Tom Crean hasn't been a head coach for the last 364 days, but that streak ends today. Tom Crean will be the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. A school not really known for their basketball, will now be known for their basketball as Tom Crean turns that program around. The Bulldogs under Mark Fox made the tournament twice in 9 years. Both times they made the tournament they were bounced in the first round. After an embarrassing loss to Belmont in the first round of the NIT, Mark Fox was fired. To upgrade to Tom Crean is going to be a huge step forward for this program as they look to be a force to be reckon with in the SEC.
Tom Crean is the definition of a program builder. Say whatever you want about him choking with great teams in the NCAA tournament, but you can't deny he builds fantastic programs. When he took over the job as Marquette head coach in 1999 the program was in shambles. Then, Crean quickly put together a fantastic recruiting class, and began to build a winning program. Not even 5 years later he brought the program to a final four appearance. Mostly in part to Dwayne Wade being a stud, but who the hell do you think recruited Wade. He's also the reason Marquette was invited to the Big East, which is a pretty big deal. Taking a team from being a mid-major to a power 5 conference team is the dream for any athletic director when you hire a head coach.
Tom Crean then took over in Indiana as head coach after 9 seasons in Marquette. When he took over in Indiana the once storied program was in shambles following the Kelvin Sampson NCAA recruiting violation scandal. When he took over the only players on the team still were two walk on's. His first three years in Indiana they were absolutely atrocious, however given time to do what he does best Tom Crean began to build a great program in Hoosier town. They went to back to back sweet 16's after that. He also won the conference twice. Unfortunately, coming up short of NCAA titles with highly talented teams didn't sit well with the fans, and they ran him out of town without just cause. One down season after a lot of success and they fired Crean like they were some powerhouse that didn't accept missing the tournament. Yet, where are they right now? Oh yeah sitting at home
Tom Crean has his chance at redemption now. Georgia is going to take awhile to make a prestigious program or a competitive one at that. With time I have no doubt Tom Crean will have this team in the tournament almost every year. He'll also give Coach Cal plenty of bitch fits now that they'll be playing in the same conference. What a great signing by the Georgia Bulldogs. I just hope they treat Tom Crean better than the fans of Indiana did and maybe he'll get that NCAA championship in Georgia that he can throw back in the face of the Indiana fans. I'm mostly excited for the huge forehead shots of him on twitter. Welcome back to coaching Tom Crean.