Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Tom Crean era: How did it compare?

Indiana is once again looking to make a coaching change in the post Bob Knight era. We take a look at the coaching era since the legendary coach was let go before the 2000-01 season.

Indiana has fired coach Tom Crean after nine seasons. That's the longest tenure of any coach in the post-Bob Knight era.

Here's a look at the coaching era since Knight was let go in the fall of 200.

Mike Davis (2000-2006)

Overall record: 115-79 (.593)?
Big Ten record: 55-41 (.573)?
Big Ten tourney record: 7-6 (.538)
NCAA record: 7-4 (.636)

Comments: The Mike Davis era started out well. In his first year he won 21 games and took Indiana to its only Big Ten tournament final. Then in 2002 that team led by Big Ten Player of the Year Jared Jeffries, won a co-Big Ten title and made that well chronicled run to the NCAA title game, upsetting No. 1 Duke along the way in the Sweet Sixteen. 

Those first two years, however, came with players who came to play for Bob Knight. After that Davis recruited some big names, beginning with the highly acclaimed guard duo of Bracey Wright and Marshall Strickland. Later he used his Alabama history to land five-star D.J. White and Auburn transfer Marco Killingsworth. 

About a month into the 2002-03 season after the Hoosiers had risen to No. 6 in the AP poll, all the program momentum disappeared and until his final 2005-06 season, Indiana was a .500 W/L program. The potential of his final team with White and Killingsworth bought him one more season after missing two straight NCAA tournaments. That potential never materialized, White had a foot injury and the team managed just 19 wins and a 9-7 conference mark.

Davis actually resigned with five conference games left, making his intentions known on February 17, 2006. He stayed on to coach Indiana in the NCAA tourney where the Hoosiers fell to Gonzaga in the round of 32, 90-80.

Note: Davis played a tougher non-conference schedule. Under Sampson the IU non-conference schedule began to get easier and under Tom Crean it continued along that path.

Davis agreed to an $800,000 buyout when he resigned. He later coached UAB for six seasons. In his fifth year there he won the regular season and his team played in the NCAA tournament. The next season (2011-12), he resigned after a 15-16 record. The next year he took over at Texas Southern in Houston where he has a terrific run in the SWAC, winning his third straight regular season conference title this season and is in this week's NCAA tournament.

Bottom Line: Davis has become a good coach but simply wasn’t ready at the time for the Indiana job. His first couple teams had some natural leaders who had been hardened by the experience of the Bob Knight firing and to his credit. Davis didn’t screw up that group. Today he’s happy at a spot where he’s comfortable and can apply the lessons of his prior two college stops.

Kelvin Sampson (2006-08)

Overall record: 43-15 (.741)
Big Ten record: 21-8 (.724)?
Big Ten tourney record: 0-1 (.000)
NCAA record: 1-1 (.500)

Comments: Sampson can coach, won’t get many people to dispute that. And he’ll get you talent, just be careful about the corners cut in getting the talent and if they might be future discipline issue guys. At Indiana he toughened up D.J. White and Indiana had a solid 21-11 (10-6) opening season. The next season with the addition of future NBA players like Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford, he had the Hoosiers ranked all year despite the impermissible call investigation overhanging the program--- and several off-court discipline issue distractions. When more damaging information came to light, Sampson was forced to resign and Dan Dakich took over on a interim basis on February 23. 

The end of this era decimated the program as every scholarship player left the school and Tom Crean had to work under recruiting restrictions for a couple years. Sampson had a show cause that sent him to the NBA to work as an assistant before taking the Houston job recently. There’s he quickly turning around that program.

Bottom Line: This was a search that was really botched. Impermissible calls and off the court issues under Sampson at Oklahoma were known when he was hired. That led to a rather awkward hiring press conference in Assembly Hall.

Dan Dakich (2008)

Overall record: 3-4 (.428)
?Big Ten record: 3-2 (.600)
?Big Ten tourney record: 0-1 (.000)?
NCAA record: 0-1 (.000)

Comments: Dakich was put in an awful situation as interim coach late in the season. Eric Gordon was battling a wrist injury and with all that was going on with that team behind the scenes, it was too fractured to finish the season well.

Dakich had some good years at Bowling Green before joining the Indiana staff but never returned to coaching. Why would he? He’s been a successful ESPN color commentator and radio talk show host in Indianapolis now for many years.

Tom Crean (2008-17)

Overall record: 166-134 (.553)
?Big Ten record: 71-91 (.438)
?Big Ten tourney record: 4-9 (.308)
?NCAA record: 6-4 (.600)

Comments: Because he inherited no scholarship players, we’ve run the above numbers for just his last six years. Yes, using year three or not is a subject of much debate among the Indiana fan base.

Last 6 years under Tom Crean:

Overall record: 138-68 (.670)?
Big Ten record: 63-45 (.583)?
Big Ten tourney record: 4-6 (.400)
?NCAA record: 6-4 (.600)

Comments: So the overall record looks much, much better. The Big Ten record jumps as well, but only to Mike Davis level. And if you add in the Big Ten tourney games, nearly identical to Davis (.569 vs .573).  But Crean won two Big Ten titles and turned the program around. It's the inconsistency that cost him and Indiana missed the NCAA tournament five of his nine seasons, two in the last four seasons. His tenure ended with a first round road NIT loss at Georgia Tech when the Indiana athletic department was so worried attendance and atmosphere that it turned down the opportunity to host the game. Missing out on the best in-state talent his last couple recruiting seasons was also costly to the former Marquette coach.

Bottom Line: Crean had some excellent teams but too many highs and lows, and those highs never included anything beyond the Sweet Sixteen. He wasn't a great fit at Indiana with a fast paced offense that often had turnover issues and never had a consistently good defense over his time. Struggled with in-state recruiting in his final couple seasons. Crean should be commended for his energy and hard work in rebuilding the program and should land a high profile job in the near future.


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