by Kent Sterling
Maybe Indiana University Basketball Coach Tom Crean has a better agent. That’s the beginning and end of my list as to why he should be paid $710,000 more per year than Michigan coach John Beilein.
Michigan announced yesterday that Beilein had signed an extension that will keep him in Ann Arbor through 2019.
The two coaches had virtually the same job – rebuild decimated Big Ten basketball programs as quickly as possible while regaining a measure of morality in recruiting and academics. Both have succeeded.
Beilein was hired a year prior to Crean, so he’s had a bit of a head start, but Michigan’s appearance in the NCAA Championship game against Louisville was a position Hoosiers fans thought might be reserved for them given the level of talent and maturity on that team.
Both teams sported two first round selections in last month’s NBA Draft with Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller going #2 and #4, while Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. went #9 and #24.
Indiana won the Big Ten regular season title last year with an thrilling 72-71 victory at Michigan by virtue of a made bucket by Zeller on one end and a missed tip by Jordan Morgan on the other. Michigan won the title the year before.
Beilein is succeeding with Indiana kids that Crean either overlooked or couldn’t win. Next season, Beilein will have five Indiana kids with Glenn Robinson III, Spike Albrecht, Mitch McGary, Andrew Dakich, and last year’s Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin.
Indiana will have 11 Indiana kids in 2013-2014, but five of them are walk-ons for an 18 man roster. It’s not that Crean is being outrecruited in Indiana, but Indiana fans would certainly enjoy seeing McGary, Irvin, and Robinson in candy-stripes.
Michigan had the 13th ranked recruiting class for 2013 while Indiana’s was #6.
Beilein in almost every way appears to be the equal to Crean, and yet the $2.45 million paycheck, while quite hefty, will not be as substantial as the $3.16 million Indiana will pay Crean.
Crean, 47, came to Indiana through tradition means from Marquette, where he led the Golden Eagles to a Final Four and relentless 20+ win seasons after serving as an apprentice to Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Beilein, 60, was a little more circuitous in his career path with stops at Erie Community College, Nazareth, LeMoyne, Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia. Maybe that pedigree gave Crean a bit of a head start in earning earlier that continues to weigh in his favor.
See if you can guess whether this quote was from Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass when the extension for Crean was announced or from Michigan AD Dave Brandon talking about Beilein, “He recruits outstanding young men to represent the men’s basketball program and develops them as players, students and future leaders. (Coach’s name) has built a program that will compete for Big Ten Championships on a regular basis and make exciting NCAA tournament runs.”
It could easily be for either, but it was Brandon talking about Beilein yesterday as the extension was announced.
So is Indiana overpaying for Crean, or did Michigan get a great deal on a slightly older model?