Tom Crean Rumored as Louisville Interim HC After Rick Pitino Placed on Leave

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 12: Head coach Tom Crean of the Indiana Hoosiers is seen during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Assembly Hall on February 12, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With Rick Pitino appearing to be out as head coach, the Louisville Cardinals may be looking at Tom Crean as an interim replacement, ESPN's Lisa Kerney reported Wednesday. 

Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal's Phillip M. Bailey that Louisville placed Pitino on administrative leave and that the legendary coach is "effectively fired."

The Indiana Hoosiers fired Crean in March after he spent nine years at the school. The Hoosiers went 166-135 under Crean and won two regular-season Big Ten titles. Indiana also made four NCAA tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet 16 on three occasions.

CBS Sports' Gary Parrish sees Crean as a perfect choice under the circumstances:

Pitino's likely ouster comes after the FBI announced it had arrested four college basketball assistant coaches on federal charges following an investigation "that focused on coaches being paid tens of thousands of dollars to steer NBA-bound players toward sports agents, financial advisers and apparel companies," per ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach.

According to Schlabach, Louisville wasn't identified by name in the FBI's report but it was determined the school was listed as "University-6" in the FBI's report. The FBI alleges Christian Dawkins, a former representative of ASM Sports, and financial adviser Munish Sood arranged to have $100,000 paid to a recruit in order for him to sign with the Cardinals.

After Louisville was recently embroiled in a prostitution scandal, Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde argued the death penalty would be a reasonable punishment for the Cardinals. Despite the specter of further action by the NCAA, ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman reported Louisville remains an attractive coaching destination:

Louisville opens the 2017-18 season Nov. 12 against the George Mason Patriots. With the regular season less than two months away, hiring an interim replacement for Pitino would seem to be the best option for the Cardinals.

And as Parrish noted, Crean's experience would make him a good fit for a team that will carry high expectations into this year.

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