As you know, we here at the R&R are still Creaning ourselves over Indiana University’s latest and greatest basketball coach.
I’m sure Phillips will be coming here later with scenes from today’s news conference to introduce Mr. Tom Crean. He’ll have fancy things like photos, quotes and real access.
I say that’s all wildly overrated. I have access too. Access to the 2007-2008 Marquette media guide. So, in the name of thoroughness, I’ve gotten it out of the vault and am gonna dig through it to see if I can find anything about our friend Tom Crean that hasn’t already hit the 24-hour news cycle. Who knew media guides were actually useful?
Nugget No. 1: Under Crean, Marquette first entered the Top 25 on No.v 27, 2001. Prior to that the Golden Eagles had been ranked for just 24 weeks in the previous 15 seasons. So, the man knows how to rebuild does he? That’s good. Put your work gloves on to fix this one, Tom. You might also need some Lava soap.
Nugget No. 2: Crean’s record against Big Ten teams while at Marquette is a combined 4-9. BUT he is a combined 7-0 against schools in Indiana. He’s 1-0 against his current employer, 3-0 against Valparaiso, 2-0 against IPFW (take that, Dane Fife) and 1-0 against IUPUI. He already dominates the state. Outstanding.
Nugget No. 3: Crean originally hails from Mount Pleasant, Mich. Don’t know much about Mount Pleasant? I do. I’ve been there. It’s home to the Central Michigan Chippewas, of course, but it also sits on the Isabella Indian Reservation and boasts…drum roll…the Soaring Eagle Casino! Want to know where a couple, few hundred dollars of my hard earned cash went in college before I was old enough to gamble in a real casino? This would be the place. You only have to be 18 to gamble there. Wonderful place. I’m sure our new friend Tom Crean knows nothing about it.
Nugget No. 4: When Crean was an undergrad at Central Michigan (and not gambling, surely) he coached at Alma College and Mount Pleasant High School. Now that’s ambition.
Nugget No. 5: Crean’s wife and family look wonderful. The wife’s name is Joani and his three children are Megan (12), Riley (8) and Ainsley (2). Everyone loves a family man. As the Godfather once said, a man who doesn’t spend time with his family is no man at all.
Nugget No. 6: There are, apparently, five words Tom Crean wanted people to think about when they daydreamed about Marquette basketball: family, professional, smart, tough, unselfish. Really, it says so right at the top of page 63. That all seems nice. Maybe Justin Boren wants to play basketball?
And finally, we have fun media guide quotes. This is what fine people around the country said about Crean prior to this past season. All of this according the the media guide.
Dick Vitale (most likely yelling) — “Tom Crean brings a wealth of knowledge, excitement and energy to the Marquette program. To put it simply, he is a Prime Time Performer (PTP’er) baby!” Seriously, I just copied that verbatim. You can’t make that shit up.
Larry Brown — “Tom is as fine a young coach as we have in our sport”…blah blah blah. Really, who wants to listen to what Larry Brown has to say?
Doc Rivers (Marquette All-American, by the way) — “Tom Crean is the best coach in college basketball.” OK Mr. Overstatement. Explain. “I don’t say that because he is my friend — I say that because I’ve seen him work, the improvement of his players and the success he has brought to the Marquette program. It’s fact.”
Dwyane Wade — “From my first meeting with coach Crean I realized Marquette was the right place for me. As I spent more time with him during the recruiting process I realized we shared a common vision on life. Admiration and appreciation are earned, and anything can be accomplished if you remain honest, modest and humble.” Awww. How sweet.
And I will leave you with this:
Frances Cleaves (mother of Mateen Cleaves) — Blah blah then…”He can always be counted upon to do the right thing.” I bet that’s music to Rick Greenspan’s ears.