Tom Crean has been named the new head coach at Georgia, the school announced.
Crean is a former Indiana and Marquette head coach that spent this past season as a color commentator for ESPN. He won two Big Ten titles in his last five years with the Hoosiers, but he also missed two NCAA tournaments, which was not enough for the Indiana fan base.
“I am honored an humbled to join the University of Georgia family,” Crean said. “I am sincerely grateful to President Morehead and Greg McGarity for an incredible opportunity. Make no mistake, this is a basketball program inside of a great university that can compete for championships doing it the right way. We will work diligently and with great energy to make everyone associated with the University of Georgia very proud of our efforts. We’re going to need everyone in the Bulldog Nation to help us to create the energy and excitement that will take Georgia to the highest levels of success.”
Georgia went to just two NCAA tournament in nine seasons with Mark Fox at the helm, and one of the issues that he had at the program was that he could not get the best players in a talent-laden city like Atlanta to stay home. That will be a task that is asked of Crean, and there are people that are torn on whether or not he will be able to get that done. Crean is a more diligent recruiter than Fox was, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be able to navigate recruiting Atlanta.
There are basically two ways to look at this hire.
The first is that Crean is an excellent teacher and a recruiter with an eye for underrated talent whose résumé with Indiana is dragged down by the fact that he inherited a dumpster fire that took three years to rebuild. The other side of it is that Crean couldn’t win consistently at a program like Indiana — four NCAA tournaments in nine years — and he wore down relationships with people he needed in his corner while recruiting in-state.
Personally, I lean more towards the former, and I’m not the only one.
“I think for somebody to come to Georgia being naïve to the madness that it is here in Atlanta may be a good thing,” a longtime basketball scout in the south told NBC Sports.
But we’ve seen enough of Crean at Indiana to know that it could go off the rails.
Time will tell.