Random acts of Crean-ness; IU coach tries to help young motorist out of ditch

There is a constantly growing mountain of evidence that IU coach Tom Crean is the give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back type, with wide-ranging stories of his coming to the aid of total strangers. Here’s the latest bit from Rick Bozich, formerly of the Louisville Courier-Journal, now of WDRB in Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Caleb Anderson’s car was stuck in a ditch, facing West after he had been driving East. It was nearly 1 a.m. Saturday. Several fresh inches of snow had fallen in Bloomington, Ind., on top of the dozen that accumulated Christmas night. The pavement on Ind. Highway 45 leading to Unionville was slick.

Anderson is 19, a freshman receiver for the Anderson University football team. He had been driving home from a friend’s house, when he reached an icy spot, braked, overcorrected and spun 180 degrees. He was on the telephone, talking to his mother, asking what his next move should be.

That’s when somebody knocked on the window of his 1992 Honda Accord. Anderson rolled it down and told his mother he needed to go.

“Mom, it’s Tom Crean,” Anderson said. “He said he’ll help me get the car out.”

For the next 10 or 15 minutes, Crean certainly tried, standing in front of Anderson’s car, working to push it from the rut and snow and ice.

Crean and his son, Riley, had been driving home from Assembly Hall. On Friday night, Crean’s fifth-ranked Indiana team had defeated Jacksonville, 93-59. Father and son stayed late at the office, preparing for the Hoosiers’ first Big Ten road trip. IU plays at Iowa at 4 p.m. Monday.

“He was dressed very nice,” Anderson said. “The first thing he asked me was if I was OK. I told him that I was. Then he said, ‘Let’s try to get you out of here.’ It’s too bad he didn’t have a few players in the car with him.”

Crean and Anderson were unable to dislodge the car. Another stranger arrived with a truck and chain 20 minutes later and pulled Anderson onto the road. Fortunately, his car remained driveable, and he arrived home after 1 a.m.

Crean was reluctant to discuss the story. “I just saw somebody who needed help and that’s what I tried to do,” he said. “I’ll do it again the next time I see somebody who needs help. I hope somebody would do the same for me or my family.”

I learned about the story from a friend of Rachel Kearney, who lives in Bloomington. Anderson had been visiting Kearney’s home, where he had watched the IU-Jacksonville game with Kearney’s son, Leo Sonnefeld, and another friend, Luke Vargas.

“I thought it said a lot about Coach Crean’s character that he would pull over in the middle of the night to help a stranger like that,” Kearney said. “I just wish he would have had (IU junior) Victor Oladipo with him.”

“When I first saw him, I did a double take,” Anderson said. “I was surprised it was him. But everybody has always told me that he’s a nice person and it showed me that he really is.”


  1. Big deal. I and every person with a moral compass stop and help push people out of snow all the time. It’s just what one does. Crean is right to downplay it. Really a non-story.

  2. Debbie: Do us all a favor and go crawl back under your rock. To the rest of Hoosier Scoop-dom: Happy New Year!

  3. It is a big deal. What the story is saying we have a very successful, high profile man for a coach who is still humble and displays humility through acts of kindness. No doubt there are a bevy of others we never hear about. The bigger thing he was accomplishing that night the story only touched on is he is also providing a positive example of the traits he wants his children to live their lives by. I’d say he is getting the job done both on and off the playing floor.

  4. I feel bad for the kid. He’ll probably get suspended next season for receiving an improper benefit. Crean will be lucky if he didn’t get IU 4 years probation for this stunt.

  5. iusig, good call.

    Good for Coach. Debbie, again you prove yourself a moron. Unfortunately, the truth is most people do NOT stop and help. You may just be young and inexperienced. I’m guessing you’re about three.

  6. Does debbie do anything besides say negative things on this blog? I can’t remember the last time that i witnessed a positive comment from her. Why don’t you go crawl back into your hole and knit some socks for your cats. Its snowing and I’m sure they would appreciate you more than anyone ever will on here, TROLL.

  7. I agree that many people try to help their fellow man in such situations, but many more continue to drive on. What is not being discussed is the risk to personal safety. Good Samaritans are injured or worse all the time helping others. I’m glad to hear that all parties involved got home safely. Back in the 90’s the City of Bloomington put sand on the roads, if this is still the practice we may have a cause for the spin out. Happy New Year everyone and take care.

  8. I don’t beliive Debbie would have stopped to help this motorist. This troll can’t even bring herself to write one positive comment about a good and decent man on this site, which takes absolutely no effort and involves absolutely no risk. So I don’t believe Debbie would ever stop at 1:00 AM on the side of a snow covered road, to help another motorist get his car out of a ditch. No way she would do that. She does not have the character to do something selfless like that.

  9. Laffy, I will try to refrain from that in the future, as, I’m sure, will you. I’ll even let you keep your 10,000 to 1 lead.

  10. I learned the hard way at a beach in North Carolina that people do not stop to help. A buddy and I helped at a head on head collision and I bet there were 25 cars stopped both ways so 50 total and eventually they were all going by us as we helped a man by getting him out of the vehicle and stabilizing his neck and doing CPR. I lost faith in humanity that day as only one man got out and he put his hand on us and talked to us and prayed. One man out of maybe 200 pr 300 people. The man we were helping died in our arms…my life has changed in the last 5 years in so many ways from being involved in this. I have stopped to help two people stranded since then and watched car after car go by so NO…not just anyone would stop! I have been asked if I would do it again because my life has changed so severely/dramatically from that tragic accident we helped on and I get teary eyed every time and say…YES, because I would want someone to help me or my family if it ever happened to one of us. I give Crean a lot of credit. There are many high profile coaches or people who would have kept on driving!

  11. He was with his son. What men do in the confines there own sinful private worlds is an entirely different truth..Outside of selling your glamorous perfections on Facebook..Outside of selling your faith on Twitter…Outside of selling your wife’s loveliness on blogs…Outside the selling and framing your portrait of perfection before the eyes of all observers.

    A man is only as honorable and decent as what he takes privately to his maker. The best stories of heroism go to the grave. The best deeds of men are kept unnoticed, preserved in the heart, never to be turned into propaganda. And the beauty of a kind gesture becomes grossly distorted when either party, the giver, or the receiver, turns it into more, believe it needs to told as a form of redemption or ridding of guilt, than what was born from a special quite inner discussion with your inner soul and conscience the lasting faith of the moment.

    Those that felt it necessary to turn a kind deed into propaganda..? That’s like throwing the thick makeup of a whore on an angel.

  12. Get over your blind hatred of the guy, HH.

    Crean was not out there pushing the story.

    And it’s not “propoganda” to pass it along. People always b!tch “there are only bad stories in the news.”

  13. …we are the world….we are the children.

    Anyway, Christ loves criticism…Makes him step up to the plate.

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