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Last updated: Sat. Nov. 10, 2012 - 11:42 am EDT

Indiana rewards Crean for breakthrough season

Coach credits assistants, players for new contract

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BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana's Tom Crean is now the seventh highest-paid college basketball coach in America.

What does that mean?

Basically, it's worth $3.16 million a year until 2020, with the chance to make more depending on on-court and off-court performance.

“None of this would be possible without what my coaches do,” Crean said. “I have such a great staff. I have a group who have worked so hard. This wouldn't have been possible without them. It wouldn't have been possible without the players and the way they persevered; the way they improved. Their desire to win and do things the right way.

“They are the ones graduating early and getting the 3.0 GPAs. They're the reason we have these (championship) opportunities in front of us. It's because of the way they work. I'm thankful for that.”

Two of those players, senior guard Jordan Hulls and sophomore guard Remy Abell, said they were thankful for Crean's efforts.

“He's helped us in more ways than you can imagine, on and off the floor,” Hulls said. “He made men out of us. It's pretty cool to see him get rewarded for all the hard work he's put in.”

Added Abell: “He's pushed me to a limit I didn't know I had. Anything that comes his way, he deserves.”

IU athletic director Fred Glass broke the news before Friday night's Indiana-Bryant game. He took the microphone just before tip-off and addressed the sold-out Assembly Hall crowd.

"Indiana University basketball is back and it is back because of that man right over there," Glass said and pointed at Crean.

“Tom Crean has done an absolutely phenomenal job bringing Indiana University back to its rightful place as one of the elite basketball programs in the country,” Glass added in a university release. “His energy, integrity, ability, passion, industry, vision and commitment are unparalleled.”

Crean had been making $2.52 million a year as part of a contract set to expire in 2018. But two years were added and his salary raised after the Hoosiers went 27-9 last year and reached the Sweet 16.

That was a huge turnaround from Crean's first three seasons in Bloomington when, because of NCAA sanctions from the Kelvin Sampson era, IU lost at least 20 games each season, the worst stretch in program history.

Now IU is ranked No. 1 and expected to be a national title contender. It had no trouble with out-manned Bryant Friday night, winning 97-54.

“Since we arrived in April of 2008,” Crean said, “we have been all in. Even through all of the challenges, our love and passion never wavered for Indiana basketball. We are extremely thankful to have the support of this administration. We are honored to know we will be here for a very long time.

“Once you are part of Indiana University, there is no desire to work or live anywhere else.”

Crean's new contract also includes a performance bonus for team academic achievement as measured by APR, GSR and GPA worth as much as $55,000 a year.

Kentucky's John Calipari is the highest-paid college basketball coach at $5.39 million a year.

pdiprimio@news-sentinel.com


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