EDITORIAL: Sometimes good isn't great enough
IU Athletics Director Fred Glass announced Thursday Tom Crean has been fired from his position as IU men’s basketball head coach. Crean served in that position for the Hoosiers for nine years, beginning in 2008. Though the Editorial Board appreciates Crean as a great recruiter and rebuilder, it’s time for him to go.
Crean started his tenure at IU with a broken, sanction-crippled program that needed help. During Crean’s first three seasons as head coach, IU had an unimpressive 28-66 record. However, Crean proved himself in his fourth season and took the Hoosiers all the way to Sweet Sixteen in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Despite leading IU to the big dance twice more between 2012 and today, Crean was ultimately unable to get past the Sweet Sixteen at all.
Couple this with the fact that the Hoosiers missed March Madness twice in the past five years while earning two Big Ten Conference Championships in the same time frame, and we’re left with an organization that is just plain inconsistent.
Nothing bothers fans more than inconsistency. When the Editorial Board saw the talent of players like Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell, we expected greater results. Even when the team played its best under Crean, it’s been unable to make a deep run in the tournament.
Though Crean was inconsistent, the Editorial Board won’t ignore the immense good he’s done for IU basketball. He rebuilt IU’s program and put it back on the map.
Although IU didn’t have deep tournament runs that fans wanted, everyone should know that two Big Ten titles are nothing to scoff at – especially when Crean had to rebuild the program.
Glass said Thursday, “The expectations for Indiana University basketball are to perennially contend for and win multiple Big Ten championships, regularly go deep into the NCAA tournament, and win our next national championship — and more after that.”
This is the evolution of a team. We needed a coach who could rebuild the program and recruit like mad — Crean fit that role perfectly. But for all his recruiting prowess, he was a shaky in-game coach who lost control of his team in the 2016-17 season.
For example, the Hoosiers won tough early season games against Kansas and North Carolina but fell apart once conference play started.
Moving forward, the Hoosiers need a coach who commands the court and who can lead us to the championship.
Though many IU fans have expressed their dislike for Crean throughout his entire tenure at IU, he should ultimately be remembered as a successful, important part of IU basketball history. He took a fractured team and repaired it, but his purpose in the program has been fulfilled.
Crean did a lot of good for the Hoosiers, but it’s time to move on.
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