Georgia has its new basketball coach.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Tom Crean is officially the new men's basketball coach at Georgia. The veteran coach was approved by Georgia's athletic board on Thursday evening, a meeting that was held via phone with UGA President Jere Moorhead and J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity working from a car at the Ben Epps Airport in Athens.
The two had just landed minutes earlier after meeting with Crean in Florida.
“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 and to welcome his family into the Bulldog Nation.”
He'll earn $3.2 million per year for the next six years per McGarity.
The Georgia basketball program is one Crean feels can be relevant on the national scene in the near future.
“I am honored an humbled to join the University of Georgia family,” Crean said. “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. We’re going to need everyone in the Bulldog Nation to help us to create the energy and excitement that will take Georgia to the highest levels of success.”
Crean has been a head basketball coach for 18 years at Marquette and Indiana. He spent nine years in both spots. The Hoosiers hired him away from the Golden Eagles in 2008 after he reached the NCAA Tournament five times and the Final Four once. While in Milwaukee he recruited and developed star NBA guard Dwyane Wade.(Photo: Matthew OHaren, USA TODAY Sports)
His first three years at Indiana were a struggle, going 26-66 after the Ho0siers were put on probation due to recruiting violations by the previous head coach, Kelvin Sampson. The program would go on to make the Big Dance four of the next six seasons with three of those ending in runs to the Sweet 16.
While in Bloomington he recruited current Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, who was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. He also landed five-star prospects Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, and James Blackmon. Crean was let go by Indiana after the 2016-2017 season after the team was ranked No. 3 early in the season but ultimately missed the NCAA Tournament and was bounced from the NIT in the first round.
The men's basketball coaching job at Georgia has been open for just five days after Mark Fox's nine-year stint in Athens ended on Saturday. Fox made the NCAA tourney twice in his time at UGA but failed to win a game. The Bulldogs went 18-15 in the 2017-2018 season and it marked the fifth-straight season the program had won at least 18 games in a year. That is the only time in program history it has been done.
The Bulldogs were turned down by former Ohio State coach Thad Matta on Thursday. Matta indicated to ESPN's Jeff Goodman that he wasn't up to the task of coaching after parting ways with the Buckeyes in 2017, reportedly for health reasons.
Based on the known timeline of events, the Bulldogs immediately moved on to Crean and things moved quickly after that. He'll be charged with taking a program that has made it past the round of 32 just twice in school history to new heights.