In his first public comments since Indiana fired him last week, former Hoosiers coach Tom Crean made it clear he harbors no bitterness toward the school.
“I love Indiana,” he told SI.com last Tuesday. “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.”
Crean backed up his words on Sunday afternoon with a surprise appearance at the Indiana women’s basketball team’s NIT game against Villanova. He was there to cheer on his friend, Indiana women’s coach Teri Moren, who was vocal in her support of Crean after his dismissal.
Yesterday: Archie Miller named Indiana’s new coach.
Today: Tom Crean still watching hoops in Assembly Hall.
— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) March 26, 2017
“Not only is he a great coach, I think he’s a better man,” Moren told reporters in Bloomington last week. “I’m so grateful and blessed that I can say that I had the opportunity to work alongside of him. But I’m even more grateful that I can call him a friend.
“He’s going to be fantastic at his next stop. There’s no question. I’m going to be calling him and cheering him on, and I know this, he’s going to be doing the same for me and our staff and our players. That’s the guy he is.”
Moren was right about that, perhaps sooner than she thought, too.
Crean was fired at Indiana despite making the NCAA tournament four of the past six years and reaching the Sweet 16 three times during that stretch. He won an outright Big Ten title last year, but the Hoosiers were plagued by injuries this season and slid from the top 10 in the AP poll in November to 10th place in the league by March.
Credit Crean for putting aside his disappointment so quickly and supporting his friend. If only all fired former Indiana coaches were so classy.
More college basketball from Yahoo Sports:
• Recently fired Tom Crean attends Indiana women’s basketball game
• Darius Rucker won’t miss South Carolina basketball, even when there’s a concert
• Frank Mason’s Kansas career ends without a Final Four appearance
• Oregon stuns Kansas to reach first Final Four in 78 years
• Gonzaga throttles Xavier to send Mark Few to his first Final Four
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