"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Silly Season

March and April have emerged as the silly season for the coaches' version of musical chairs. Not so amazingly, Tom Crean's name is dropped by so-called 'sources' that appear in a few newspaper articles (if any) which then fuels mad speculation around the Internet. What I find most amusing is that these 'sources' are never named, and the last couple of off-seasons, reps from interested universities only confirm the names of coaches they actually interview (as you'd expect).

Yet the 'sources' can boil the blood of passionate fans, creating a maelstrom of speculation and alleged insight into Crean's psyche, or better yet, opining on the 'tale of the tape' between MU and another program (during which of course, MU loses out -- it wouldn't cause agita if it didn't). In addition, some folks call for MU and Crean to make statements in response to these rumors, if for no other reason than to calm the Internet masses.

I just don't understand the madness, nor the calls for a flurry of statements from MU or Crean (which would only ignite a fire where one did not previously exist). During the last several off-seasons, Crean has not emerged as an interviewee much less a front-runner for any other job. And let's face it -- he's had plenty of opportunities to make himself available (Illinois, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Ohio State, among others). Along the way, Crean never gave any indication that his commitment to MU was wavering, or vice versa.

In fact, the opposite has happened; Crean appears to be further entrenching himself into the Marquette community with a long-term view of what it will take to build on the success he's already enjoyed. For instance, Crean moved last season's exhibition game with Lewis University to accommodate an alumni gathering in New York City, headlined by Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. Also last year, Crean single-handedly pushed to rename the strength training facilities at The Al after Bill and Gwen Cords (and did a wonderful tribute to the Cords at The Al's dedication). From afar, it also appears that Crean is re-energizing MU's hoops heritage - - - I'm not sure how else to explain the recent flurry of retired numbers as well as the welcoming back of past MU greats at every home game last season.

Along the way, Crean secured early commitments from one high school sophomore in each of the last two years (Anthony Green and Scott Christopherson). Realize also that by going into the Big East with MU's new facility and expanded Blue and Gold Fund support - - the MU job is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was just seven season ago. All of that, and its well-known that Tom Crean is paid handsomely by MU and has tremendous control over the program and related matters.

While others take the bait of baseless speculation, I'll avoid the temptation of the chum and keep sailing along into the Big East with Tom Crean. I expect to be on this ride for quite sometime despite the storms of the silly off-season.


Anonymous said...


Personally, every year TC spends at Marquette makes it that much harder for him to leave. In a few years, when MU is contending for the Big East Championship - why in the world would he leave MU even for the coveted MSU job? So he can match wits with Bo Ryan twice a year?

The chance to coach against some of the greatest active coaches in Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim and Bobby Huggins is insentive enough to stick around.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. Though I think there are things for which Crean is entitled to criticism (after all that is part of being a sports fan, let alone an MU fan), but above all else I like him because it's apparent that he runs a clean program. It's a tribute to MU.

Chas said...

How dare you! Baseless speculation, unnamed sources, rumors and outright lies are the only way college basketball beat writers can get a byline after the season is over. It's lifeblood.

It's as meaningful as predicting the top-25 for next season, or talking about next year's Naismith award winner.