While the jubilation and euphoria of March Madness is already in full swing, one program deemed it necessary to make a somber decision.
It was announced Thursday morning that Indiana has fired head coach Tom Crean:
Statement from Indiana, announcing the departure of Tom Crean: pic.twitter.com/nKbUywvC2w
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 16, 2017
Crean came to Bloomington from Marquette — where he had been widely considered the brightest up-and-comer in the coaching profession.
During his nine-year stint at IU, Crean never went beyond the Sweet 16. In fact, Indiana failed to make the NCAA Tournament in five of his nine seasons.
This last year the Hoosiers finished with a pedestrian 18-16 season. IU weirdly defeated two No. 1 seeds in this year’s field (Kansas, North Carolina), but finished with a 7-11 conference record. Indiana also had a 71-91 standing in conference play during Crean’s tenure. This lack of consistency certainly wasn’t good enough for this prestigious program.
Where will Indiana turn? ESPN analyst Andy Katz believes the Hoosiers should target Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.
Another interesting name: UCLA head coach Steve Alford. Alford is considered a legend in the state of Indiana. He was an iconic high school player and a star at IU — leading the Hoosiers to the 1987 National Title. He was also a two-time first team All-American.
He enjoyed good success at New Mexico before making the leap to Westwood. He’s led UCLA to two Sweet 16 appearances, and has a team currently primed to make a deep run.
Alford understands the unique dynamic in Bloomington. His name holds considerable cachet in the state, and thus he could bring some considerable talent to IU. His son — Bryce — is also graduating from UCLA this year.
He could ultimately be an intriguing choice for the Hoosiers.
Source: Joe Maiorana /USA TODAY Sports