"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

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Frustrated fans a plenty...time to go back to class

Less than 24 hours later, fans displeasure has not abated much. Some folks have come back off the ledge, others have jumped....both decisions grounded in some truth.

The schism that exists between the pro-Crean vs anti-Crean remains alive and well. Again, both with nuggets of truth in their quiver to make their case.

As someone that has always been more optimistic then pessimistic when it comes to the coaching side of the house, I confess wholeheartedly that last night dulled the shine for me to an alarming degree.



It was an issue of class, or better stated a lack there of. Tom Crean has seemingly exercised good judgment in this department for most of his years at Marquette. Whether it was taking on the Al McGuire Children's Run leadership, assisting in the molding many of his players into fine citizens (who are polite, confident, community oriented), stressing the importance of school and the importance of the university. I have met many of these young men and they are outstanding people and have been guided well by Crean and his staff (and of course mostly by their parents/guardians). Good stuff, not all required but expected of someone in his position.

What is not expected is what happened at the end of last night's game. After his team got smoked on the court from the opening whistle, the conclusion of the game was known for a long time. Man up, shake hands and move on. This is not what happened. Crean shook Rick Pitino's hand, clearly an action that has it's own underlying issues (for another day), but then took a hard left turn immediately across the court and to the locker room. No shaking of the other coaches hands or players.

I thought I was watching a UWM vs Illinois-Chicago game with Bruce Pearl and Jimmy Collins again. It was classless when those two did it, but at least then everyone knew way in advance that both weren't going to palm up. This was different. This was straight out of poor loser/poor sportsmanship 101 text book. When Crean's clubs have beaten Louisville, which has happened many times, Crean has had no problem shaking the hands of everyone on that staff. Now when he's blown out, he doesn't?

That's just plain wrong. I'm sure in the heat of the moment he was pissed off and wanted to get out of there. Doesn't excuse it. 24 hours earlier in front of 95 million people, Bill Bellichek bolted off the field with 1 second left. Is there an epidemic underway?

Coach Crean would be smart to demand of himself what he demands of his players. Time to go back to class, Coach. It is actions like last night where fractures start in fan bases and support erodes for teams and coaches. This club is an incredible 26-16 in the Big East the last 2+ years, one of the best in the conference. Fans expect a lot, fans sometimes expect too much as a result of previous successes. Frustrations build up, especially with games last night. When you pile on and mix in an action of not shaking hands, those frustrations do not go away, but rather they are exacerbated.

Plenty of opportunities ahead to show both the team and coach have learned from the recent setbacks. Let's hope a little class was the first lesson learned. Stay Classy Milwaukee!

And hire an Athletic Director..... they are there for a reason, to help guide coaches and steer them back on course.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying that Cracked Sidewalks. I was embarrassed for Marquette last night!

Anonymous said...

I am continually impressed by the coverage of MU hoops on this site. Thank you for taking notice and the effort to post on the behavior of coach Crean last night. We're all human, but someone in his position and certainly someone who demands the highest standards of his players and staff needs to practice what he preaches.

Anonymous said...

i really don't find it a big deal at all. he was frustrated in the heat of the moment as he well shouldn've been with the kind of performance that was seen last night.

Ray Meyer said...

Heated or not, it's piss poor. You don't gleefully stand around looking to shake the ball boy's hands after a win but during a loss run for cover.

Anonymous said...

Slick Rick and crew haven't been exactly too kind to TC--on the fictional story front. So, should TC publicly bow down to him after an ugly sweep loss at home? I think TC did well to shake and run. A spotted program vs. a spotless program. Why shouldn't TC get the benefit of the doubt on this? We don't know the true story here.

Chris said...

I am a fan of college basketball in general and a Louisville fan at heart. Our series has always been thrilling and the epitome hard fought competition. While there have been some locker room antics, and on the court comments (I sat behind the Marquette bench and heard plenty) aside. Sportsmanship at the end of the game is what sets college basketball apart from so many other sports. Giving a free pass to a coach or player because it was a heat of the moment act is disingenuous. Crean's action are not representative of Marquette fans or the memory of AL.

Gene Frenkle said...

Until we know the whole story, I'm not judging anyone. Pitino's been an un-classy guy to plenty of people in the past so if there's a little p!ssin' match going on between him and Crean, so be it. It's a rivalry (although the results of this year's games prove otherwise).

Shoot Rosiak an email and ask him to follow-up on the issue.

Should he have shook hands? Probably. But if it was a reaction to something UL has done, I have no problem with it.

Anonymous said...

Can UTube help out on this one. This is some pretty strong accusaitons.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see it but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it happened.

Crean is clearly a guy who gets every bit of his personality out of coaching manuals and clinics. If he watched the way Belechick responded after the SB loss, I think it's logical to assume that he thought that New England's coach was just a "competitor" who "hated to lose" and Crean wants to channel that same personality. Why? Because he doesn't really get it! He's a follower of other's philosophies and has none of his own. He's not a leader!

Anonymous said...

My take is it was a conscious decision to shake Pitino and then get out of there. He should of shaken the players and not Pitino if there was really some issues. In any regards, I think this was just spur of the moment bad decision by Coach Crean. If he could do it again he would of probably shaken the players hands. We all make a judgement error at some time. His was made in front of an audience of a million. Do we hang someone for one minor judgement error? I think you have to look at someones overall character throughout time. Coach Crean messed up this time, but it's clearly not his nature. If it was, you could pick other instances of similar behavior.

Anonymous said...

The second from last post was just scary. That dude must have "I hate Crean" tattooed to his head. I bet all the great coaches in time never learned anything from anybody.

MQ said...

Thanks for bringing this up. Great post. I mentioned it in an earlier comment and no one responded to it. I disagree with a comment above that it's not a big deal. Frustrated with your team is one thing, but recognize the superior effort of the opponent. I have to believe that he wanted to have a little extra time in the locker room to, um, "coach" his players. Let's not overlook that he did this right in front of his own players. Forget the message it sends LU players, coaches, fans...to do that in front of your own players and fans doesn't represent Marquette fairly...remember, Coach, We Are Marquette (and so can you).

And Gene, I normally agree with you, but we don't want to measure Crean against Pitino. Let's hold Crean to higher standards.

Anonymous said...

So I guess what is the point, do you want him to apologize to Louisville? Tell his players he was wrong to do it? Well folks you know the program Crean can build. If he leaves, I am willing to bet he gets hired ASAP and builds a program as good as Marquette is now. Then I wonder how humbling it would to lose to Crean.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comparison with Bruce Pearl and Jimmy Collins. Of course, they didn't actually shake hands so it's really not all that similar.

Championships Matter said...

At the end of the day, Marquette stands for something. As a Jesuit Catholic institution, one of the things we stand for is respect for our fellow man. We may not like him (or her), but we should respect them as people.

For that reason alone, more is expected of Crean than, of say, Coach Belichek in New England.

I love Coach Crean and what he has done for Marquette. Al didn't win for awhile either and the world was very different then. Still, What Coach Crean needs to realize is that he's in the same boat he was when Travis Diener was playing point guard. He lacks a key position. Then it was point guard, now it is center. He has only himself to blame because he is head of the basketball program. I understand his frustration but taking it out on Rick Pitino or the Louisville Cardinals is not the answer.

The sad thing is that this team was overrated and too much has been expected of them. If they had an inside game, they would be a Top 4 team. The don't and they aren't. The Louisville Cardinals merely capitalized on a weakness of their opponent -- what a good team does.

Until we get a balanced team with good scorers and a power inside game, there will be a lot more Louisvilles. Coach Crean had best get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Amen brother. It would be great if we could just buy what athletes we would want to come to Marquette. But unfortunately we need to convince them Marquette is best for them. And if they are that good there are alot of others out there making their pitch. Now let's put our feet back on the ground and take the rope down from the tree.

MQ said...

Gene: Rosiak didn't see it. He said he was on his way to the media room when it happened. He told me in an e-mail that MU fans shouldn't worry about it, and that Crean probably didn't even do it intentionally. He suggested that Crean was likely too distracted by the poor performance and the upcoming game against Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...

Rosiak is full of crud. Too distracted by a game that is 5 days in the future to congratulate kids after a game? Baloney.

And don't tell me that fans shouldn't be concerned when their coach acts as a poor representative of the university on national television.

Anonymous said...

How about if TC had our players shake the opposing coach's hand before the game? Cut down the nets on the opposing team's home floor after a regular season win? Stood on the scorer's table and pump fisted the crowd causing a parent on the losing team to flip him the bird? So, in that light, how does Al rank on your sportsmanship scales? TC was p/o'ed at the loss and hates Pitino and crew. Yeah, he should have manned up but he is human--all these coaches have Type A egos, it is a job requirement. I think we are overreacting a bit here to say the least. I am sure TC regrets it. Look at the treatment Ill. gave Gorden...now that was bad behavior sponsored and pre-planned by the the school, no less.