Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Rick Pitino, John Calipari Both Say Tom Crean Will Get Another Job
INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky coach John Calipari and Louisville coach Rick Pitino both supported Tom Crean after he was fired by Indiana on Thursday and both said he would land another job down the road.
“In this profession, you’re hired and you’re fired, that’s the two things that happen,” Calipari said on the eve of his No. 2-seeded Wildcats facing No. 15 Northern Kentucky at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “Whether I think it’s right or not, I’m just disappointed for him and his family.
“But let me say this, someone will hire him because he’s Tom Crean, he works, [has] great integrity. So ther will be a job and if he wants to take it he’ll take it. And if not he’ll sit out and do what I did, I became the best amateur golfer in the country for about six months.”
Pitino added that Indiana was at “rock bottom” nine seasons ago when Crean took over, and suggested both sides were ready for a “change.”
“It’s the thing I don’t like about the business when you see someone who works as hard as Tom get fired,” the Louisville coach said as his team prepares for a first-round game against Jacksonville State here on Friday.
“I thought when I took over University of Kentucky, it was as low as it could possibly get in every aspect until Tom Crean took over Indiana was even lower. We were on probation for two years, but Tom Crean took over a team that couldn’t win, period. He took it from the bottom to winning a couple of conference championships.
He added: “The good thing about it is everybody in our business knows that Tom is an outstanding teacher, coach, workaholic, and he’ll land on his feet. So it’s not always that way for other coaches. So Tom has done a great job at Indiana. They were probably both ready for a change, and Tom will land on his feet and be better than ever.”
Meantime, Michigan coach John Beilein, whose team faces Oklahoma State on Friday, echoed that firings are this time of year are “unfortunate.”
“It’s an unfortunate part of your business that so many of your friends, so many guys you coach against every day, that there’s a change in direction at the schools.,” Beilein said.
“So I don’t know a lot about it. All I know is Tom’s a heck of a coach. We had some — he’s won some championships there, right. But I think we all understand, given the way we are — the way we are compensated, it’s a part of the business and we better be ready to roll with it if it happens to us or to others.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.