BLOOMINGTON – IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan doesn't loathe former IU coach Dan Dakich for dismissing Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis from the team earlier this week.
He loves him for it.
After introducing Tom Crean as the Hoosiers' new basketball coach, Greenspan went out of his way to applaud the man Crean has replaced for his decision to discipline those two players. After the duo were late to one team function last week and then skipped a disciplinary 6 a.m. run last Friday, Dakich dismissed both from the squad.
"I love Dan Dakich for doing what I think is choosing in that situation a harder right rather than an easier wrong," Greenspan said.
While Bassett and Ellis remain off the squad for now and weren't invited to a 10 a.m. meeting with the new head coach, Greenspan said their ultimate fate will be in the hands of the new head coach.
"I don't want to be in the business of micro-managing the basketball program," Greenspan said.
Crean was non-committal about his intentions for the only two returning starters who were slated to return next fall. But he delivered a pretty clear message that any road back to the team won't be an easy one.
"This place, this university, this basketball program, for as long as I've paid attention, has been bigger than any one person," Crean said when asked about whether he'd bring them back. "There are household names that have coached it, there are household that have played in it, but all along the way, it stood for class, it stood for integrity, it stood for doing the right thing."
There were many who feared that Dakich's decision to dismiss the two players would be counter-productive in IU's coaching search. Their exit, coupled with the probable loss of D.J. White and Eric Gordon to the NBA and the fear that recruits Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway are now headed elsewhere, created a situation where the cupboard appeared so bare that no one would want to inherit such a mess.
But Greenspan said he was well aware of Dakich's decision and was in full support.
"The job that Dan did in a very, very difficult position up to and including the dismissal of those two young men, was done with my knowledge and my support," Greenspan said.
That support, though, didn't extend to the point of being given the coaching job on a full-time basis. Dakich wasn't in attendance at Crean's press conference Wednesday and declined to talk Tuesday night after word leaked of the Crean's hiring.
Greenspan said he has talked to Dakich since making his decision.
"Obviously Dan is a competitive guy," Greenspan said. "I'll say Dan was disappointed, and very understandably so. He grew up in Indiana, played at Indiana, was an assistant coach for a long time at Indiana, and came back and helped us in challenging times.
"I have absolutely great admiration, great respect for Dan Dakich. If Dan wants to stay here, Dan knows he can stay here. If Dan wants to pursue another position be it a head coaching position or an assistant coaching position, I'll do everything I can do to help him."
What's Next for Ellis, Bassett and Dakich?
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