Johnson leaving for Louisville

Indiana assistant coach Kenny Johnson is leaving from the program to become an assistant coach at Louisville under Rick Pitino, a source confirmed to the Herald-Times early Tuesday morning after media reports broke confirming the news Monday night.

Shortly after the news broke, Johnson posted a slightly cryptic message on his Twitter account.

“I thank God for my unyeilding support system,” Johnson said. “Life has taken many twists and turns. Been blessed with genuine employers who are true friends.”

The loss of Johnson is a painful one to an Indiana program facing heat after a 17-15 season in which the Hoosiers were not selected for either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. Johnson had only been with the program for two years, replacing Bennie Seltzer for the 2012-13 season after Seltzer took the head coaching job at Samford. However, Johnson quickly made a major impact for the Hoosiers in recruiting, and his on-floor contributions helped the Hoosiers to a Big Ten championship and Sweet 16 in 2012-13.

The Oxon Hill, Md., native had coached at Towson, several Washington, D.C. area high schools including Paul VI in Fairfax, Va., and also coached in the powerful Team Takeover AAU program. His connections helped the Hoosiers land center Noah Vonleh — who declared his NBA draft entry after one year and is projected to be a top 10 pick — rising sophomore forward Troy Williams and guard Stanford Robinson and incoming freshmen Robert Johnson Jr. and Max Hoetzel.


  1. Certainly an interesting move. I understand the Maryland move with the connections KJ had with his alma mater, but moving to Louisville is curious. IU could probably match any budget dollar for dollar, so it might have just been a time that allows everyone to move on after a 17-15 season.

    I don’t think this is a bad thing. I have to agree with ‘ole Harvey here. Would love to snag someone that has some substantial Indiana ties.

    Time to lure Dane Fife home? Hmmm….

  2. It will be more interesting to see who replaces him. Will it be another recruiter with a pipeline somewhere far and beyond like KJ? Or will it be an X’s and O’s guy that crean clearly needs by his side. We need a recruiter, an X’s and O’s guy and someone with Indiana ties so we can get a grip back on our instate recruits that are fleeing to other states. Just a thought.

  3. Does the term rats fleeing a ship fit here. Yeah we could have matched pay but Pitino can give him job security. Plus they are a hot program with major visibility. Fife is not leaving UM for us. I love IU but UM is hot now too and no job security once again at IU. If Crean does not make NCAA he is gone after next year. I wish Kenny luck as he did help us recruit some good guys.

  4. OSD, your phrase was the same one that immediately came to my mind, but I didn’t want to call Johnson a ‘rat.’ But you’re right, Dane is not leaving his current (stable) job to take a parallel move at IU where a turnover at the top seems likely soon. If he stays put with Izzo for another year of two, he may have the opportunity to move to the top job here.

  5. Is this surprising to anyone? Will Crean go after one of our own to replace KJ. Wonder if the now available Mike Woodson might be in the mix.

  6. I just had a passing thought ……Johnson leaving is probably the best news OTHER Big10 schools could get. Matta at OSU now has less resistance from recruits,UM and Fife also,Illinois has Indiana native John Groce, and Minnesota has Pitino’s son ……this program stating to mimic the Titanic

  7. I never knew there were so many pessimistic Hoosier fans. Any news that has any potential to be viewed as negative, these “fans” will exploit to advance their own apocalyptic narrative. Some of you really need to get a life.

    This is not an example of “rats off a sinking ship,” this is an example of a school willing to pay their coaches a lot more money (than IU) recruiting a talented coach/recruiter away from another program. It happened to IU Football’s Offensive Coordinator, but nobody thought it was the end of CKW at the time. And this is an opportunity for Johnson to work for a coach recognized as one of the best in the game (he’s a scumbag, but he’s been a successful coach).

    And if someone comes to you and offers you a substantial raise, with all your other criteria being met, you don’t go back to your current employer with the “if you match that offer, I’ll stay here. If not, I’m gone” response. If you don’t accept the substantially better offer during the interview process, you won’t be getting the formal written offer (the only kind of offer that matters) in the first place.

    Funny how some of you criticize IU for what they pay their basketball coaches but are now complaining when another school lures them away with more money. Credit Crean with finding and hiring coaches that demonstrate so much success the they become coveted by other successful programs.

  8. Podunker.. heres a good anology of what happened. Imagine you are on trial and you have Lawyer A;in the middle of the trial Lawyer A accepts a job with the District Attorney and now is your prosecutor. Just as recruiting/signing period starts Johnson goes to Louisville( might as well have gone to Kentucky) Louisville and IU many times are recruiting the SAME players.Its not like Johnson accepted similar job at Alabama or Texas. He did a parallel move to a team ,essentially, right across the street.While it may be helpful for Mr Johnson…..I cant see or read ANYTHING positive for IU program from it

  9. Indiana basketball recruiter Kenny Johnson opens new doors for team<<<< headline in Sports Column for Louisville courier-journal…also Louisville just recruited 7 footer Anas Mahmoud

  10. Just as Coach Wilson has turned Assistant coaching changes into positive adjustments I near can guarantee Coach Crean will do the same just as he did with losing Bennie and Calbert. He may bring on board a young dynamo from a VCU/Wichita St. type outfit and who is well known in the same recruiting area Johnson is. How about this analogy for ya, what if he could instruct post players beside being a recruiting hawk. Analogies can be + or -. Screaming the sky is falling is drama queen stuff.

  11. TJ…in Texas- you must have one depressing life. Never hear anything but descriptions of your emotional toilet. Clarion’s right and you are a walking, talking, writing source of contagion for the weak. Coach Johnson is leaving because 1. Louisville seems committed to live its reputation as a ‘sports school’. It tried and failed at attracting professional sports- except for a once a year donkey race- (mostly outdone by Indianapolis) and its business community are relying on major college sports as ITS gig. They pour hundreds of thousands of dollarss (mostly from tobacco and whiskey distillery fortunes) into their only franchise, a one location University of Louisville.

    Sports, NCAA sports is important to what they call the U. of Louisville. You’ve never heard of a professor with a world wide reputation being attracted to the U. of L. for its academic environment. Have you ever read of a U. of Louisville prof being a candidate for a world or national award in Literature, in Chemistry, in Biology, in Physics….That’s all there is. You would be very comfortable living and being a fan of the Cardinals. I coached there (the area and UofL) for a long time; ended up thinking that the one thing Louisville proves is…it is impossible to bore a man to death.

    So be a good boy TJ in Texas. Follow Podunker, follow Clarion, follow any of the other passionate (and sometimes critical Hoosier fans on this blog) or become a Cardinal (or UK fan) who get their thrills out of hearing this and that near illiterate high school basketball player will be playing for their team for six months to a year. For your switching your allegiance as you have done, you can do what all Louisville and Kentucky residents do. They cross the river to Indiana to enjoy a fuller life that includes but is not obsessed with admitting and overpaying for tickets to see their near-illiterate not-NBA team’s players wear their “I didn’t graduate from UofL” or “I didn’t graduate from UK”. And, those who don’t get to wear their Kentucky Derby shirts to work at their Churchill Downs minimum wage job.

    So TJ in Texas (that’s almost like living near Churchill Downs, isn’t it?), respect Indiana…and, if you graduated with an IU degree, respect yourself.

  12. Just another fly by night that uses Indiana for their own personal “going home” parties; a means to put their once unnoticed names on the steepest slope of notoriety/exposure through using Indiana’s tradition that simply can’t be trumped by my many other programs.

    They come to Indiana to dine on the best fans and feast with their once empty plates where respect for the game endures through the chaos of an overall declining integrity present in sports.

    But they are all hungry for nothing that puts Indiana back into the competitively rich world of deep tournament runs. They merely use us for what they can do for themselves.

    Why should we be surprised that players and coaches aren’t so in love with Indiana? It’s where you can get the finest meal of basketball for the smallest investment of giving back. You can leave without even asking if we need any help with the dishes.

    It’s just a product of the times. I have to put my own kid on six guilt trips to just get the lifting of a dirty plate to be brought to the sink. The culture of measuring coaches by how many no-name players they can eventually place in the NBA is nothing different. It’s all part of growing feeling of blasé for candy stripes. They come to a place where their name is loved unconditionally because the game is so revered. It’s not hard to lose sight of just how rare such love is.

    One day we will find some coaches and players that will be willing to take us back to the sixth banner without our six guilt trips and six years of self-persecution for some silly mistakes.

    The last 10-15 years, Indiana is the choice destination to get out of doing the dishes. Great campus…Best fans…Unparalleled atmosphere. If your name is never going to be attractive to those most currently ‘rich’ in modern day college basketball banner distinctions, is their really a better place than Indiana? Indiana is their meal ticket. Great place to pad your once average resume. Great place for the few with some raw NBA potential to get the needed PT to look sexy to the next level.

    Nobody cares about bringing any true luster back to the Indiana banners. Indiana is a place to reclaim your reputation(or have it butchered for the most frivolous and minor of mistakes)…It’s where you can play it square for the duration your stay. You can be regarded as a decent and honest soul. Crean will dose you with some holy water(a Hoosier baptism of sorts0 before you go mingle with the real whores that are ruining the game.

    Any you’ll never have to really fight for the candy stripes. Why on earth would Indiana need you to stay long enough to do any dishes? Save that for John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and the NBA pimp houses. Those are places you’ll need to bring a plate to the sink to get any love back…Maybe even roll up your sleeves and grab a towel for them. They can wash, you can dry.

  13. oops.

    If your name is never going to be attractive to those most currently ‘rich’ in modern day college basketball banner distinctions, is [there] really a better place than Indiana?

  14. Tsao…all I did was point out a “PERCEPTION” by the Louisville Newspaper; as Indianapolis Star pointed out ,Louisville is only 2 hrs south.With the analogy ,all itried to point out was ; 1 day recruiting for IU and the next recruiting for Louisville ,usually for the same players.Josh Cunningham’s decision due this week too. It does not bother me that KJ left for greener pastures;what DOES bother me its 2 hrs south recruiting the same players because I THINK he will hear :” what does Louisville offer me that IU wouldnt” the close proximity to the 2 campuses should give concern to fans.Going home would have at least put distance between campuses

  15. TJ, I just read your analogy. Here’s your another analogy. The accused on trial represented by a UofL law school grad admitted to the Kentucky Bar (it probably is a bar)realizes the lawyer defending him knows very little law and fires him. The fired lawyer then goes to the Prosecutor who hires him and assigns him your case.

    Now he walks into the Court and, immediately, the judge disqualifies him because, having represented the accused before he has inside knowledge’ of the defense’ strategy.

    The Judge, a dignified, respected Judge with an Indiana University undergraduate education and an IU Law degree, visibly upset, but she simply disqualifies the now former defense attorney, slightly shaking her head. A ‘smirk’ appears in her face and she tries to hide it. But to herself she is thinking, as she hands down the disqualification: ” Who is this dum__ss…where did he go to law school??!!

    TJ in Texas…it’s really hard to read your constant nonsense. It is even embarrassing in the sense that you claim to be a Hoosier fan…please, no more…we will love you for wisdom if you just stop. Sometimes a man’s gotta know who he is!

  16. Muhammad Ali was from Louisville. He’s a pretty notable sports figure.

    And gritty, hard working, Hoosier that was pushed off the squad(according to Kent Sterling) is from Louisville.

    Don’t mess with Louisville. Float like a butterfly, and sting like a Remy. Everything happens for a reason. This is just a higher power slapping us back in our arrogance face with a bit of his own teasin’.

  17. In my line of work, sales guys will jump from competitor to competitor. What happens is they begin to lose credibility with their customers. “You told me a month ago that IU was a great place to go play bball and would give me the best opportunity and Louisville probably isn’t a good place to go and I shouldn’t go there, but now you are saying you were wrong and Louisville is suddenly good now. What changed, besides they now sign your checks? What else were you wrong about?” Recruiting is sales and in sales credibility means a lot.

  18. Kenny Johnson is merely another guy pursuing his dream and career, He has a talent for which there is a demand and he owes it to himself and his family to pursue and maximize that talent. That’s why we hired him, that’s why we hired Tom Crean and that’s why we hired the President of Indiana University Michael Mc Robbie. We knew that, Ken Johnson knows that.

    He (Johnson) also knows that Head Coach Tom Crean’s situation is very precarious, and he understands clearly his own future depends on his protecting his career with good decisions. No one can blame him…not one bit. What we can do is wish him well and actively work to meet the challenges that Johnson is responding to.

    Any coach who accepts the job Johnson has just left has to know that it depends on Crean’s performance next year; and it could be a one year job that, also has the potential to become a college coaching career ending situation. That is exactly where Crean’s job situation is. Only Coach Crean can respond to the situation and he must do so showing savvy, humility and leadership.

    Crean has to look at himself critically, assume both his strengths and, most important, his weaknesses as a coach. His belief in prayer can be a strong tool for him at this point. It (prayer( needs to lead him to Wisdom.

    And, as a head coach he has an advantage. With humility, he can hire someone or more than someone (someones +) to strengthen his weakest flanks. Perhaps, his gametime analysis and decision making; perhaps his ‘system’, perhaps game substitution patterns, defensive setups, or individual ‘teaching’ skills. Perhapsw it is his demeanor during games, his ability to remain calm in crisis moments and, perhaps, it is how he conveys his response to his players…whatever…perghaps something else.

    But, Coach Crean needs to take a good look at himself and show strength and make decisions and changes that will allow him to continue to build the program he saved from sanctions and turmoil. Only he can do that and Coach Crean knows where to find the strength to make the decisions he must make and submit himself to them.

    If he is successful the Hoosiers will return to, once again, be a synonym for, consistently, the best levels of college basketball; and, its banners will continue to remind everyone of Indiana’s basketball history, the academic success of its college players and its great fans. A university that stands for everything that is good in intercollegiate athletic competition.

  19. Harvard, your #15 re Ken Johnson…I don’t think so. He’s just another guy who knows life offers only so many chances and you have to grab them…or, as you say eloquently and somewhat frequently, no one else is going to extend the hand to you.

    I don’t know KJ, barely know anything about what he is about. But I do know that, while with us, he did a good job and represented us as well as we can be represented. More important is for us to think about how we create a situation where leaving IU (in a parallel move) is almost inconceivable.

    But Kenny Johnson, he’s just another guy fighting to keep his nose above the water level each day (or as you state it, fighting to stay away from the back seat of cars parked in the alleys). Good fortune to him and don’t forget why you did it.

  20. KJ was a good recruiter, and perhaps a good assistant coach. But Crean recruited well and had other good assistants before KJ arrived in Bloomington. No reason why Crean can’t find another talented and ambitious young man that sees a job at IU as a major advancement in his career.

    Coaches will come and they will go, but IU Basketball will endure. Too many people (fans, alumni, etc) love it passionately to let it become irrelevant. If it can rise from the ashes left behind by a decade of terrible mismanagement, it can recover from losing one assistant coach.

  21. Tsao-

    I’m not the least bit upset that he’s leaving. I don’t doubt that he’s a fine man. I just simply believe that there is no real necessity to have a pipeline to east coast recruits. We were getting the young men that most other programs with recent NCAA success weren’t strongly interested. Yes, Crean can find the occasionally overlooked “star is born” dark horse that will surprise through determination and freakish athleticism. I tend to think so much personal investment on limited players/projects is not very productive to team chemistry and tournament-ready grittiness/cohesiveness. Going home parties should be about team missions and the ultimate goal of taking the candy stripes back to the biggest stage of college basketball-The Final Four.

    I just assume we find an assistant that understands that talent is only as useful as it applies to making a team stronger.

    I’m rather tired of watching recruits using Indiana as a place they can enjoy the ‘meal’ of notoriety and tradition while leaving before showing enough respect to put their hands in some dishwater.

    I remember when my parents use to have huge holiday get- togethers for the entire family(kids, in-laws, grandchildren)..My parents would buy all the food…all the beer and wine…all the snacks. My mom and dad would prepare the feasts(sometimes working days in advance preparing pies, shopping, etc)…They would both slave in the kitchen for most of holiday. We merely came to table and devoured the food and drink. Most of my brother-in-laws would then take their asses to living room chairs to watch football or basketball.

    Is that respect? Is that decency? I would be the only male in the house that would help out with the dishes. My wife would also help out. All the others(even the young grandkids) would just act like they had some sort of entitlement. I sorta see most of these recruits in the same fashion I saw my in-laws…They use Indiana for the meal. But there’s really no respect. There’s no desire to make Indiana feel special and appreciated. There’s no tendency to say ‘thank you’ to Indiana.

    And now that my parents are gone, it sorta hurts..I watch all the family fighting over their remaining possessions. My parents rest in the earth and I see them all sitting in living room and watching football after my mom and dad made their house a home to them. They couldn’t even get off a chair to help clean up the dishes….But now they want the dishes.

  22. The Indiana basketball program needs many things. This is an opportunity to get one of those.It will be interesting to see what choice the man in charge makes.

  23. Cheaney- gone
    Johnson- gone
    Remy- gone
    Creek- gone
    Etherington- gone

    Noah- gone(not willing to stay with high level perimeter players on the way)

    Jonny Marlin- gone. This one hurts the most.

    Found? A church league project of all projects from Arizona who’s mother believes God brought Indiana to her son’s doorstep. Yippee.

    But I can assure you, there is no need to fret. We simply need Fred to douse the Kingsford ashes with a gallon more lighter fluid. Win Tomorrow! Fireworks today! Flames and smoke…flames and smoke! Who cares if the once prime cut of Indiana is now cheap rubbery meat that tastes of too much wind and fuel?

    We’re building Indiana with big podium chiefs that don’t want to do the dishes. Sadly, hose that believed we were more than a prayer and a meal ticket, we’re pushing away.

  24. I forgot a couple

    Roth- gone(eligible but never asked to return)
    Hollowell- gone(ex-“Movement” member)
    Patterson- gone(ex-“Movement” member)

    So, the trash and the recovering cripples ain’t good enough for Crean and Indiana…Indiana isn’t good enough for Crean’s overnight successes to want to stay and persevere toward deeper tournament runs. But we’re good enough for Perea and Jurkin to stay four years. Hate to be a realist, but this is not a model for success.

    Your burning down loyalty amongst those blue collar guys you needed when IU was down while never ceasing in fluffing a few silk pillow on the Hoosier name for the good of the NBA game. This is Indiana under Tom Crean. Coddle and anoint with excess adulation and press those that don’t want to do the dishes. Piss on those that believe in the colors.

  25. Harvard, I’ve agreed with the bigger and more important point you about Indiana and basketball since the first time I walked into Butler (Hinkle)Fieldhouse and saw the bird nest during a regional that was packed to the hilt. In many ways it took me to days when as a kid my dad would take me to the stadium with 80,000 standing fans watching what they called the ‘Classic’, the biggest rivalry game in a soccer mad place.
    On the way there (to the stadium), we would pass by a convent where the nuns were all kneeling with their crosses in their hands, praying…for their team (the same team that the present Pope is a fanatic of)…
    My only point about Kenny Johnson is that he came to Indiana and did a fine job, we have nothing to reclaim from him. As I said in my post, he’s taking his shot and can’t let the opportunity pass by. And, as you have pointed out, he may be protecting his career and probably the best shot life has given him. Who am I to take his shovel away?
    It also says something about the point you’ve been making. If you are right, God Bless and protect Ken Johnson.
    But you also make a deeper point and I think you get to the core of the issue. This is Indiana…where basketball is the birth crib of our personality and emotions, where the sound of a ball hitting the backboard announces the day is dawning and the flat sound of a forearm hitting the rim says it’s time to go home.
    I do remember the days before IHSAA class basketball, when you could not find a place for the chewing gum at Hinkle, where the kids from the ‘country’ (at that time it was Zionville and Pike Township) first met the hard street kids from Tech and Attucks and Manual and Shortridge and they stood there and stared at each other until the horn went off and nothing else mattered…next week, the State Semis.
    And names like Edmonds and Crain and Rayl and the unfortunate Chuck Fawcett and Bolyard and Billy Keller, Downing and Big George (McGinnis), Mount. They thought it was more important to stay home and the coaches at the ‘big state schools’ (both of them) never needed anything but a road map of Indiana to recruit their best teams. (I remember the first seven footer I ever saw or/and played against, some kid named Mc Coy from Ft. Wayne South. He kept complaining to the ref that I kept grabbing his shorts and kept talking to him. Our coach told me to distract him…so I told him the story of Little Red Riding Hood some 200 times. Just repeated it over and over and over…he wanted to hit me by the time it was over. When there was a time out, I’d tell him….
    ‘… hold on, Stretch…remember that…I’ll be right back …’

  26. Smart move by Johnson. More money and better program with Pitino. Improved job security also at U of L. IU’s administration hasn’t made a good Men’s b-ball head coach selection since Knight was fired. CTC’s not going to change. He’s made how many millions in the last 6-7 years at IU, maybe 10+ million and is laughing all the way to the bank!

  27. PB, The statement standing out to me is the last sentence of his #(1) final thoughts, “he left Marquette a lot better than he found it”. 6 years ago that is all most of us could have hoped for. Then double sweet 16’s happened.

  28. Yeah Clarion I hope that the Crean ceiling was not 2011-2013. But that may turn out to be the case. Peaking at two Sweet Sixteens is not ideal.

    However, I would have some of the same conflicted feelings of the MU blogger. Along the lines that Crean will most likely leave Indiana better than he found it. He being a good bridge to the next step in which hopefully IU could be a consistent threat to reach the Final Four and add that 6th banner.


  29. PB thank you for the link. A very informative and telling oped by a non-vested blogger. I echo the sentiments of Clarion and Tsao. I also agree with your “hope” but from the MU blogger’s timeline and here at IU …..seems to be right in line 🙁

  30. The MU blogger was not conflicted in what he called a “distaste” for Tom Crean. What he failed to explain was the main reason for the distaste.

    7) I’m excited for the upcoming Marquette season already. Not because I know anything about what the year will bring, but because I’m genuinely excited to see how I feel about Marquette. For the past few years, I’ve had a hard time genuinely rooting for them, and I suspect it’s due to my distaste for Tom Crean. This year I get to figure out my reluctance to truly embrace Marquette is attributable to Crean, or some other reason, like the entertainment value that I get from seeing my friend Greg overly upset after Marquette losses. Only time will tell.

    I’ll tell you why you have a distaste, Mr. MU blogger…It’s because the man epitomizes someone without a humble bone in his body. And I think what is most irritating is the fact he simply can’t help it. He’s like the spoiled snot in your old middle school classroom that the bullies were anxious to pummel. Crean has an innate sort of weird blindness to tactful and honest social interaction. He’s like pull-string doll and his dark eyes look through you instead of displaying an empathetic heart that truly listens or cares. I’m not sure what causes that sort of distance in a human being…I have a hunch there’s some sort of real internal guilt mechanism and the defense strategy of the mind is a refusal to examine it more deeply. A conceit of importance of such unfounded magnitude manifests itself in the condescending heavy selling of morality and faith mixed into a strange aloofness someone that preaches but never truly makes you feel like they are invested in your ideas/voice/concerns.

    From what I’ve witnessed over the past six years, he has positioned himself to be completely inapproachable. All interviews sound the same and no reporter/local sports journalist can seem to close. I’ve yet to see any interviewer get remotely close to breaking the ice through common channels of human interaction(e.g. employment of levity, sarcasm, self-deprecating humor that can often blend with accepting some blame/responsibility, introspection). There is just nothing that wants to comfortably accept the imperfect nature of his own being. There is a impenetrable wall and any attempt at a glimpse inside the man is stymied with “holier than thou” posturing and a refusal to see himself as flawed the entire lot of god’s creatures.

    And I think it’s just such an attitude that will cause him to be forever hampered in achieving real greatness as a coach. To accept flaws and take some shouldering for mistakes is to open the door to respect and growth. It’s very difficult for any player or coach to feel completely valued when their leader cannot show any humility nor find a way to, at minimum, pretend they are wrong once in a blue moon. And this is where the distaste begins.

  31. Harvard, reading the notes about Jeremy Hollowell’s transfer,it was said that nothing bad was said about coach Crean and Coach said nothing bad about Jeremy.What was said by Coach Hunter was that the environment was bad,I thought the head coach was responsible for the”environment”. If by all accounts CTC cant or wont change can the environment be any different,and if it isnt how many will he chase away this year? Seems to be a “habit” he picked up at Marquette

  32. I’m with Podunker on this one. I won’t bother repeating.

    In terms of Johnson going to a competitor, so be it. However, it did have my wife and I discussing just where are the athletes and coaches with loyalties to IU? Who is familiar with our tradition, and is dedicated to getting us back to where we were. Not Johnson. But that’s ok. We need to get someone in who’s a tireless recruiter and “gets” IU basketball. I’m not opposed to kids outside of Indiana by any stretch, but there’s a base, a history, that defines where we came from and what we believe in. Can the next coach spin it so it’s relevant.

  33. I sense a man very protective of his powers. I would imagine it’s very hard for Crean to break free from the perceptions that he’s pretty weak in the applied aspects of the game. And that growing reputation amongst peers may tend to make him less open to advice from assistants.

    And the rejections from Knight haven’t helped. I think Crean was glaringly naive to believe Knight would ever give him the time of day. If anything, Tom Crean should have gone the opposite direction of wanting validation from such a polarizing figure that many IU fans still feel a connection. And he adds to the problem to an even greater degree when he throws out his classic cocky smirk(as if always having an inside joke)when those he’s chasing(whether legends or created villains)refuse his advances and look at him with expressions the furthest thing from validation.

    But here’s a bit of a defense of Tom Crean…It’s not entirely his fault. We’ve made the basketball program into a relic…Cook Hall didn’t need to be a museum of such ostentatious gloating of what we “were.” All the pressure to claim that “we’re back”…All the consatant reminders, the enormous posters and life-sized images…All the overkill of slogans painted on walls and the success that occurred three decades ago. It would be easy for even the most humble of coaches to get lost in it all. It’s almost easier to kneel to the history and traditions than to find your own place in a new day. There’s a lot of fine coaches that would make the same mistakes as Crean. As more time elapses without a banner, Knight’s legendary status grows exponentially. We’ve all made too much of it. We’ve made it nearly impossible for any coach to live up to exaggerated fantasies our own perceived historical importance. There’s a fine line between respecting and admiring our past success and letting it swallow you and stop anyone from having their own little corner table at Indiana. It’s all rather heavy and claustrophobic …And on many levels, many people are turned off to organized religion because it’s too heavy in its own right. And now we parallel a “heavy” Indiana attempting to constantly glorify its traditions with a “heavy”use of cheap and unnecessary shared soundbites(e.g. ‘from the ashes’…’Hoosiers rising again’..’a Hoosier resurrection’).

    For any current or future coach to be successful at Indiana will require a removal of all that heavy and purposeless pressure. Bob Knight didn’t have such pressures when he first came to Bloomington. We need to embrace something new and it will only arrive by getting over ourselves. Maybe a coach that just wants it because he wants it…rather than ‘Because it’s Indiana.’

    Sorry to ramble…Sorry if it doesn’t make any sense.

  34. With regard to the link PB provided above (#32), I think the following quote is a fair point. “Again, there are plenty of things not to like about him (Crean), but he left Marquette a lot better than he found it.”

    There were a lot of people who found a lot about Bob Knight’s personality, character and behavior not to like, but Knight left IU basketball better than he found it. As the old saying goes, “High water covers the stumps.” If Crean wins, most IU fans will, just as they did with Bob Knight, ignore the aspects of his personality, behavior and character that they don’t like and risk bodily injury jumping on his bandwagon. “Winning fixes a lot of problems.” And I contend that if Bob Knight had not been so successful so early on in his tenure at IU, he would have been fired for any number of his outrageous and embarrassing behaviors and obvious interpersonal tendencies. In the end, because he was no longer winning, at least enough to satisfy IU’s high standards and expectations, that’s exactly what got him fired. Winning and playing by the rules kept Knight employed at IU in spite of “the plenty of things not to like about him.”

    So, it is interesting that people take from the opinion piece PB provided the comments that support their established opinion about Tom Crean. Like each of us, Tom Crean is not perfect. Like each of us, he has his faults, both as a man and a coach. Like each of us, he is not universally popular. The problem with some IU fans, according to the comments posted on this and other sites, is that they expect there to be a man out there that is the perfect coach for IU. There is no such man out there, there never has been and there never will be. The only difference between Tom Crean and the perfect IU basketball coach is a national championship. If Crean achieves that at IU, I suspect many of Crean’s flaws will evaporate and he will, in the eyes of many of his current critics, be transformed into the ideal coach for IU basketball.

    If you don’t believe me, just consider that Louisville’s head coach had sex with the wife of one of his subordinates (assistant coach) on top of a dining table at a restaurant and not only kept his job, but got a pay raise and contract extension shortly thereafter. And most Louisville fans could care less, as long as his teams keep winning.

    “Just win, baby.”

  35. Its obvious to MU blogger that CTC will not change,and since he has developed a habit of driving players away,can anyone really expect the environment to change under his “coaching”.Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Welcome to IU/Assembly Hall version of insanity

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