Indiana Basketball – If you think Fred Glass lashed himself to hull of the SS Tom Crean, read comments again!

by Kent Sterling

Don't let the PT Barnum of IU athletics facade fool you.  Fred Glass is very smart, committed, and pragmatic.

Don’t let the PT Barnum of IU athletics facade fool you. Fred Glass is very smart, committed, and pragmatic.

ESPN quoted Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass yesterday in a post that generated a lot of buzz and conjecture about how deeply Glass is committed to Tom Crean as the head coach of the IU Basketball program.

Not so fast my friends, as a former Indiana football coach who learned he had been fired while listening to the radio is fond of saying.

Glass is an attorney by trade, a very smart man, and also a good guy – way too smart and good to hint that Crean will be fired soon after the end of the season in an Andy Katz post.

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If I’m Crean reading that Katz post, I would have gone to sleep last night with the stomach ache that precedes imminent termination.  Here’s why.

Nowhere does Glass say that Crean will be back next season.  He had plenty of chances, but never said, “Tom will be back in 2015-2016!”  Many times, the words of an attorney need to be assessed based on what is not said, not what is.  Let’s go through the quotes in the post one by one:

“I’m bullish on Tom. He’s done a really good job with these guys. It’s ridiculous to say that someone is coaching for his job for one game and that it would be up or down in one game.”

Okay, here is another way to say the same thing – I like Tom, but his fate will be determined during a comprehensive postseason evaluation of a full body of work and the potential for success or mediocrity in the future.

“He’s a great coach. He has my full support. I have a great deal of confidence in Tom’s body of work. This team overachieved early and then hit a tough patch.”

All present tense.  No proclamations about the future.  Here’s an alternate version, Tom Crean will remain the coach through the end of the season, at which point I will review his status.  My confidence in Tom as a coach will continue until he is no longer the coach – as is the case with all good boss/employee relationships.

“There is a sense that Tom is only keeping his job because of the buyout,” Glass said. “And while that’s a big number and a significant amount of money, that’s not what is keeping him in the job. I think he needs to be the coach. … I want him to be the coach here.”

When Tom gets fired, the buyout won’t be an issue.  Fred wants Tom to be the coach, as most employers want their employees to succeed even as they know it will likely come to an end.  Another version of this quote, When Tom gets gassed, the buyout won’t be an issue, and I won’t enjoy firing him.

“The rise and fortunes of Indiana [athletics] is with Indiana basketball,” Glass said. “Everybody thinks the guy with the clipboard, the next guy, can be better. But starting over is overrated. You can’t be willy-nilly about it.”

Yikes!  This one is where I would get nervous if I was Tom, and with the size of that buyout ($11-$12 million) who wouldn’t want to be Tom?  Here’s the alternative – When Indiana Basketball doesn’t excel, donations dry up.  If we can get the right guy who will excite the fan base enough to write checks, we will replace Tom in a Monroe County minute.

“We have a super, young team,” Glass said. “James Blackmon has hit the freshman wall. I’m really optimistic about this team. Losing Collin Hartman was a big blow, and not having Devin Davis was tough.”

This can be interpreted in a bunch of ways – an honest litany of excuses, a defense that will suffice in explaining Indiana’s mediocrity to potential Crean suitors, or an acknowledgment of mediocrity without throwing the players under the bus.

“We have a chance to win our 20th game and be 10-8 in the Big Ten,” Glass said. “I would take that in a heartbeat at the beginning of the season.”

Uh-oh!  I thought this season might have been much worse is not exactly a ringing endorsement for the leader of a program whose success and failure is so intrinsically tied to the financial health of the university and athletic department.

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Don’t be so naive to embrace the Katz interpretation of Glass’s comments.  Fred is way too smart to say what he’s thinking about a coach still in the middle of a season that could still take a dramatic turn – especially to Andy Katz.  If Indiana Basketball fails this season, it will not be because of Glass spouting off to ESPN.

And Glass will never allow himself to be the cause of future malaise and indifference among fans.  That’s when ADs get gassed.

31 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – If you think Fred Glass lashed himself to hull of the SS Tom Crean, read comments again!

  1. Matterhorn

    Kent- Whatever happens this is all I ask. If Crean remains next year I would like to know what the expectations are for the team and would be considered acceptable to warrant Crean finishing up his contract. Also and I have said this in previous posts Glass is taking a HUGE risk waiting till next year to get rid of Crean and the basic reason is in recruiting and returning players. Do you really want to make the biggest hire of your career then set your guy up for failure by giving him a team that includes no Troy Williams, No yogi, no Blackmon, no power forward, no center and no recruits for 2016. Not real smart. Listen the body of work is there, go back to Marquette look at Crean’s defensive numbers, they are not all of sudden going to be a top 20 defense next year, it’s not happening.

    Reply
    1. Steven Brown

      Just a note: I think that Yogi is solid for next year. I think that Williams is solid for next year. Blackmon is not solid for next year. IU fans, pray he doesn’t leave, because there is a major probability he does.

      Reply
      1. j

        why do you think Blackmon is jumping ship? another mass exodus perhaps? if so we have more than recruiting problems.

        Reply
        1. Steven Brown

          I have been watching Blackmon closely. In a recent game, Blackmon had a terrific start. For some reason, Crean pulled him out of the game and really got in his face. I mean Crean was hot! From that moment on, Blackmon has played very tentative. He looks lost, especially on defense. There have been some plays where I know he has not given his best effort. This may be another Luke Fisher moment.

          If Blackmon does not feel positive chemistry with Crean and the rest of the team. He is toast. He is gone. Believe me, there are plenty of teams drooling to get his talent.

          I have watched IU basketball for 50 years and I can tell you that IU is not a team yet. Rarely do you see any intensity in their play. I think that they are lucky (and deserve praise) for the wins that they have so far. I wouldn’t expect any more. BIG RED is still a major work in process.

          Reply
          1. billy

            Of all the players on this IU team, I think you see TW gone, Yogi gone, Priller gone, April gone, Stan gone, and Blackmon gone.

            Blackmon needs to transfer to UK where his heart is and where his dad played.

            As long as Yogi (Crean’s sock puppet) is at IU, everyone else is going to be second tier.

  2. Billy

    Joannie Harbaugh, isn’t happy in Bloomington. She wants out. Unhappy wife=unhappy life. Tom Crean will leave Iu for another position, thus there will be no buy out. Guaranteed.

    Reply
  3. j

    ive heard crean is working on an “amicable split” with the university. maybe a resignation and some spending money? why isn’t mrs crean happy in btown?

    Reply
    1. Billy

      What is there to be happy about in Bloomington j? And her husband is getting hammered (as he should be) every day for the last week. Take it to the bank that he’s going to be somewhere else next season.

      Reply
      1. j

        I hope he leaves. fred glass’ words were interesting. I liked the word “BULLISH.” not only because traders dump stock for little reason but maybe……

        BULLISH was a Freudian slip of sorts. maybe that word tells two stories along with virtually all of glass’ comments.

        BULLISH——-BULLSH.

        maybe fred is bullish,
        maybe fred is fed up with the BULLSH.

        very interesting take on glass’ words kent.

        Reply
  4. Steven Brown

    You can’t have a team that expects a 6-4 guard to play defense against a 7-0 center. Somehow Purdue was able to get Hammonds plus recruit a 7-2 Haas who seems to be awesome. He was someone who IU could not defend against. How does this happen? There is some serious deficiency in the recruiting ability of IU. I look at someone like Trey Liles slip through our fingers. OFFER THEM A DAMN CAR AND A CONDO IN ASPEN! Everyone else does! Set them up with courses including: Athletics 101, How to install your Jock Strap, or Athletics 102,
    Advanced Shoe Lacing, Roy Williams could probably give us some help here! Let’s GET WITH THE NCAA PROGRAM!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Pauly Balst

    Question: what does he mean by hitting the freshman wall?

    The amicable split angle may make sense. But one month ago Crean was in the catbird seat, how could they already be negotiating a departure?

    Reply
  6. j

    as far as catbird seat I think what happened a month ago could have been what wall street traders call the “dead cat bounce.” a stock plummets. some see it as a value and buy some hence the bounce. the dead cat ultimately lands at central montana polytechnic a and m.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Wall Street traders are a colorful bunch. Their sayings always prompt equal moments of laughter and wincing.

      Reply
  7. Philboyd Studge

    Interesting interpretation Kent. At the heart of it is your frequently repeated homage to Fred Glass’s brilliance. Quite a Valentine. I’ll take your word for it.

    Too bad some imbecile tied him to the moronic contract that gave the goofball Crean a $12 million buyout after reaching the Sweet 16 with a team of veteran pros, including two NBA lottery picks. Who did that, and has Glass sued him for incompetent advice?

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Your use of the word “brilliance” is hyperbole with a purpose I’m sadly not privy to. Glass is a smart guy. Has he been unduly influenced by Crean’s ability to distort his own image away from reality? That’s a valid question.

      Reply
          1. j

            look. we all want the kids to be able to compete without the looming shadow of tom creans career darkening every room. but the fact is…it is what it is. I call them kids but they are old enough to vote and old enough to fight in a war. they are old enough to understand things happen for a reason. lots and lots of cybertalk that creen is as good as gone? IS HE? how does this work with a massive buyout? if I had twelve million and the buyout was the only issue could I give it to fred and say “get rid of him?” what happens behind the scenes in this situation? is fred legally allowed to contact other prospects?

          2. kentsterling Post author

            If Kennedy could talk to Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Fred can find a way to get to a coaching candidate – particularly with those he shares friends and acquaintances. The question, given the dearth of donations coming to the athletic department, may not be whether they can afford to buy out Tom – it’s whether they can afford not to.

    2. Pauly Balst

      Agreed. As of 2:08 EST Saturday March 8, 2015 this officially became a Fred Glass issue.

      Crean is who he is. This program is going nowhere under Crean.

      Glass said this week starting over is overrated. UK did not mess around for 7 years with Gillespie. Seems to have worked out OK.

      Reply
  8. j

    ive heard there is a stipulation about Indiana university in the contract of a new England area professional coach. any truth to that? is fred pals with any bball coaches in belicheks neighborhood?

    Reply
  9. j

    my money says fred glass went out of his way to build a relationship with brad stevens when he coached an hour up the road and that he stays in contact with the occasional phone call or email. he is too smart not to have done those things.

    Reply
  10. j

    pretty much a given that crean is going to crean priller and april to make room for the existing signees. but if he gets one or both of the guys who attended yesterdays game who is going to crean then?

    Reply
    1. Steven Brown

      For God’s sake, let’s hope that Glass doesn’t pick Dan Dakich. I love the way that Dakich praises Crean about the job he has done, but criticizes him for being a lousy coach. He is doing everything he can to set himself up as the heir apparent.

      Reply
      1. j

        dan dakich was 89 and 89 inconference play at bowling green over ten years. a 500 record over ten years at a mid major could not define mediocrity any better than that.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Need to break Dan’s era at Bowling Green into two chunks – pre- and post-WVA dalliance. Before, BGSU regularly overachieved. After, it was impossible for Dan to recruit. Still he found a way to compete. Dan is a hell of a coach, and would do great things at Indiana.

          Reply
      2. kentsterling Post author

        I think Dan is plenty happy with his current gig. Why would he move toward that life choice?

        Reply
  11. matterhorn

    Kent, Make sure you get Eddie white and that other clown you had on your show Friday, those guys are idiots!

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Love Eddie and Danny. They made that hour fly. Loved every minute. I sounded quite sane by comparison!

      Reply

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