Cody Zeller Says Tom Crean Once Asked IU Managers to Capture Bat for Pep Talk

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, IN - JANUARY 07: Head coach Tom Crean of the Indiana Hoosiers looks on during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall on January 7, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana defeated Illinois 96-80. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Coaches aren't afraid to go outside the box to motivate their players, but Tom Crean went a bit overboard one time when he was the head basketball coach at Indiana.

Former Hoosiers player Cody Zeller confirmed a story on Fox Sports' Titus and Tate about a time Crean wanted the team managers to get a live bat:

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

This is officially one of the wildest stories in college basketball 😅 @CodyZeller confirms that Tom Crean has tried some crazy motivation tactics thanks to the Harbaugh brothers ⬇️ https://t.co/DdzlJThboF

"He once upon a time wanted to get a live bat...to use as a motivational tactic," Mark Titus relayed the story he was told. "And he asked the managers to go find a bat."

After the managers said they couldn't buy a bat in Indiana, Crean said they should go to the woods to find it. The current Georgia coach ended up using plastic toy bats in front of the players. 

"Very true. I can confirm it 100 percent," responded Zeller, who left IU after his sophomore year and was picked fourth overall in the 2013 NBA draft.

The Charlotte Hornets center provided the backstory as well, noting the incident came after Crean's brothers-in-law, Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh, came to speak to the team shortly after they met in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

While one football coach told the players they needed to act like serial killers, the other said they should be "mean and nasty like rabies-filled, blood-sucking bats."

Crean tried to take this image to life but had to settle for a plastic version. His tenure in Bloomington ended in 2017 after nine seasons.