|Tom Crean introduced as Indiana basketball coach, and knows what's waiting|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 02 April 2008 07:08|
After spending nine years putting Marquette back on the national map, Crean faces a more daunting challenge: rebuilding Indiana's legacy. He replaces Kelvin Sampson, who resigned before last season ended amid NCAA allegations of recruiting violations.
``We are not going to be overwhelmed by the challenges, we are going to have to embrace them,'' Crean said at a news conference Wednesday.
Crimson,'' a play on the team's colors of cream and crimson. He will try to restore the reputation of a team that changed coaches three times since Bob Knight's firing in 2000.
He acknowledged it won't be a quick fix.
``We need everyone to understand that this is going to take some time.''
The university seems ready to give him time - an eight-year contract - with an average salary of more than $2 million.
Crean grew up a Hoosiers fan and attended one of Knight's clinics as a boy. He embraces the university's basketball tradition.
``It's Indiana,'' he said. ``That is the bottom line, that is the premise that we are going to work under here.''
Crean was 190-96 in nine seasons at Marquette and led the Golden Eagles to a NCAA Final Four appearance in 2003.
He accepted the Hoosiers job Tuesday, jumping into the tumultuous environment of player dissatisfaction and uncertain future because of possible NCAA sanctions that occurred before Sampson's resignation. Last season was one of the darkest in Hoosiers history, despite their 25-8 record.
The Hoosiers' promising start got lost in the undercurrent of Sampson's phone-call scandal, which led to NCAA allegations of five major infractions and his Feb. 22 resignation.
It got even worse.
Six players skipped interim coach Dan Dakich's first practice and there was the threat of a player boycott. When that didn't happen, the Hoosiers lost their zeal to play, dropping four of their last seven games, including a first-round game to Arkansas in the NCAA tournament.
On Tuesday, Dakich kicked starting guards Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis off the team. If freshman guard Eric Gordon turns pro as expected, that would mean all five starters could be gone from last year's team. Still, the Hoosiers and their fans expect wins.
``I walked into a tradition that I have understood and have had great feelings for since I was very young,'' Crean said, recalling watching Indiana's 1976 championship team as a 10-year-old.
Dakich and Ray McCallum, promoted to assistant head coach after Sampson's resignation, were already cleaning out their offices Tuesday night. Dakich is unsure where he will be next season even though the university has offered to keep him at Indiana in some capacity next year.