Nearly one month after a report initially surfaced that Indiana had hired Chuck Martin as its new assistant coach, IU officially introduced Martin on Monday afternoon at Assembly Hall.
Martin, 44, replaces Kenny Johnson, who departed for an assistant coaching job under Rick Pitino at Louisville. Martin worked in the scouting department for the Oklahoma City Thunder this past season and previously was the head coach at Marist.
"The common thread that came back, to a person, was what kind of person he is," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Martin. "To the terms of great guy, really good person, great man, great coach. Those are the kind of things that excite you, because I had already seen the intellect and the knowledge and the personality in the sense of what he had done in college coaching and what he had done with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"To me, what it kept coming back to me for how I felt talking to Chuck, when he would come in here and we'd talk basketball when he was coming in with the Thunder as I was talking to another great coach. He happened to be scouting for the Thunder, but I was talking to a great coach and he inspired me. He gave me ideas, actually some things that we actually even put in."
Crean said he called former IU star Calbert Cheaney first when Johnson decided to leave for Louisville, but Cheaney is comfortable in his current position at St. Louis. Cheaney served as the director of basketball operations under Crean before last season.
After that, he just kept coming back to Martin, someone Crean says he's known for some time.
"There was a chemistry with coach Crean right away," Martin said. "When I met coach Crean and his wife, I just felt it. [My wife] Lee and I talked about it. There was a connection right away. We said, 'you know what? This feels good.'
"I can only talk about my experience when it feels good and there is a connection and there is chemistry, I think the other things just kind of fall into place. So for me it wasn't about the basketball because he's done a phenomenal job in his career. He's really well respected in our profession, without a doubt. I mean, people, if you interact with coaches and you're a part of that fraternity, his name comes up all the time as one of the better coaches around the country."
There are several things that jump out about Martin right away. First, he's seen it all, and he's done a variety of different jobs at a number of different levels. He's been a head coach, an assistant at big time programs, and he's now been part of a successful NBA franchise.
Next, he has East Coast connections, just like Johnson did. Indiana has had tons of success out East in recent years, and that should continue to be the case with Martin.
And third, he's a well-rounded coach, a guy that can sell recruits with his charisma and charm, but also help develop them once they get to the program.
"When we got in depth with this, it was clear that we needed him and that he could bring a lot," Crean said. "He could bring a lot not only on the court, but he could bring a lot off the court. He could not only bring a lot in recruiting, but he could bring a lot in the sense of player development.
"We had him work out some of the managers, some of the graduate managers, and not only was I observing what he was doing and picking it up, but I was taking notes. When you get that, you just feel really good. We've had great discussions on offense. We've had great discussions on defense. We were looking at something last night. I'm studying some film, and he comes in and shows me every facet of this certain sideline out of bounds that he ran and had success with. That is the kind of stuff that stimulates me, makes me better. That's what I want the entire staff to have."