Hoosiers' Tom Crean Changing his Bad Boy Image?

Hoosiers' Tom Crean Changing his Bad Boy Image?

As Tom Crean has elevated the Indiana Hoosiers program back to the glory it once knew, he’s also had some damaging public relations moments. However, lately he’s getting more PR savvy.

On February 19th, he chewed out the moderator on the Big Ten conference call over player of the week award criteria. On March 7th versus Ohio State, he didn’t talk to the media after the game until 1:37 A.M! A couple years ago, Crean tweeted a complaint about an early start time when his Hoosiers came to play the Illini. And the reaction went over like a lead balloon.

When IU visited Northwestern in 2010, Crean kept the media waiting a very, very long time.  Which was rather inconvenient for us in Chicago but a MUCH bigger problem for the Indianapolis media who traveled to cover the game, as the Indianapolis Colts were playing the Saints IN THE SUPER BOWL hours later.

Then I saw this blog entitled “Is Indiana’s Tom Crean losing it?”

First, near the end of his team’s loss to Minnesota, Indiana coach Tom Crean appeared to be coaching his team on how to fake a flagrant foul.

Then after his team lost on Senior Night to Ohio State, Crean had his players cut down the nets in Assembly Hall for winning a share of the Big Ten title.

That, at least partially, explains what he was doing until 1:37 a.m.

And when the Hoosiers earned their first outright Big Ten regular season championship since 1993, with a thrilling one point victory at the Wolverines last Sunday. the post-game antics of Crean overshadowed the triumph.

As seen in the video here Tom Crean scolds Jeff Meyer, who was an assistant under Kelvin Sampson when “Mr. Telephone Man” made too many illegal phone calls, got Indiana sanctioned and destroyed the program back in 2008. Crean tells Meyer:

“You know what you did. You helped wreck our program.”

Way to win with class and dignity, and also hang on to something that happened five years ago!

However Crean did apologize for this incident, so maybe he is rehabbing his image. The 2013 Big Ten Tournament here in Chicago has 900 media members credentialed. It’s another chance for him to make friends and influence people among national media. And he was great to the press today after his Indiana team demolished Illinois. He had praise for the conference NCAA bubble teams, Iowa and Minnesota.

I’ve seen Tom Crean chew out his local media, and I’ve also heard media covering IU regularly describe his personality with words that weren’t quite nice. And don’t you dare bring his name up among committed Marquette basketball fans.

But no one would describe his IU predecessor Kelvin Sampson as a nice guy either.

And Tom Crean isn’t the first Hoosiers coach to be as cuddly and considerate of others as Dick Cheney. Bob Knight anyone? You think Crean isn’t media-friendly, Knight famously said:

“All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”

When I met Bob Knight, he certainly lived up to the stereotypes about him: irritable personality, militant, brusque with the media.

Maybe Tom Crean is kind of a nice guy after all. At least when compared to Knight.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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