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Coaching carousel: If Tom Crean were to leave Indiana, where could he land?

With rumors rampant, we look at some potential destinations for Tom Crean if he were to leave Indiana.

Penn State v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tom Crean is currently the Head Coach of Indiana University’s basketball program. This can’t be denied. He might still be the coach next year too. He also might not! With that said, let’s speculate. Speculating is fun.

If Tom Crean were to leave Indiana, one would have to assume that he would be somewhat of a hot commodity in the job market. With the amount of experience Crean has, we can almost guarantee he would have a few phone calls to answer.

Let’s take a look at some potential destinations.


Under Kim Anderson, Missouri has never had more than 10 wins in a season. Now, after three years at the helm, Missouri is reportedly letting him go. This opens the door for Tom Crean’s arrival, as there is already a great deal of speculation into the potential move.

Why Tom Crean would come here:

The SEC provides Tom with a load of interesting opportunities. With the job that Crean currently holds, pressure has become a major facet of his job. In the SEC, he wouldn’t have the same pressure by any means. It’s a football first conference, and Crean might like the opportunity to fly under the radar.

The SEC also provides very little competition. Every year is a battle to see who will finish second behind John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Oh, and the SEC offers John Calipari. With the nature of the Crean-Calipari relationship, I wouldn’t be surprised if Crean wanted the opportunity to beat down on Coach Cal every year.

Along with the conference in which Mizzou plays, the program also has some previous success to offer coach Crean. Mizzou made five straight NCAA tournaments starting in 2009, and they had six straight seasons with at least 23 wins. So, it has been proven that you can win there.

Now with the program facing some struggles, they’re in need of a rebuild. Tom Crean has shown he can do that.

For more on why Mizzou is actually a pretty good job, the guys over at Mizzou’s SB Nation page did a nice job of selling the program.

Why he wouldn’t:

Rebuilding is hard. Just because Tom Crean has rebuilt a program before, doesn’t mean he likes doing it. It’s quite the taxing job.

Tom Crean might also not be the biggest fan of playing second fiddle to a football program. Maybe Mizzou isn’t a big enough basketball school for him.

NC State

NC State announced earlier in the season that Coach Mark Gottfried was no longer going to be a part of the program come season’s end. It was an odd move to have Gottfried finish the season, but I guess that doesn’t matter now. After letting go of a coach that went 123–85, NC State will be seeking its fourth coach in 13 years.

Why Tom Crean would come here:

NC State is a major challenge for anyone. There’s enormous pressure to succeed from the fan-base, even though NC State is barely the third best basketball school in the state of North Carolina. So, if Tom Crean were to hop on over to NC State, that means old Tommy boy is looking to put his abilities to the greatest test.

NC State is like the Friday New York Times Crossword Puzzle. It’s incredibly difficult, but probably remarkably rewarding to successfully get through.

NC State not only offers Crean a great challenge, but it also offers Crean the premier basketball conference in america.

It’s not a bold opinion to think the ACC is the best conference in college basketball right now, and Crean would get the chance to be one of the faces of it.

Coach K, Roy Williams, and...

“It’s NC State. It’s NC State.”

In addition to everything else NC State offers, the one facet that many might not think about is NC State’s relative location to Zion Williamson.

According to 247Sports, Zion Williamson is the best recruit in the country next year, and he’s from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Maybe Crean wants a shot at Zion. Or, maybe it’s Maybelline.

Why he wouldn’t:

Hot Take Alert: NC State is a bad job.

Like I said before, NC State is a high pressure job with incredible competition. It’s the job he already has, just worse. Indiana doesn’t play little brother to Duke and UNC, but NC State does.

With that said, Tom Crean would look great at center court.


Yeah, that tweet kind of says it all. LSU needs a new coach. Why not Tom Crean?

Why Tom Crean would come here:

“Insert everything I said about Missouri”

LSU has all the same benefits as Mizzou. Calipari, low pressure, and a great opportunity to rebuild.

LSU has already proven it can bring in top talent after recruiting Ben Simmons not too long ago. With Crean at the helm, he could seriously build something.

Plus, maybe this will help Tom Crean meet Shaquille O’Neal. That has always been a dream of mine.

Why he wouldn’t:

Once again, does Tom Crean want to play second fiddle to a football school? LSU isn’t the biggest job in the world, and Crean will certainly not be a focal point at the university.

North Texas

On March 5th, North Texas fired its basketball coach Tony Benford after he went without a winning season in his five years at the school.

The move was made a day after North Texas were eliminated from the Conference USA Tournament. North Texas went 8-22 this season, and only won two conference games. Now, North Texas needs a coach.

Why Tom Crean would come here:

Leicester City had 5000 to 1 odds to win the Premier League this season, and if Tom Crean believes in miracles, then North Texas is the ideal fit for him.

After the high pressure job of being the Head Coach of Indiana Men’s Basketball team, now Tom Crean has the chance to relax a bit. Mimosa in hand, Tom Crean could start the fanatical rebuild of North Texas.

Just think of the marketing opportunities! The school’s mascot is an eagle named “Scrappy”, the school’s coliseum is called “The Super Pit”, and the team name rhymes with Tom Crean.



Why he wouldn’t:

It’s North Texas.


John Thompson III, son of former coach John Thompson Jr., has been coaching at Georgetown for 13 years now.

In the last 4 years, Georgetown has only made the tourney once. That just isn’t going to cut it at a school of this much history. With that said, because of John Thompson’s family ties to the school, it may be difficult to let him go. There are rumors, and if he is let go, Crean might be the perfect replacement.

Why Tom Crean would come here:

Georgetown is a school rich in history. If you haven’t noticed yet, Crean loves to preach to the history of a program and Georgetown would offer him that.

Crean could take over a basketball focused school in the growing Big East conference and plays home games in an NBA arena, and he would certainly find no issues in regard to resources or funding.

Georgetown is a big time job that could suit Crean perfectly.

Why he wouldn’t:

The biggest issue with Georgetown would be the massive pressure to replicate prior success. When the elder Thompson left the sidelines, his top assistant, Craig Esherick, took over until JT3 was ready to take the wheel in 2004. If Crean took the job, he would be the first guy outside of the Thompson family orbit to hold the position since 1972. That’s a difficult position to be in.


Illinois currently has a head coach. That head coach is John Groce.

Will Illinois have a coach at the end of the season? I’m honestly not sure, so why not consider Tom Crean?

Why Tom Crean would come here:

Tom Crean knows the Big Ten. He did win the conference twice. That definitely takes some sort of awareness for your competition. Crean knows the area too, since Illinois clearly isn’t that far away from Bloomington.

At Illinois, Crean would most likely be offered similar resources to what he has now, and he would also have the opportunity to stick it to his former employer.

With Illinois’ ideal location in regards to the city of Chicago, Crean could have some fun on the recruiting trail. He would also make a dynamic dance partner with Lovie Smith.

Why he wouldn’t:

Maybe Tom Crean doesn’t want to stick it to his former employer.

Also, I doubt Fred Glass would even allow him to stay in the Big Ten.


Dayton isn’t firing anybody, I’ll tell you that much.

Archie Miller is currently one of the hottest coaches on the market. If he goes to a bigger school, then Dayton is going to need a replacement. Crean might be that guy.

Why Tom Crean would come here:

Dayton offers one of the strongest and most underappreciated fan-bases in the country. Dayton also has some of the nicest facilities in the country, as Dayton consistently hosts NCAA Tournament games every year.

In addition to the resources, Dayton also has Kostas Antetokounmpo. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. The younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently redshirting at Dayton, and he will have four years of eligibility ahead of him. Tom Crean could have some intrigue in coaching Giannis 2.0.

Why he wouldn’t:


Archie Miller currently makes $692,547. I’m just going to let that sit there.


Last year, Tom Crean appeared on The Vertical's live NBA draft show. Crean provided analysis of prospects, and quite simply, Tom Crean is really good at TV. He is probably destined to work in the television industry at some point, so why not now?

Why Tom Crean would come here:

Television is fun.

If Tom Crean wants to get away from the stresses of coaching, he can live a relaxing life of analyzing players. It would be the perfect opportunity to boost his #brand and get more people listening to what he has to say.

You can look to guys like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher as examples of former coaches that now make a living on TV, and both of them don’t seem to be making a move back to coaching anytime soon.

Crean has always been a great face for marketing, imagine what ESPN could do with him.

Why he wouldn’t:

Tom Crean likes coaching.