If Tom Crean had bitter feelings in the days after being fired by Indiana after nine years in Bloomington, he didn’t take them out on the Hoosiers fan base.
Crean opened up about losing his job at Indiana in a story by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated. He told Thamel he hopes the program has success with its next head coach.
“I hope Indiana wins that national championship,” he said.
“I love Indiana,” Crean said. “I loved it here. That’s not going to change. You can’t go loving something every day for nine years and then suddenly hate it.”
It was disclosed in the interview that Crean did not meet with Indiana athletic director Fred Glass before he was let go. Crean said he was informed by his agent of the decision late Wednesday night and “knew what was coming” the next day.
Indiana announced Crean’s firing on Thursday afternoon, immediately after the start of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Crean, 50, has a career record of 356-231 (.606 winning percentage) in 18 seasons, nine at Marquette and nine at Indiana. He won two Big Ten titles with the Hoosiers and went 138-66 in his final six campaigns after rebuilding the program in his first three seasons.
Crean told SI that he intends to coach again soon, and he would prefer to have a job next season. He’s just looking for the right fit.
“The only thing worse than having this happen is to go somewhere we’re not aligned properly (with the administration),” he said. “A good job, a great job, those all come down to the alignment. Resources are important. Facilities are important. Tradition is important. Fan bases are important. Where can you recruit is important. But alignment is key. That, for me, is what you’re looking for.”
Crean also mentioned that he spoke with Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh — his brother-in-law — after the firing. He said there were similarities between his departure at Indiana and the end of Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers.
“(The Harbaugh’s) have always uplifted me in a huge way,” he said. “Even though that’s NFL or college (football), you can always identify with them. Certainly, there was more and more identity with what Jim dealt with in San Francisco.”