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The wait is finally over at Saint Louis.
The school has officially removed the interim tag of Jim Crews, making him the head coach after Crews led the Billikens to a 28-7 record (13-3 Atlantic 10) and the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles.
Crews was named interim head coach when poor health forced the late Rick Majerus to step down, and all Crews did was lead a veteran-laden team to one of the best seasons in the history of the program.
Saint Louis fell to Oregon in the NCAA tournament round of 32, but while the end of the season was a disappointment for SLU the loss doesn’t negate what Crews and the team accomplished.
But the time in which it took SLU to come to a decision regarding Crews’ status raised eyebrows within the city, and the school was criticized for seemingly dragging its feet on the matter.
Moving quickly would have allowed Crews and his coaching staff greater momentum as it tried to compensate for lost time recruiting. As is, an announcement today falls within a week of next Wednesday’s national signing day.
SLU has instead taken more than twice as long to extend Crews than UCLA needed to offer its post to three outsiders. (Coincidentally, three coaches whom Crews’ team beat in six of six games.)
Saint Louis loses three key contributors from this season’s team in guard Kwamain Mitchell and forwards Cody Ellis and Cory Remekun.
And with four more players being seniors next season, the work Crews and his staff does on the recruiting trail (especially the 2014 class) will be very important when it comes to the long-term prospects for the program.
Currently SLU has two commitment in the 2013 class, 6-5 small forward Mike Crawford (Tipton, Ind.) and 6-8 power forward Reggie Agbeko (Buffalo, N.Y.).