Sometimes, when we’re watching them and writing about them and cheering for them, it’s tough to remember that college basketball coaches and players are people, too.
They root for their hometown NFL team. They get excited about their mom’s homemade cookies. They look forward to Christmas with their family.
And if they see you stuck in a ditch at the side of the road at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning, they will pull over and help you get out.
Enter Tom Crean. The Indiana head coach was driving home hours after the Hoosiers had whipped up on Jacksonville when he came up Caleb Anderson, who had managed to get his car stuck on the side of the road.
Anderson is 19, a freshman receiver for the Anderson University football team. He had been driving home from a friend’s house, when he reached an icy spot, braked, overcorrected and spun 180 degrees. He was on the telephone, talking to his mother, asking what his next move should be.
That’s when somebody knocked on his window. Anderson rolled it down and told his mother he needed to go.
“Mom, it’s Tom Crean,” Anderson said. “He said he’ll help me get the car out.”
For the next 10 or 15 minutes, Crean certainly tried, standing in front of Anderson’s car, working to push it from the rut and snow and ice.
One in the morning. With his kid in the car with. That’s great.
What’s better is that Crean wasn’t looking for glory. “I just saw somebody who needed help and that’s what I tried to do,” he told Bozich. “I’ll do it again the next time I see somebody who needs help. I hope somebody would do the same for me or my family.”
He’s not looking to win brownie points from the IU administration or fanbase. He’s not trying to earn himself more endorsements. He was simply a Regular Joe helping a kid that spun his car out in bad weather.