He positioned Brian Jones next to the podium and then stepped down with the microphone and stood next to his guest for his entire press conference.
Jones, 38, of Bloomington, Ind. is fighting a battle with ALS.
Crean met him recently and wanted to find a time when it was possible to get him to an IU basketball game. It worked out Sunday night.
“I met Brian in a hospice a few weeks ago,’’ Crean said at the press conference. “I visited with him and his family. I learned a little bit about him before I went there. I know Brian is an absolute diehard Indiana fan for a long time, as his family has been.’’
Jones was dressed in his candy striped pants and an IU sweatshirt and was reclined in a wheelchair next to Crean at the press conference. He was also hooked up to a breathing apparatus.
His brother and sister sat in the front row, facing Brian.
Crean said the experience meeting Brian and his family inspired him.
“I was as inspired walking out of there seeing him as he would have been happy to see me,’’ Crean said. “Probably 10 times more I was inspired walking out of there.’’
Crean said bringing Jones to the press conference and having him sit up front with the IU coach was a surprise.
“This is something I've had planned,’’ Crean said. “He didn't know it. But when he would be able to get here, we're going to do this press conference together.’’
Jones was unable to be heard through the breathing apparatus but Crean at the beginning tried to ask him a question.
“I will have to speak a little more for you,’’ Crean said. “Did you enjoy the night?’’
Jones looked up and attempted to nod.
“I'll take that as a yes,’’ Crean said, with a smile.
Before Crean arrived at the press conference, IU players James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Troy Williams took a picture with Jones and also autographed Sunday’s box score which included a school-record 18 3-point field goals.
Here is a link to read more about Jones’ battle with ALS.
Here is also a photo gallery with pictures that I took from the press conference.