Crean’s mentor headed to Louisville?

This just in from Pat Forde (a guest on our chat this past Monday): Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard, who gave Tom Crean his first full-time assistant coaching job, could be joining Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has offered his vacant assistant position to Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard, a source close to the situation told Wednesday.

Willard is expected to give an answer to Pitino by June 10, according to the source.

This could make things fairly interesting. Crean has not been shy about sharing his affection for Kentucky coach John Calipari through Twitter. Of course the Hoosiers and Wildcats play each season, so that rivalry is going to be talked about annually. The situation with Louisville and Pitino has been a bit murkier for Crean, though. The Cardinals have aggressively recruited Indianapolis, an area Crean knows he needs if he’s going to be successful.

If Willard, who hired Crean as an assistant at Western Kentucky in 1990, ends up taking a job two hours south there’s going to be a new layer to the Indiana-Louisville-Kentucky battle.


  1. Dude, it’s Holy Cross, not Holy Name. Holy Cross actually has a little basketball tradition. 1947 NCAA Champs with Bob Cousy. Have made the tourney quite a few times recently as Patriot League champs with Willard as coach.

    – HC alum, current IU grad student

  2. Indianapolis has been under siege for years. Pitino is just the latest to cherry pick the superb homegrown talent that IU couldn’t attract over the past decade +.

    It’s been ridiculous. Of all the Indiana boys who’ve dominated D-I, not to mention made it into the pros, we’ve only seen 2 in candy stripes: E.J. & J.J. (& we only had them for 3 yrs. combined). The list of those who got away has become to large to even bother listing anymore.

    Consider, however, that Crean is bringing in a Mr. Basketball winner (Indiana’s 2nd in 3 yrs.) & the 2nd runner-up in just his second recruiting class; and that’s after posting the worst season in school history. Also, the upcoming classes are some of the deepest and most talented this state has ever produced, and many of the front runners have interest in IU.

    It’s going to take more time for him to continue to lay and build upon his in-state foundation, but he’s off to a great start already. Soon enough, all Indiana roads will lead to Bloomington, and it may well be Pitino who’s considering blowing up I-65’s J.F.K. bridge.

  3. Holy Name, seriously? I’d expect this if you were doing your own reporting, but when you are citing another reporter, and the college name is in the body of the article??? Wow, just lazy editing when you can’t get the name of the college right. Holy Cross.

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