Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tom Crean gets 2-year Extension

Good for him. Is it good for Indiana? His team hasn't played a game yet, the season is still months away, and the school just gave the new head coach a 10-year contract.


The article's author says that the investment in Crean is money well-spent. I would say that the jury is still out. Yet, I applaud Indiana for recognizing the immensity of the job facing their coach. They want him to restore credibility first, and then the tradition of winning games. By locking up their coach now, it shows that Indiana is serious.

IU won't win many games next year. Years two and three might not be much better. Recruiting will be down. Boosters will be unhappy. However, the school president wants Crean to know in advance that he has his support and that he will have time to do the job right.

I have compared previously the state of IU's basketball program in 2008 with the situation Dennis Felton faced in 2003. It all sounds so familiar. I won't rehearse all the similarities here. There is an incredible distinction, though, and that is the long-term approach taken by IU and the length of the contract.

For Felton to accept the challenges and somehow make it to the NCAA's in 5 years-- I think he has done just a fantastic job. The Dawgs are now off of NCAA probation, second in the SEC in the Academic Progress Report, and SEC Tournament champs! Perhaps Crean pointed to Coach Felton's work as "Exhibit A" for how he expected to rebuild IU's program.

Yet, despite Felton's proven success, winning the first SEC Tournament championship that UGA has had in 25 years, his contract is shorter than Crean's.

Indiana has shown us that some big schools are willing to take the long-term approach. I think that that's the right choice for UGA, too.

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