The pressure on Indiana head coach Tom Crean has reached a boiling point after the Hoosier’s loss to Purdue on Tuesday night.
It was the seventh loss in the last 11 games for Indiana, who has managed to play their way from the top 25 and a tie for first place in the Big Ten to the verge of being on the wrong side of the bubble. The Indy Star’s columnist, Gregg Doyel, penned a long story on Wednesday about just how much trouble Crean is in, using the fact that “Creaning” has become a thing as an example of just how fed up the fans are.
And it makes sense. Indiana fancies themselves a blue blood, but here they are, six years into Crean’s tenure, fighting for an at-large berth without a single big man deserving of being a starter at this level. Coming off of a disappointing season in 2013-2014 where they missed the NCAA tournament, it’s easy to understand why.
Crean’s boss, Athletic Director Fred Glass, has been doing his best this week to try and quell the storm he knows is coming, backing his coach in every interview he’s done.
“I’m bullish on Tom,” Glass told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz. “He’s done a really good job with these guys. It’s ridiculous to say that someone is coaching for his job for one game and that it would be up or down in one game.”
“He’s a great coach. He has my full support. I have a great deal of confidence in Tom’s body of work. This team overachieved early and then hit a tough patch.”
Glass also told Katz that he met with Crean on Wednesday to assure him that his job is not in trouble. Part of the reason is that Crean has a massive buyout, one that could be as high as $12 million if he is fired this spring, but Glass tried to play down that angle as well.
“The buyout in some quarters is overblown,” Glass told the Bloomington Herald-Times. “I get that it’s a big number. What people don’t realize is, if that were to occur, it would get paid out over five years. It’s not like he gets a $10 million dollar check and walks out the door.”
“I hesitate to even talk about it because it makes it seem like that’s some sort of consideration. It’s not.”
Good luck making Indiana fans believe that. They’ve already launched a countdown to July 1st, when his buyout drops to $7.5 million.