Indiana Basketball – NY Daily News Report Mike Woodson “Could” Be Next Coach Is Nonsense

by Kent Sterling

Mike Woodson played high school basketball in Indianapolis and was a star at IU from 1977-1980.

Mike Woodson played high school basketball in Indianapolis and was a star at IU from 1977-1980.

In the type of journalism typical to New York newspapers other than the Times, the New York Daily News has asserted that if Tom Crean does not return to the Indiana University bench, current Knicks coach could be next in line.

The piece cites  “a source” who claims several prominent boosters are asking Indiana University Athletic Director Fred Glass to buy out Crean’s contract, and install Woodson as coach.

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This is what we like to call stirring the pot.  Others call it trolling.  Whatever you call it, the piece is the kind of ridiculous and predictive musing that gives everyone in media a black eye.

When asked about Crean, Glass has been as relentless in his praise as Crean is as he recruits.  The votes of confidence have never wavered, and the extent to which Glass has claimed to admire Crean has never diminished.

Questioning whether Crean will be back as coach is absurd for a variety of reasons, but the only justification needed for keeping him is that he pulled the program from the furnace, and rebuilt it during his first five seasons.

There are questions – good questions – about the direction of the program in light of this season’s reversal of good fortune, but even an ill-tempered AD with an itchy trigger finger would allow Crean to continue at least through next season to see if this solitary mess is an aberration or a trend only reversible through change.

Fred Glass is not Yosemite Sam.  He is not the rottenest, tootinest, coach firing athletic director south of Indiana State Road 46.  He is a very steady leader who saves his bullets for emergency use only.

The Daily News piece is more than likely a trial balloon on behalf of Woodson, who would love to return to his alma mater to coach the Hoosiers.  It happens all the time.  I’ve been asked to publish similar absurdities myself.  I have refused for two reasons – the post would represent an inaccuracy, and misleading information under my name would be a lie, and lying is death for a media guy like me. The second reason is that it’s just plain wrong.

Tom Crean will be the coach of the Hoosiers next year, despite a faction of fans who don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Mike Woodson will get another NBA coaching gig because he is an outstanding coach dealt a ridiculous hand by Knicks boss James Dolan – one of the biggest tools in sports.

There will come a day when Crean’s fate will be discussed because that’s the business he’s in.  All men’s college basketball coaches not named Mike Krzyzewski will eventually be fired.  That’s the business Crean chose, and he knows that better than you and I.

But day to face the sheriff will not come in 2014.

9 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – NY Daily News Report Mike Woodson “Could” Be Next Coach Is Nonsense

  1. Bryan

    I guess my ultimate question is why does Crean get so much credit for last year other than recruiting? The team seemed to get worse last year and they were awful in all of March. I would say questions about the direction of the program are not only in light of this season’s failure, but also in light of last season’s. Yes, they won the conference outright, but you forget they lost to OSU and the clinch depended on other etams losing, then we lost AGAIN to Wisconsin in the BTT, and Cody had to pull off a miracle last 60 seconds to take us past the round of 32 against TEMPLE of all teams. We were not a great team down the stretch.

    The tone of every piece you write about Crean suggests he pulled off some kind of miracle because of last year’s season and we should all be grateful and would be insane to consider him not a good coach. I don’t think Woodson is the answer, but it’s infuriating to have to read, week in and week out, that Crean did something special with a blue blood program having one pseudo-successful season in 5.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I’m not sure when I might have said Tom Crean did something special. My position is that he has established enough equity to not be spiked after a disappointing season like this one.

      Was the collapse down the stretch last year disappointing? Of course. Was this year frustrating to watch because of the wildly uneven play? Yes. Does that mean Crean should be fired? No. He’ll be fired eventually because that’s what happens to coaches, but not now.

      Not sure how you can infer my belief is that Crean has done something special from any of that.

      Most of the time I credit the kids for the good stuff. I’m not at practice, so assuming genius or stupidity would be a shot in the dark.

      Do I understand the substitutions? No. Do I agree with the strategies? Not all the time, but despite a stellar record as a youth coach, I’m not James Naismith, Clair Bee, or even Richie Pitino.

    2. Keith Mauck

      Besides Mike Davis’ aberration of the 2002 final four, when was the last time IU made back to sweet sixteen appearances? The 92-93 and 93-94 seasons right? 20 years. IU fans don’t even know their recent history. Let’s put Crean’s accomplishments in the proper perspective please.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Can’t explain that one. Obviously, I know it’s Mickey – the former drummer for The Monkees.

  2. SWalton

    “… going to have to watch the film and get back to you on that one..” one of many redundant post game answers to questions, questions he dont understand.. Questions he does have answers to, were when he was watching the game, very simple, no IQ basketball related… I blame who ever selected him at IU, not Crean, he is who he is, amazing he made it this far with a, what I believe, a weak resume… U got to hire someone who has been a lower level coach in any league, have proved winning with lesser talent, by coaching basic fundalmentals, and instilling the power of no self doubt.. Butler Stevens.. bak to bak, amazing

  3. Steve

    I’m not an IU grad. Just an Indiana fan. I do understand how important winning is at IU, but there are a lot of schools out there with the same expectations. Yes IU had a bad year, but it can not be blamed on Crean’s recruiting or even coaching. Look at Kentucky. Not in the top 25 but they had the top recruiting class last year. I have friends in Kentucky and they are not after their coach and we are talking about Kentucky basketball. My feeling is with the one and done program, it is very hard to judge a recruiting class. I would rather they go back to kids going to pro out of high school. Then you are recruiting a lot differently. Again, Crean is not the issue. One and done is part of colleges. Meaning you win one with great freshman, then you will loose a lot. Players talents are very unpredictable now.

  4. Steve B

    As much as I loved to watch Mike Woodson play at IU, he is not the answer. We don’t need another pro-style offense/defense. If Crean gets creamed, we need some young, ball busting ex-player with some coaching experience, ala Bob Knight, who can teach and demand tough defensive play. In the early years, Knight built IU basketball on tough defensive play. (I remember when the local McDonalds used to hand out free hamburgers when IU held opponents under 50 points.) What happened to that tradition? Those players who did not believe in Knight’s system (or couldn’t execute) didn’t play. We don’t need some highly paid big name to come to IU and screw it up even more.


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