Mike Pegram, Peegs.com

Tom Crean opens up on the airwaves

Soon after a series of television interviews, former Indiana coach Tom Crean opened up with radio and podcasters yesterday. We'll bring you the recap of some of the more interesting things that the coach had to say about his firing and time in Bloomington.

Former Indiana coach Tom Crean did a series of interviews this week, opening up on his final days as Hoosier coach, his future and many reflections on his time in Bloomington.

You can watch the television interviews here: WRTV | WTHR 

Several media outlets recapped his interview yesterday on 1070 The Fan with Dan Dakich, another former Indiana coach. You can find a couple of those in the Hoosier Newsstand and listen to it here.

Tom Crean also did podcasts with Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. (click on the links to listen to the entire podcast).

The Seth Davis podcast was mostly about Indiana and we've recapped much of what we thought Hoosier fans would find most interesting:

On some of awareness he had about his firing: 

"I never saw this as a real possibility until earlier in that week. I hadn't heard anything on Wednesday. So I planned to go to Florida...I am working that night on my videos from Georgia Tech, finishing the grades, because I didn't get them finished on the plane. Working on next year...

"I got a text late that night and I called my rep Trace Armstrong back, and he made it pretty clear this was the way it was going. I told him 'I am not going to hear that, so if it is, you got it. If it is something different, let me know because I am flying out of here at 9:30.'

"Then I got a text, 'hey can we get together?' So I knew at that point and in all honesty, I wasn't doing that. If it had been a discussion, I would have known it. But I didn't sense a discussion.  So I wasn't doing that and I wasn't doing that to my family and here we go."

Davis then asked him on a scale of 1-10 how surprised he was...

"I had been given no indication whatsoever privately that this was even a possibility until a couple meetings we had at the beginning of the week--Sunday and Monday.

"Surprised 1-10? By Wednesday, not really. Going into Sunday, I would have been very surprised."

Later the coach added this:

"I love it here. I was fully comfortable with the three years (remaining). I wanted an extension and I didn't get  it a year ago when I felt I totally earned it. And it was never an extension about more money. It wasn't even close. It was for the clarity of recruiting for moving forward. I was willing with the three years. I didn't like it but I didn't have an issue with it. 

"I had to sound bad, I am going to bet on myself. We're going to win. We got to get a couple guys, we were lined up on a point guard. We had good recruits coming in, let's see who stays. I can deal with that."

Davis asked him about whether he had looked into other jobs, mentioning the NC State and Missouri positions. Crean confirmed he had looked into other jobs even before those two became available. 

The former IU coach said a year ago he got a call from Trace Armstrong when he was actually driving on his way to see Fred Glass where Armstrong told him he wasn't going to get an extension. 

"That was tough, you got to be kidding me. I took that hard for awhile because I felt like we had earned it."

"So I knew from last spring, and there were other opportunities last spring. And then there was something in the summer, NBA wise, interview wise. But I did not feel that was something that was going to work."

He then added that one school wanted to talk to him during the season but that was not something he was comfortable doing.

When asked if he had a big regret he said early on he would have saved a few scholarships and played more walkons. The point was it may have prevented another big reset or start over had he spread those out a bit more. The coach even went as far as to say he should have hired a PR firm or something to get the message out that there was a second "start over" when he lost those first four-year seniors at the same time that Cody and Victor went early to the NBA.

Later on in the podcast he admitted he lost some Indiana kids lately in recruiting.

"Did we have some Indiana kids not come here because they just wanted to go to another school? Yes. Did we have some Indiana kids not come here because money changed hands? Because things got done for people on the inside? Absolutely it did. We live that."

He followed that up by saying there's only been one Final Four for Indiana since the 1987 championship (actually two since 1992 team went). Said there have been four Sweet Sixteen teams in last 23 years "and we had three of them."

Coach Crean said he did exchange a few texts with Archie Miller on Monday and Tuesday. He said the one piece of main advice was to get with those IU players as soon as possible as they have been through a lot in a short period of time. 

He ended the interview by saying he wanted his next job to be somewhere where he feels he could win a national championship.  Also said he would be doing some television this weekend with ESPN.

The Vertical podcast included Jeff Van Gundy and was mostly about the difference between the college and professional game but did include a few Indiana tidbits:

On Cody Zeller graduating

"Cody Zeller will walk this spring after being out for over two years"

On cheating and corruption in college game:

"It's so hard to deal with people that not only have not only no understanding what it's really like in college basketball and college football, but college baseball coaches tell me stuff that they deal with. Not only no understand, but no belief that it actually happens. 

"You can put yourself into this Pollyanna world that this kid is really going to want to come to this school--'he grew up here and his family really likes it' or 'he wore that t-shirt.' There are so many stories that I have dealt with, and I will save it for the book some day--but so many stories where I have been blamed for somebody that I didn't get as a coach. And I knew exactly what happened as to why we didn't get them.

"You can be made for awhile but eventually you have to look at it like 'where did I miss the message here? What sign did I miss? A lot of times they're good at the game. It is very, very easy  to get disgruntled and get chaffed so much when you deal with things with recruiting."

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