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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)

 

Georgia hired Tom Crean as its new men's basketball coach Thursday night, giving him a six-year deal at $3.2 million annually.

Crean was just hours away from going a full year without coaching, as the 51-year-old was fired at Indiana a year ago today following nine seasons. He guided the Hoosiers to a 166-135 record that was highlighted by trips to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

Indiana defeated the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Kentucky in the 2016 tournament before losing to North Carolina.

Georgia president Jere Morehead and Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity flew to Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday to meet with Crean. The university's athletic board executive committee met via phone Thursday night to approve the hire, and Crean is scheduled to be introduced in Athens today.

"I am honored and humbled to join the University of Georgia family," Crean said Thursday night in a release. "I am sincerely grateful to President Morehead and Greg McGarity for an incredible opportunity. Make no mistake, this is a basketball program inside of a great university that can compete for championships doing it the right way.

"We will work diligently and with great energy to make everyone associated with the University of Georgia very proud of our efforts."

McGarity announced last Saturday the firing of Mark Fox after nine seasons.

Crean averaged 23 wins in his last six seasons with the Hoosiers, which followed a wretched 28-66 mark his first three seasons. He began his career at Indiana with the program on NCAA probation, which was a result of more than 100 impermissible phone calls made to recruits by predecessor Kelvin Sampson and his assistants.

Before his Indiana stint, Crean coached Marquette to a 190-96 record from 1999 to 2008. That nine-season run was highlighted by a trip to the Final Four in 2003, when junior guard Dwyane Wade led the Warriors and weeks later became an NBA top-five pick.

Crean has spent this season as an ESPN analyst.

"Tom Crean is one of the most successful coaches in college basketball over the past two decades," McGarity said. "His teams have consistently been participants in postseason play, and his players have been extremely successful in the classroom. He's going to be a great fit for the University of Georgia.

"I'm extremely excited to have him leading Georgia basketball into the future."

Georgia extended an offer to former Ohio State coach Thad Matta, but Matta announced Wednesday that he was turning down the job.

Crean's new salary would have ranked among the top 10 nationally this season. It is still a distant second among Southeastern Conference coaches to Kentucky's John Calipari, who is earning $7.45 million this year.

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March 16, 2018
 
 
 

 

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