Tom Crean: The Reason That Marquette Is In the Big East


The comparison between Marquette and Creighton works on a number of levels. Both schools have a Jesuit tradition with campuses that are located in urban areas. They also have been supported locally by alumni and a segmented passionate segment of their cities’ populations. There is a difference in population size between Omaha and Milwaukee, but there is also a discrepancy in the amount of options that exist to compete for the entertainment dollar in the two markets.

The disclaimer to this piece is that the blogger is a Marquette alumnus, but don’t hold that against the university. It was an oversight due to a clerical error. Tom Crean brings energy and enthusiasm to the Indiana Hoosiers program that must make John Mellencamp proud. It almost entices me to want to jump into a pick-up truck and start a riff on my acoustic guitar. The fact that he took on the challenge of rehabing the program in the immediate aftermath of Kelvin Sampson destroying it tells us he’s a master motivator.

By Patrick Herbert

Under the tutelage of Michigan State Spartans leader  Tom Izzo -the platinum standard in college basketball,  Crean has achieved remarkable success thus far. He has tirelessly paced the sidelines and encouraged his team incessantly. Now for the real accomplishments. He has the ability to recruit and develop talent. Usually those skill sets are mutually exclusive. The aforementioned Michigan State mentor is one of the exceptions- as is Bo Ryan in Madison.

Indiana is one of the top five jobs in the country and I would argue on par with NBA coaching jobs. Except they offer more stability yet still similar money. In case you are wondering, the other four programs that would join Coach Crean’s are: UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina.

Coach Crean has ascended to this position through fortune and elbow grease. Dwayne Wade has achieved the pinnacle at the college and professional level due to his own motivation and the guidance of Tom Crean. There were even rumors a few years ago-before the trifecta arrived in South Beach-that Crean would take over the club largely due to Wade’s desire. This tabloid content did not come to fruition largely because of Crean’s desire to teach.

Much like Izzo, his practices are intensive in the physicality department. This creates some situations that present hard fouls in games. I have yet to see a player on the opposing team become confrontational or perturbed after these transgressions. They know that the spirit of the player is not to do harm, but rather to avoid easy buckets.

This is where the comparison to Creighton comes in. Dana Altman rose to a larger program like Crean. He has the Phil Knight money at his disposal and he will be successful in Eugene. The difference between Creighton and Marquette is the vigor the latter has injected into the fan base in such a brief period of time.

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