The Naysayer Says: Don’t Fire Tom Crean!

Fire Tom Crean? No way!

I am very satisfied with Tom Crean as Indiana’s head coach and don’t wish him to be fired. As a Boilermaker, I think he’s the perfect coach for the Hoosiers.

I mean, he can recruit okay. His kids graduate. His teams play hard. So what’s not to like?

As fan Nations go, it seems to me the Hoosiers are much more volatile than their Boilermaker counterparts. Other than an underlying movement to shorten athletic director Morgan Burke’s tenure (which IU fans should view the same way I see Crean), Purdue fans don’t generally grab the pitchforks and fire sticks and head out to vilify a member of the athletic family as quickly as IU fans.

And to that I say, “See what those pesky five banners have done to you, IU Nation?” Those banners have raised your expectations so high that you can’t even enjoy great basketball. The threat of losing—or, worse yet, not making the tournament—is so prevalent that a season of great hope is ruined early. It’s not a successful season unless another banner is hung. The people alive when the last one was hung are dying off fast.

Well, guess what—your banner-winning coach has been gone for a long, long time. Fired, because after years of success, the success was fading and that coach had tendencies to coach “old-style.” But yet, that was the time everything was right with the Hoosiers—and that is the time IU fans, if they were even alive, hearken to.

So the three-time NCAA-winning King was deposed and Mike Davis was hired. Davis scared me as a head coach, because he took over some talented players, molded them into a team, and took the Hoosiers to the brink of another championship in 2002. That trait of molding a team together, in case you didn’t know, is called coaching. But success for Davis was fleeting, and soon the record dipped and he was gone. IU Nation never liked him anyway.

Davis is gone. Win.

Then comes a string of Boiler-favorite coaches beginning with Kelvin Sampson, another great coach. He actually went so far as to get the whole program on probation, which is not something I ever wanted to see. Then Dan Dakich. Dan the Man was to the Hoosiers administration as Curtis Painter was to the Colts – just someone to fill in the hole. Dakich tried to bring back pride in the program, but the players at the time had their own agenda, so DD paid the price, paving the way for Crean and his now-$3.16 million salary.


I wondered, several years back, whether Crean was a good coach for us Boilers when some high-school players wanted to restore the “Glory to Old IU” with what was called the Movement. That group had high expectations and ran all over Purdue on a regular basis for a while. But not winning the NCAA with a No. 1 seed dampened what was a great regular season by that team. When the Golden Harp (Cody Zeller) left the Valley for the NBA, darkness returned and rumors about Crean began.

What will happen? Hopefully, nothing. But as we all know, that’s not the way it works these days. All I can say is be careful what you wish for. (See Darryl Hazel.)