The news that no Marquette fan wanted to hear on a day that no Marquette fan really wants to believe has arrived. On April 1st, the Golden Eagles head coach, Tom Crean, left our beloved basketball program in pursuit of a job at the University of Indiana. With Crean leaving for a school in need of rebuilding and full of questions, Marquette fans are left with many questions of their own. The two main questions that everyone is asking are: will Crean’s recruits stay at Marquette or will they leave now that he is no longer their coach, and who will be able to fill the job that Crean has left vacant? Unfortunately, for us this very well may mean that both James and McNeal could be going out for the draft, as well as a couple of Crean’s 2009 recruits starting to look at what the Hoosiers can offer them.
However, there is plenty for Marquette fans to be skeptical about. Whether you are angry with him for leaving Marquette or happy to see some change, there is no doubt that he has given Marquette a height of attention that it has not seen since the Al McGuire days. He also did a great job of leading Marquette to becoming one of the most dominant teams of arguably the best conference in basketball – oh, and by the way, he took us to the Final Four in 2003. With all the national attention Marquette has received, we are able to talk to some quality coaches who may not have even considered Marquette previously.
One name that has been floating around between students is Bobby Knight. It would be very ironic if the former Indiana coach ended up at Marquette right after Crean’s departure. Knight retired from Texas Tech mid-season and became a part time analyst for ESPN. Many in the basketball community believe that Knight will coach again, but would he come back so soon? While Knight without a doubt would make a great head coach at Marquette and probably take the team to the next level, the odds may be against the former Hoosier coming back just months after retirement.
Despite their poor finish in the tournament, Drake’s head coach, Keno Davis, would be a great candidate for the coaching job. He led the Bulldogs in a dominating season in the Missouri Valley Conference and achieved a five seed in the NCAA tournament. This all coming from a coach whose team was expected to finish ninth in the conference.
Davidson’s lead man Bob McKillop is also a great option. He has shown a great eye for recruiting bringing in strong recruits such as Stephen Curry, Andrew Lovedale and Jason Richards. He had an extremely successful year in which he led the Wildcats to an Elite Eight appearance.
Now that Lute Olson is back with Arizona and he’s released the interim coach Kevin O’Neill, there is an opportunity to get somebody that had some success in a tumultuous year in and in a power conference. Not to mention that O’Neill used to coach at Marquette.
These are all good options for the lead man, but the best thing to do right now may be to wait and see who else becomes available. Regardless of what happens, Marquette is back on track as being one of the elite programs in the country and it will not take a legend to keep the success coming.