This is a decision the IU powers that be can’t swing and miss on PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:08

In the world of major college sports the next season starts almost the minute the current season ends.

Coaches have meetings with players to discuss the future just days after the final loss of the season. They come up with a plan of improvement to work on in the off-season and make sure all of their ducks are in a row as far as recruiting.

At IU, all of those things are on hold at the moment, because before any of those things can happen, the school must first put a head coach in place for their men’s basketball program.

Who will that be?

The answer to that question depends on who you listen to and what day it is. There are “Sources” and then there are “sources” but truthfully unless the “source” tells you they have spoken with Athletic Director Fred Glass, I wouldn’t put much stock in anything you hear.

Truth is, for the Hoosiers, this has to be the right decision, there is no room for error.

This year marked the 30th year since the school’s last championship. So if you are 29 or younger, you have never lived through an IU championship.

If Glass makes a bad decision, and hires the wrong person and that championship-less streak hits 35 years or longer, there may be no turning back toward the glory days.

There was plenty of wiggle room when the school made the decision to hire Tom Crean.

He got the keys of a program in serious need of repair and I truly feel he was the right man for that job!

Either way, IU had nothing to lose –  if Crean would have been bad, the school could have quickly made a change and picked up right where Crean left off.

Crean, as it turns out, wasn’t bad, in fact he was good, really good, especially in the earlier years, especially as a recruiter.

Indiana watched Luke and his brother Tyler Zeller spurn Bloomington for Notre Dame and North Carolina, but Crean convinced the youngest brother, Cody Zeller that B-town was the place for him.

Any coach who wins at Indiana has to have Hoosier talent stay home and Crean did that with Zeller.

Zeller showed up on campus with another player – a guard not many people had heard of by the name of Victor Oladipo.

Both players gave Hoosier Nation hope that hanging banners would soon be underway shortly in Assembly Hall.

Then something happened on the way to that championship glory, both Zeller and Oladipo decided to forgo their junior and senior seasons to enter the 2013 NBA draft.

Not many college campuses in the country could overcome that kind of departure! Zeller and Oladipo were both top four picks that year.

Their departure sent Crean and IU into the next season without two NBA-type talent pieces they planned on having. How huge would it have been to have those guys coming back as juniors along with a talented point guard named Yogi?

There is no guarantee they would have won, but I would have liked their chances. Most basketball minds will tell you when Vic and Cody walked out the door in Bloomington, they took the 2014 NCAA championship with them?

This year’s team didn’t have that kind of promise, but the Hoosiers were looking good as the 16-17 season got underway.

Indiana beat Kansas early in the season and if a possession or two would have ended differently against Louisville, that game might have gone their way, too.

Injuries and inconsistency zapped all hope from this year’s Hoosiers and it also zapped the last big of confidence from Crean’s most loyal supporters.

Once even the most loyal Crean supporters began to grumble that it may be time to make a change, the IU administration agreed.

So at the time I write this column, the search for Crean’s replacement is underway.

When Glass originally met with the media, it sounded like Steve Alford’s return to Bloomington was a done deal, but as weeks have turned into days, however, more names have surfaced as possible replacements.

Some are possible, some not so much.

Brad Stevens, is a former Butler coach, who some say IU is his dream job. The problem with that is, he has one of the best teams in the NBA and coaches winning in the NBA rarely leave a job like that for college.

Then there is Billy Donovan! He is winning, as well, but his team is in the lower half of playoff teams and it’s rumored his star player is bolting to be a LA Laker at the end of this year. Ordinarily, I would strike Donovan from the list, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he left OKC.

Other names are floating, some of them good, some of them still unproven, but most people who have basketball in their blood, would love to get their hands on the keys to that program.

There is plenty of room for more banners to be hung, and while no one will ever replace the legend that is Bobby Knight, the coach who brings IU all the way back will be close.

Many hoped that it would be Crean, now we just hope that those making the decision don’t miss this opportunity.

If IU still doesn’t have a coach by the time this comes out, who would you like to see take over the Hoosier program? Let me know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .