To the surprise of absolutely no one, the University of Georgia has parted ways with men’s basketball coach Tom Crean.
Not to get repetitive, but this is a move which literally no one did not see coming. Crean failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament in any of his four seasons in Athens. Despite recruiting relatively well, including snagging top NBA overall draft pick Anthony Edwards, he both had trouble putting together cohesive lineups and most of all keeping that talent on the roster.
Bulldog fans might have been willing to put up with some turnover, they were not willing to watch promising starters decamp en masse for league rivals like Auburn and Kentucky. It all appeared symptomatic of a program with chronically low morale and going nowhere good for the better part of 18 months.
Crean departs the Classic City with a disappointing overall record of 47-75. Unfortunately for him, his ham-handed tour through the Deep South coincided with a surge in overall quality of SEC basketball, leading to a 15-57 overall SEC record. To put things in perspective, Cream won 20.8% of his SEC games. His predecessor Mark Fox won 49.4% of his. Fox’s Bulldogs put together five straight winning seasons before his ouster. Crean’s teams peaked with a 14-12 record in 2020-21, his only winning season in the Classic City. Regression, thy name is Tom.
Again, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, this was a day which we all knew was coming for a long time.
The more significant question for Athletic Director Josh Brooks and the University is what direction they go for a replacement. High on the list of qualifications should be ties to Georgia’s fertile AAU circuit, as well as an ability to motivate and retain players. Crean showed early promise with the first. He was lousy at the second, and it was ultimately his downfall.
So long, Tom. We’ll always have, well, not much. But at least one of us is leaving town a lot richer. Until later...