Crean undervalued at Indiana

Mar 16, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean speaks to the media during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men
Mar 16, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean speaks to the media during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men /

Every year, we hear the same exhausting banter from Indiana Hoosiers fans about their head basketball coach Tom Crean. Why do fans continue to undervalue the success Crean continues to have?

Let’s get something straight, Indiana University has never fallen short when it comes to the success of their academics and athletics. The school that prides itself off of tradition does not understand fully what it means to struggle athletically. After the demonizing disaster that was the Kelvin Sampson era, a bright new hopeful in Tom Crean was hired in 2008. Crean, who faced three years of NCAA probation and self-sanctioned punishment stemming from the former coaches lies, committed fully to turn the program back into tradition.

So why are fans every single year taking to social media to bash the successful coach for minor growing pains?

It all seemed to stem from the end of the 2012-2013 campaign where Indiana was ranked the #1 team in the nation for ten weeks heading into the big dance. Crean was out-coached against one of the greatest coaches of all time, Jim Boeheim, who knocked the Hoosiers out of the round of sixteen in 2013. The complaints about immediate success and ineptitude that fans treated Crean with after what was considered a “disappointing” season were wrongly deserved. Since the 2013 campaign, fingers have been pointed  Crean’s way for the performance of the Hoosiers on and off the court.

Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Blaming, public scrutiny, and social media attacks have filled the #iubb Twitter since the 2012-2013 season and continue to present day. It becomes odd to think about, Crean posing a 148-119 record with the Hoosiers, including the time he spent under NCAA sanctions not caused by any of his actions. Crean, since making his first appearance with the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament, has gone 120-44 with the team. It is unthinkable that fans would be unhappy with that type of performance. But they are and continue to be.

Coach Crean has a number of accolades since taking over the head coaching job in 2008, including leading the Hoosiers to four NCAA tournament bids in the last five seasons, three in which they went to the round of sixteen. Let us also not forget the two regular season Big Ten Championships he received in 2013 and 2016. Crean was also named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 2016 and has also produced multiple NBA ready talents including Victor Oladipo (2013, Rd. 1/Pick 2), Cody Zeller (2013, Rd. 1/Pick 4) and Noah Vonleh (2014, Rd. 1/Pick 9). None of these accomplishments seem to resonate with Hoosiers fans, though. The scope of success that Tom Crean has seen is something 90% of other universities would dream of.

Below reads an email sent to the head Athletic Director of Indiana University from an entitled, narrow minded, Hoosier alumnus after the tough loss to a non-conference opponent in November 2015:

Mr. Glass,

I hope you are doing well as the holidays come around and the semester comes to a close, I am e-mailing you in regards to the embarrassment that is the current state of our men’s basketball team. As I am sure you can imagine, I blame most of this on the continued trust instilled in Tom Crean by yourself and the university. Not only are we the laughing stock of the NCAA for our lack of discipline off the court, but we now are the laughing stock of the NCAA on the court. It seems to me that the off the court issues, which are blatantly unacceptable, have almost overshadowed Tom Crean’s complete inadequacy to coach our talented basketball team.

I am aware that at the end of the season Coach Crean’s buyout drops 3.5 million dollars on 7/1/16; however, waiting that long is not the answer. As an out of state student I paid roughly $150,000 for 4 years at Indiana University. Considering $3.5M equates to roughly 25 out of state students I would like to think this is more of a drop in the bucket, hell you would probably get more donations from Alumni if you did him in Durham (home to Duke) last night. Now let us get to some facts regarding our joke of a basketball program…. first let me point out some facts from last night’s game for you in case you haven’t been on Twitter in the past 12 hours.

  1. “In 20 years of data, Duke has never had a better offensive performance against a major conference opponent than their 1.53 PPP (points per possession) vs. Indiana tonight.”
  2. “IU is the first team since 1997 North Carolina State to lose a game by more than 15 when shooting over 50% and having less than 10 turnovers.”
  3. We currently sit 121 on Adjusted Defensive efficiency per

Let’s be honest… the list goes on and on.

I will refrain from listing all of the legal trouble our players and former players have gotten into and mentioning Coach Tom Crean’s [explicit] poor graduation rate from what is supposed to be a university that values education. As much as I focused on our lack of skill on the court, I do believe that these issues far outweigh our poor performance in the gym year after year. School and character development come first, and from my understanding we have more students leave for disciplinary problems and getting “Creaned” than we have graduate….  However, this should be a simple choice and the Tom Crean era has to end now.”

The name from the original email was removed for the privacy of the user

The thought process behind fans can often be limited by their scope of success in the immediate future. What have you done for us lately? This is a classic example of Crean critics who don’t fully understand what Coach Crean means to the program. After this letter was written, Crean pushed the Hoosiers to an undefeated record at home (17-0) and the best record in the Big Ten Conference for the second season in four years.

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While there is no excuse for the actions some players displayed in recent years, which caused Indiana’s Men’s Basketball program to come under fire, Coach Crean took the proper measurements in order to eliminate off the court issues. Crean issued the release of players such as Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis. Players have to be held directly responsible for their actions and behavior on and off the court, not the coach. While the coach can guide them in decision-making, Coach Crean and any other collegiate coach in the NCAA are not babysitters.

Coach Crean is a phenomenal recruiter, having the ability to draw high-profile athletes from high school to attend Indiana University. Crean was able recruit McDonald’s All-American Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr., Victor Oladipo, and Cody Zeller, just to name a few. Looking outside the organization, the hopes of Indiana native Brad Stevens will consequently never happen as he begins to formulate a dominating team in Boston. Steve Alford is another name brought up in conversation, who has began to develop the historical basketball program at UCLA. So, if you want to continue to complain about the way Tom Crean coaches, find me another coach who can recruit, manage, develop, and succeed better than him. Find me a coach who is more passionate about the success of his players off the court as he is about their performance on the court. Find me a more genuine coach who has established his roots into the community surrounding the beautiful campus of Indiana University. I guarantee you won’t.

My simple advice to Indiana Hoosier fans is this, sit back. relax. enjoy the ride. You are being treated to the best coach Indiana University has seen since the end of the Bobby Knight era. Many of us stand behind the tremendous success Coach Crean will continue to provide the university going forward.

Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /