Let’s not waste our empathy on Tom Crean.
Yeah, he was fired yesterday, and that’s never pleasant for a person. I’m sure hearing the news for Crean was an unpleasant and emotional moment, but is it really a worth an outpouring of sympathy from fans and pundits?
People making $28,000 a year are downsized every day in the Hoosier state, and we spend no time mourning their loss when the end of their road might end in homelessness.
Crean is not going to be homeless – ever. Not if he lives to be 550 years old.
To walk out the door, Crean is guaranteed to receive $4,000,000 over the next three years. That number will almost certainly be offset by future income, but it’s a nice safety net. While the coach at Indiana, Crean was paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $28,000,000. That’s a lot of jack for coaching hoops.
You and I would be thrilled to be fired with millions in the bank. We would skip out of our boss’s office whistling the happiest of tunes, pack a bag, and decompress with the family for as long as we liked wherever we liked.
If Crean wants to coach next year, some university will hire him to do just that, and they will pay him roughly 100X more than that downsized employee we discussed earlier.
Crean did a nice job for the first five years of his Indiana run, and then the program fell into mediocrity. Few are arguing that the best way forward for Indiana Basketball is with another steward – someone who can be counted on to recruit Indiana, teach fundamentals, and hold players accountable for behavior on and off the court.
Over the last four years, Crean failed in all three areas.
I’m not above sympathetic feelings for anyone getting the ax, but it’s impossible to argue that this termination was a mutually beneficial decision that will benefit Crean in the end.
And can we please stop with the “Tom is a good man” crap. He didn’t die. This isn’t a time for an obituarial lamentation. He was a good to mediocre coach at a program where more is demanded. Period.
This is a big boy world where who are are as men and women is not germane to whether we are successes or failures according to our bosses. We get hired, get promoted, and get fired. Rinse and repeat until we retire or die.
Tom got canned. He drove home, hugged his wife Joani, likely sat down to explain the situation to his son and daughter, ate a sandwich, and started formulating an path with his agent toward what is next.
It’s business. Don’t delude yourself into believing this was some end of life moment for a guy who will continue to succeed as a college coach somewhere that is not Indiana, but pays nearly as well.
Save your tears for the people who are trying to figure out how to feed their kids this weekend.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.