When Tom Crean arrived in Bloomington in April of 2008, his to-do list grew almost immediately after he was announced as the Indiana University basketball men’s basketball coach.
The rubble left in the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson era, which can be best characterized as a program-crippling debacle, was larger than even Crean could have imagined.
But unlike the previous two coaches who sat in his position after Bob Knight’s dismissal — Mike Davis and Sampson — Crean spoke about Indiana’s storied tradition with words that actually had teeth. His emphasis on bringing back former players and coaches and reuniting a fractured fanbase was a big part of his plan to rebuild Indiana from day one.
As the long road to rebuilding Indiana inched along, it became clear that Crean’s words were not hollow.
Former players who had essentially disassociated themselves with the program under Sampson’s leadership returned and embraced what Crean was doing to put the pieces back together and build the...