Tom Crean is the current head basketball coach for Indiana University. He’s married to Joani Harbaugh, sister of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Crean attended Central Michigan University, and while he didn’t play ball for the Chippewas, he got his education in coaching working as an assistant at Mount Pleasant High School and Alma College while still in school.
In 1989 he was hired by Jud Heathcote as a graduate assistant coach at Michigan State. At the end of the 1989-90 season, Crean went to work at Western Kentucky University. He spent four seasons in Bowling Green, but when head coach Ralph Williard left and Crean was passed over for the job, he joined Willard at Pittsburgh. In 1995 Crean was hired by his friend, Tom Izzo, to be an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. In his five seasons there he helped the Spartans reach the NCAA Final Four, and was instrumental in recruiting several high profile players – including Marion’s Zach Randolph — to the program.
His contributions did not go unnoticed, and when the head coaching position at Marquette University opened up, Crean was hired to lead the Golden Eagles. He went 30-28 in his first two seasons, with one appearance in the National Invitational Tournament. In his third year, Crean’s team finished with a 26-7 record, Marquette’s best season since the 1975-76 season. As a reward, he was named Conference USA Coach of the Year and signed to a lengthy contract extension.
Building on the success of the year before, Crean’s squad, led by Dwayne Wade and current Indiana Pacer Travis Diener, reached the Final Four hosted in downtown Indianapolis at the RCA Dome. Though he failed to reach that level of success again, Marquette enjoyed unprecedented success with Crean at the helm. The team was invited to the prestigious Big East Conference for the 2005-06 season, and with point guard Dominic James, a product of Richmond, IN, running the show, Marquette reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in Crean’s last season at the school.
When Kelvin Sampson resigned from Indiana amidst allegations of recruiting violations in 2008, Crean took over a basketball team that had just two returning players, only one of whom was on scholarship. As anticipated, his first year in Bloomington resulted in a school worst 6-25 record, but with several highly ranked recruits already in the fold, Crean has Indianapolis sports fans eyeing a return to the school’s glory days.