much as I banged on Crean's ability to coach and develop (especially bigs), he got good players and made them a consistent NCAA/Top 25 team. That will be missed...especially when you have no idea how good the next guy will be.

Where does that leave MU? Worst case: James and McNeal leave to the pros (and get undrafted), recruits no longer covet MU (the best guy coming in next year already want to decommit), MU tries to hire the next "up and comer" who turns out to be the next Quinn Snyder or Tommy Amacker, and in 3 years MU becomes DePaul/St Johns - Big East Fodder. Best Case: Everyone stays, MU lands an established coach or hits on a great youngster, they continue to win 20 games a year, and switch the team name back to Warriors. Well, that might be asking a little too much.

Sorry if this is the longest comment ever.

Anonymous said...

They do have high expectations, but from his perspective there is a ton of upside. Their program is in dissarray and facing sanctions. If he can bring success and respect for the program back, he will be a god in Indiana.

Wrigleyville said...

$2.3 million per.