Tom Crean Agrees to 6-Year Contract to Become New Georgia Head Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2017, file photo, Indiana coach Tom Crean watches during the team's NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern in Bloomington, Ind. Crean, the 2016 Big Ten coach of the year after leading his team to the regular-season title, is getting static after the Hoosiers dropped to a tie for 10th place. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Tom Crean is returning to the sidelines as the new head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, the school announced.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported the former Marquette and Indiana head coach was "finalizing an agreement." 

Wojnarowski added it's a six-year contract.

While Crean served as an ESPN analyst during the 2017-18 college basketball season, he remained a marquee name to fill potential openings. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he was interested in the Georgia job after ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello reported the Bulldogs fired Mark Fox.

Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News said of Crean, "He is expected to draw interest from a number of major-conference schools with job openings," and Borzello reported he met with Pittsburgh after it fired Kevin Stallings.

One look at Crean's resume underscores why multiple schools were reportedly interested in hiring him after he accumulated a 356-231 record at his previous two coaching stops.

He guided Marquette for nine seasons from 1999 to 2008 and led the Golden Eagles to five NCAA tournament appearances. He burst onto the national scene during the 2002-03 campaign, as Marquette won the Conference USA title and reached the Final Four behind a playmaking guard named Dwyane Wade.

Crean eventually took over one of college basketball's blue-blood programs following his tenure at Marquette when the Indiana job opened after Kelvin Sampson resigned in 2008 because of a recruiting violations scandal.

Crean coached nine seasons at Indiana before he was fired in March 2017. While the Hoosiers started slow during the rebuilding process after the scandal and went 6-25, 10-21 and 12-20 in his first three seasons, he ultimately rebuilt them into a Big Ten power and reached the NCAA tournament in four of the next five years.

He also won the conference crown in 2012-13 and 2015-16 and guided Indiana to three Sweet 16 appearances while coaching notable names such as Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, OG Anunoby and Noah Vonleh.

The desire to coach didn't leave Crean while he was working as an ESPN analyst either.

"I've never lost the drive to coach, but I haven't (been) consumed with the fact I'm not coaching," Crean said, per Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune. "I've tried to dive into everything I'm involved with. I just look at everything as an opportunity to be even better than what I was and what we were."

His next opportunity will come with Georgia, as he looks to lead it back to the NCAA tournament after it missed the last three.

This will be a unique challenge for Crean, considering football is king when it comes to the Bulldogs, and he is accustomed to coaching at a basketball hotbed at Indiana. But he already has experience dealing with the pressure of the sport's highest stage at the Final Four and has proved himself as a solid recruiter in the past.

Georgia has made just three NCAA tournaments since the 2001-02 campaign, and Crean will strive to establish consistency at the program in his third act as a college basketball head coach.

Related

    UNC's Seventh Woods to Transfer

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    UNC's Seventh Woods to Transfer

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Dawkins Allegedly Said Duke, UNC, UK Would Pay for Zion

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Dawkins Allegedly Said Duke, UNC, UK Would Pay for Zion

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Recapping the Coaching Carousel: Biggest Winners & Losers

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Recapping the Coaching Carousel: Biggest Winners & Losers

    Rob Dauster
    via CollegeBasketballTalk

    Dawkins: Pitino 'Doesn’t Know What’s Going On'

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Dawkins: Pitino 'Doesn’t Know What’s Going On'

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report