The Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball programfired Tom Crean on Thursday, ending a nine-year stint. Crean had a 166-135 record with the program, and that included four NCAA tournament appearances.
The Hoosiers, however, fell to 18-16 this season and bowed out in the first round of the NIT. Now, one of college basketball's most-storied programs has an opening, and that means all sorts of candidates will be mentioned. This will be the fourth head coach Indiana has hired full time since Bob Knight was fired in 2000.
10 potential replacements for Tom Crean at Indiana
Marshall has built Wichita State into what Indiana should be — a reliable powerhouse that has won 30 or more games in four of the last five seasons. Marshall is a proven winner, and this is the kind of job he might have been holding out for. Why not step up into the Big Ten? This would be the home-run hire.
Obvious ties here. The New Castle, Ind., native led the Hoosiers to their last national championship in 1987 as a player, and he's building a winner at UCLA. In fact, Alford likely will address this question throughout the NCAA tournament. Alford's previous stint at Iowa ended with a resignation in 2006-07, but that's a distant memory. Reeling Alford from UCLA would be a power move that shows the Hoosiers mean business. Chances are the fans would love it, too.
This would be more of a question of what Stevens wants. He took Butler to the Final Four twice before moving up to the NBA, and the Boston Celtics are Eastern Conference contenders this season. Indiana would have to corner Stevens into an offer he couldn't refuse, and even then, he might decide to stay in the NBA.
Miller will be in the conversation with those three candidates, and he should be. Dayton reached the tournament the last four seasons, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2013-14. Miller also has Big Ten ties from his time as an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2007-09. This would be an excellent hire.
This would quite a steal for the Hoosiers. The former Valparaisolegend took Vanderbilt to the NCAA tournament after a successful five-year stint at his alma mater. Drew put together a winning record in the SEC. He'd have a bigger spotlight and an opportunity to compete for more championships with Indiana.
Born in Indiana, played at Indiana and took his game to the NBA, eventually for Indiana. Wittman's coaching experience extended through Cleveland, Minnesota and Washington, but perhaps a move back to his alma mater would work out. He'll be mentioned throughout the process.
Xavier coaches tend to have success when they move up, and Mack has strong ties to both Ohio and Indiana. The Musketeers have made the tournament seven of the last eight seasons, and the Big Ten would be a bigger spotlight for Mack. This wouldn't generate a lot of hype, but maybe that's what Indiana needs.
Fife played for Indiana's national runner-up team in 2001-02, and he's served as an assistant at both Indiana and Michigan State. Fife had an 82-97 record as a head coach at IPFW between those two stints. Heneeds a second chance as a head coach, but learning under Tom Izzo can't hurt when it comes to the Big Ten.
Holtmann kept Butler in the mix as a steady contender. The Bulldogs have won 20-plus games each of the last three seasons and entered the 2017 NCAA tournament as a No. 4 seed. Remember, Butler beat Indiana 83-78 in the regular season.
Indiana fans could warm up to Bennett, whose distinctive style has led to success at Virginia since his arrival. The Cavaliers' win total dropped off this season, but they are still in the tournament and have averaged close to 28 wins per game the last four years.This feels like a long-shot move, but you never know.