Monday, April 7, 2008

Very pleased.

Before this afternoon, I had not been online since just minutes after my "Tom Crean" post Tuesday evening. Of course, I'm trying to get up to speed, but I can see from the comments that my post may have made me seem ambivalent about Crean's hire. Since I said that Crean wasn't a "home run," I should make clear that I would reserve that term for a coach who has a history of building and maintaining a championship-caliber program--guys like Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, and the like (those are just examples--I'm not suggesting that any of those guys was or would have been expected to be a candidate for the job). So, it's no knock on Crean to say that he doesn't have that sort of resume. IU fans won't consider a coach to be a true success unless he wins a NCAA title, and absent a title on the new coach's resume, there always will be some uncertainty.
Still, Crean would have been a good hire under any circumstances and is a very good hire given the current condition of IU's program. Maybe I should have said that Crean was a home run but wasn't a grand slam. After watching his press conference and reading the initial coverage I certainly believe that IU's program is in good hands. Crean has been a head coach long enough to have built a good resume, including a Final Four appearance, but is young enough to remain at IU for decades. He's from Michigan and grew up as a fan of the Big Ten and claims to have had a particular affection for Knight's IU program. Crean's mentor, Tom Izzo, is the most successful Big Ten coach in the years since Knight's program began to decline in the mid 1990s.

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