College athletics news can be slow in July. Beyond recruiting, there generally isn’t a whole lot going on. A pair of comments by former IU athletes this week have done their part to fill the void.
The comments may go a long way in shedding light on a pair of recent coaching changes. The public details of the inner-workings and thinking behind the firing of Kevin Wilson in 2016 and Tom Crean in 2017 are sparse.
Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass is notoriously vague when it comes to such matters, and the vacuum has left us to speculate.
You can decide for yourself whether this week’s revelations uncover anything new.
QUESTIONING TOM CREAN’S LOYALTY
Perhaps the most memorable Tom Crean quote during his era as the Indiana head basketball coach was one of his first. When asked why he would leave a comfortable position at Marquette to come to Bloomington, he said “It’s Indiana, it’s Indiana, and that’s the bottom line.”
But was it the bottom line? Of course we all know how the Tom Crean era ended at Indiana, but was he actively searching for other jobs while the head coach of the Hoosiers?
According to former IU star forward Jared Jeffries, the answer is yes. Jeffries had this to say yesterday on “The Ride with JMV” on Indianapolis radio station AM 1070:
“I was never a big fan. I knew he was always hunting for new jobs. … I don’t respect that. If you’re going to be at Indiana, you’ve got to be two feet in.”
Crean was widely rumored to be evaluating other options near the end of his IU tenure. Several reports indicated that there was “mutual interest” between him and Missouri in early March of 2017.
Jeffries’ comment seems to run deeper than just Missouri, and suggests that there was an ongoing effort by the former coach to keep multiple lines in the water. Beyond that, Jeffries expressed other frustrations with Crean:
“His inability to reach out to the fan base in a genuine manner really concerned me,” adding that Crean at times over-signed scholarships, which resulted in players leaving the program.”
Jeffries went on to indicate that he was consulted by IU Athletic Director Fred Glass in connection with the coaching change in 2017. Insights like these from the Bloomington native and long-time NBA player thus provide greater insight into what ultimately swayed the decision by Glass to fire Crean.
We have the full interview with Jeffries in yesterday’s Daily Hoosier Report here.
BLOWING THE LID OFF KEVIN WILSON’S SUDDEN DEPARTURE?
Former Indiana quarterback Zander Diamont really put out a zinger earlier this week on Twitter:
I’ll never forget when one of my coaches at Indiana referenced “Hitler” as a great leader.
Only a man keen on leading through fear could make such an ignorant claim. Especially ignorant when your quarterback is Jewish.
— Zander Diamont (@zanderdiamont) July 9, 2018
It has never been clear what led to the firing (or resignation if you want to believe that) of former Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson upon the conclusion of the 2016 season. Did Zander Diamont lay it bare with that Tweet?
To be sure, Diamont did not name any names in this Tweet or in a series of subsequent Tweets. The comment may not relate to Wilson at all. But most inquiring minds gravitated towards Wilson when the comment emerged. If you recall, no details were provided by IU when Wilson resigned.
There was discussion of a lengthy investigation, and rumors of Wilson forcing players to play injured.
At the time Wilson resigned, Fred Glass had this to say:
“There is no smoking gun or single precipitating event that led to where we are today,” Glass said. “I think it’s really a realization by myself and Kevin that we’re not on the same page with key ways in which the program needs to be led.”
In that same press conference Glass seemed to push back on accusations of any medical concerns.
“I’ll just tell you we have no outstanding claims of medical cases.”
Perhaps while not a smoking gun either, does Diamont’s comment shed light on the real concerns that emerged during the investigation of Wilson?
Interestingly, Diamont was rumored at the time to be at the center of the medical concerns. The California native gave up his final year of eligibility after dealing with a series of concussions. He never alleged that he was asked to play through the concussions. In fact, Diamont came out and strongly defended his former coach.
To be clear pic.twitter.com/xh9WGd0F7C
— Zander Diamont (@zanderdiamont) December 1, 2016
The question now is whether this latest comment by Diamont will finally shed some light on the situation. He did clarify in a subsequent Tweet that his latest comments have nothing to do with the current IU coaching staff:
“To clarify: None of this took place w the current coaching staff. I have nothing bad to say about those guys, all stand up dudes.”
He also made it clear that his latest comments do not reflect any animosity towards IU:
“I had an incredible time overall playing at Indiana University.”
The good news is that we may finally learn more about what transpired at IU and ultimately led to Wilson’s resignation. Diamont has indicated that he will be joining a podcast with Connor Morrissette of Fox Sports West in a couple weeks to give his comments more context.
We’ll let you know what Diamont says. Perhaps we’ll finally get to the bottom of the end of the Wilson tenure.
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