Tom Crean The Father


When I was younger, I used to get into a lot of trouble. I can remember one time when I got into a fight with some classmates of mine. Nothing too major, but enough that it got me a front row seat in front of my principal’s desk. Like any good parent, my father disciplined me.

No cell phone for two weeks, no hanging out with friends except at school. I was only in fifth grade at the time, but I was being taught early on in my life what the purpose of discipline was. Correction.

I have never thought of Tom Crean as much of a coach. I thought of him as a father figure to a team. He rarely yells at his players, but instead praises them for their accomplishments and corrects them calmly. However, there comes a time in every father’s life where he must lay down the law. He must make his child fear him in the same way man should fear God.

Tom Crean, the current father of the IU basketball team, has showed more weakness in these last few days as the head coach of Indiana basketball than is acceptable.

I do not blame Tom Crean for everything. I want to make that clear.

First and foremost he is a coach. He is not a babysitter. He cannot have 24/7 control of his team. No parent can do the same either. My dad couldn’t watch me all the time, and it was in the times he wasn’t there to watch me that I made my mistakes. He was always quick to show me two things: discipline and love. He showed me the latter through the former.

Tom Crean has fallen short.

Emmitt Holt, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams have all been suspended for four games. Of these four games, two of them are exhibition games.

I can’t help but be filled with a sense of shamefulness. I can’t help but be filled with a sense of repulsiveness. I can’t help but be filled with pure and utter angst at this weak handed approach to discipline.

You have a player lying in the hospital because one of your players got behind the wheel after drinking. I don’t care that his BAC was .025. I’m well aware how little alcohol that is. That is not an excuse though. He is under the age. But more than that, he is under the microscope. It seems that a lot of player have forgotten that. What was going through the mind of Hanner Perea last year when he got a DWI? What were Yogi and Stanford thinking when they tried to use fake IDs to get into a bar in the spring? These people are Indiana basketball players. Do they not realize they are the single most recognizable figures on this campus?

Short answer: I guess not.

Long answer-maybe they don’t care. It shows a lack of respect. They’re showing that they don’t respect the fans. Think of all the people that put their heart and soul into this basketball team. Indiana has a rich history of basketball. People get behind this team more than anything else in this state. It’s a lack of respect for the university. They are ambassadors of Indiana University. When they put on their jersey, they are representing not just themselves, not just the team, but every student, faculty, staff and alumni associated with this institution. But it can all boil down to one last disrespect: their coach. There were times when I was younger that I did not respect my father. But as I grew up, through discipline and maturing I came to respect him very much. Tom Crean has expected his players to mature but he forgot to discipline them. You can’t expect players to grow if you don’t show them tough love.

“It may be to late for the coach to save his job. It may be too late for this coach to regain control and respect of this team.”

Kelvin Sampson had respect from his players. True, he violated NCAA rules and regulations that left this program in shambles. But nobody on his team ever strayed outside the line. Tom Crean used to have respect. Players understood what it was going to take to rebuild the program.

That team is long gone.

In fact, not a single member of the team that historically beat Kentucky remains.

There has been a culture change at Indiana.

Tom Crean has spent so much time rebuilding this program to be a success. He accomplished that in two straight years with the likes of Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, Verdell Jones, Christian Watford,  Will Sheehey, and countless others. Unfortunately, Tom Crean has spent the last two years trying to chase and duplicate that success. Maybe he has changed the way he recruits. Big names over players that you can count on to be responsible and respectful of what it means to wear the candy stripes.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Illinois

I know that if I ever got behind the wheel at the age of 19, and my BAC was .025, I guarantee I would have a one way ticket back to Floyds Knobs, Indiana courtesy of the university. And if they didn’t kick me out, my father would be disciplining me and bringing me home.

Even at the age of 19, my father can still discipline me. Maybe a lot less than he used too, and of course it is a lot harder.

For Tom Crean, it’s much easier.

He can set curfews, he can make harsher suspensions, he can show leadership, he can show backbone. He hasn’t, though.

The father is being walked all over by his sons.

It may be too late for the coach to save his job. It may be too late for this coach to regain control and respect of this team.

And it may be too late for the father to gain back the respect of his sons.