Class act, Tom Crean. - Gregory Shamus
The overused "stay classy" is equal parts banal and beyond the end of its natural usefulness. However, if ever there was an occasion meriting its return, it'd probably follow any number of things Indiana head basketball coach Tom Crean says and the situations he finds himself in seemingly time and time again.
It's great that Crean is heralded both as a leader/molder of young men and an X & O strategist alike, but I imagine if you were to take a straw poll amongst Big Ten basketball fans about which coaches they absolutely despised, it's likely that Bo Ryan's name would make that shortlist, but it would likely be overwhelmingly monopolized by Crean.
Between showing disdain for the press by keeping visiting media stuck in the press room until 1:37 a.m. behind some sort of blanket of "care for his players" to how opposing coaches in the Big Ten are basically unwilling to so much as shake his hand at the end of games now, it's no surprise that his peers and those that follow the sport don't exactly think much of Tom Crean, the person. Now we can go ahead and add this to his body of work.
Following a hard-fought road victory in which Crean's Hoosiers outlasted Michigan by but the slimmest margins of physics' cruel joke to clinch an outright Big Ten regular season championship, Crean had the audacity to say to the face of a Michigan assistant, former Kelvin Sampson assistant at Indiana Jeff Meyer: "You wrecked our program. You know what you did."
Regardless of Sampson and company's actions (which at least from a phone call's perspective is now completely permissible by the sport's governing body), to say something so unabashed in an industry peer's face just after defeating them in gut-wrenching fashion takes some nerve. The only thing more absurd is the same Indiana fans who once lit Internet comment spaces on fire for someone to so much as suggest Sampson and company were guilty of any wrongdoings now blindly defending their coach's brazenness and insulting anyone who dares question otherwise.
Crean would later have the audacity to say "it's a heated game. It's a heated game. Ask him," when pestered by a member of the press to justify his tact (or lack there of). Judge Crean's demeanor and behavior for yourself: