by Kent Sterling
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.
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.