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Tom Crean out as men's basketball coach


Coach Tom Crean after the Hoosiers lose to Purude 69 - 64. Victor Grössling and Victor Grössling and Victor Grossling Buy Photos

After nine seasons in Bloomington, Tom Crean is out as head coach for IU men’s basketball.

In a press release from IU on Thursday morning, Director of Athletics Fred Glass announced the school will make a change in leadership for the men's basketball program. Glass cited Crean's achievements in his time with the school but said it was time to go in a different direction.

"Ultimately, we seek more consistent, high levels of success, and we will not shy away from our expectations," Glass said in the release. "Tom is a good man and a good coach and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for his many positive contributions to Indiana basketball. We wish him well."

The coaching search to replace Crean will begin immediately, the release said, and Glass said he has been delegated the responsibility of finding the new coach.

Crean took over at a sanction-plagued IU program in 2008 after 10 years as head coach at Marquette. He had just one scholarship player on his roster in year one as the Hoosiers finished the 6-25 overall and 1-17 in conference.

In his first three seasons the Hoosiers had a record of 28-66, but in year four the turnaround for IU basketball started to happen.

Crean landed five-star recruit Cody Zeller in his 2011 class and on Dec. 10 of that year, IU knocked off No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall 73-72. The Hoosiers moved up to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll and finished the regular season fifth in the Big Ten with a record of 27-9, making the NCAA tournament for the first time in Crean’s tenure.

After grabbing a four seed in 2011, the Hoosiers made a run to the Sweet Sixteen before eventually being ousted by the same Kentucky team they knocked off in December.

Expectations were high for Crean and the Hoosiers the following the 2011-12 season as IU was ranked the preseason No. 1 in both the AP and coaches poll to start the following year.

IU stayed in the top 10 for the entirety of the 2012-13 season, went 7-1 against AP Top-25 opponents and captured the Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 2002.

The Hoosiers earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and were expected to return to the pinnacle of college basketball behind Zeller and guard Victor Oladipo. Instead, they were bounced in the Sweet Sixteen for the second straight season, falling to Syracuse 60-51.

Oladipo and Zeller both departed Bloomington early for the NBA after the tournament loss to Syracuse and were each selected in the top four of the 2013 NBA draft. Along with the two lottery picks, IU also lost key players Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston to graduation leaving some uncertainty around the program for the following year.

Crean brought in a six-man recruiting class, a year after claiming a No. 1 seed, headlined by Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams. However, the Hoosiers finished 17-15 overall and missed the big dance in its entirety.

Vonleh left for the NBA after one season in Bloomington but the start to the 2014-15 season for IU still looked promising. They began the year 15-4 and found themselves back in the top 25 polls and poised for another NCAA tournament appearance. However, the Hoosiers dropped eight of their last 12 to end the regular season and backed into the tournament as a No. 10 seed before falling to Wichita State in the first round.

The 2015-16 season didn’t get off to an ideal start for Crean’s club as Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were dismissed for off-the-court incidents in May, and Emmitt Holt was let go from the program in August.

IU began the season ranked No. 15 in the nation with guard Yogi Ferrell leading the way. The Hoosiers scuffled to start the season starting 5-3 with two losses in the Maui Invitational and a 20-point loss at Duke in the Big Ten/ACC challenge.

From that moment on, IU only lost three more regular season games. Ferrell became IU’s all-time leader in assists on while leading the team to a 15-3 Big Ten record and the second conference championship in four years.

The Hoosiers grabbed the No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and pulled off a six-point victory over No. 4 Kentucky in the round of 32 before falling once again in the Sweet Sixteen, this time to eventual runner-up North Carolina.

IU entered the 2016-17 with a lot of promise, much like after the 2012 season, except this time Crean didn’t find the success with his group. A win over No. 3 Kansas in the season opener propelled IU from No. 11 in the AP poll to No. 6. They moved up to No. 3 in the nation the following week but were then upset by Fort Wayne.

A win over No. 3 North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC challenge reassured confidence in the Hoosier faithful, but once conference play started the Hoosiers limped out of the gates by losing to Nebraska at home to snap its 26-game home win streak. IU finished the regular season at 17-14 overall and 10th in the conference with a record of 7-11.

Crean had won two conference regular season titles in four years, but he also missed two NCAA tournaments in his final four years as head coach at IU.

The Hoosiers were bounced after two games in the Big Ten Tournament in 2017, and lost an opening-round NIT game at Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.

Crean finished his tenure at IU with a 166-135 record, and a 71-91 mark in Big Ten play.

A press conference with Glass will be held at 3 p.m. eastern on Thursday afternoon.

Zain Pyarali

This story will be updated.

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