Georgia basketball parts ways with coach Tom Crean after four seasons
Tom Crean has been terminated from his post as the Georgia men’s basketball coach.
UGA athletics director Josh Brooks is expected to make a formal announcement as the Bulldogs pursue their next head coach.
Crean, whose Bulldogs lost to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday night in Tampa, is due a reported $3.2 million buyout.
RELATED: Bulldogs fall flat against Vandy, Crean firing pending
Georgia finished the season 6-26, an SEC record for most losses in a season.
Crean said after the Wednesday night game in Tampa that any questions about his job status would need to be directed to the athletic department, but Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse shared he felt the Georgia head coach’s termination was inevitable.
“You have to have success or there will be changes,” Stackhouse said. “He’s a great coach, I know he’ll land somewhere.”
UGA is expected to work with The Parker Executive Search Firm, founded and run by UGA graduate Dan Parker.
Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates, Xavier assistant coach Jonas Hayes and North Texas coach Grant McCasland are among the potential candidates.
Crean was hired in April of 2018 at UGA by former athletic director Greg McGarity after former coach Mark Fox failed to reach the NCAA Tournament the last three years of the nine seasons he was granted at Georgia.
Fox, 12-19 overall and 5-15 in Pac-12 play at California this season, had led the Bulldogs to NCAA tourney appearances in 2011 and 2015.
Crean coached Marquette to a Final Four appearance in 2003 before taking on an Indiana program in 2008 that was down to two walk-ons and rebuilding the program into Big Ten champions.
Crean’s 2011-12 Hoosiers were 27-9, and one year later, Indiana held the No. 1 spot for 10 weeks and won its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years.
Crean was fired four years later and spent a year out of basketball before Georgia hired him on the heels of Fox’s nine-year tenure.
The Bulldogs improved each of Crean’s first three seasons, setting school total attendance marks two of those campaigns.
Crean signed the nation’s No. 1 recruit out of Atlanta in 2019, Anthony “Antman” Edwards.
The COVID global pandemic canceled the postseason Edwards’ only season in Athens, as he left to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Bulldogs’ roster was ravaged with the introduction of the one-time transfer rule last summer following the team’s 10th-place SEC finish in 2020-21.
Division I teams averaged more than seven transfers each, and Georgia was no exception, losing eight players to other schools including guards Sahvir Wheeler (Kentucky) and K.D. Johnson (Auburn), and forward Toumani Camara (Dayton).
Wheeler and Johnson combined to help Georgia beat Kentucky and Auburn their one season playing together in Athens, but the Bulldogs’ staff was unable to keep the team nucleus in place.
Crean scrambled to find nine incoming players, giving Georgia the greatest influx of scoring from transfers in the nation.
The numbers didn’t translate, however, especially after UGA lost team captain and leading returning scorer P.J. Horne before the season started to a knee injury.
A December season-ending injury to transfer Jailyn Ingram -- like Horne, a power forward -- spelled doom for Crean’s already undersized team.
The Bulldogs’ final win of the season was in January, over Alabama, before they lost their final 12 straight.
Here’s a season-by-season look at Georgia basketball under Crean, and where the transfers left UGA are playingL
Crean Georgia Era
2018-19: 11-21 (13th in SEC)
2019-20: 16-16 (13th in SEC)
2020-21: 14-12 (10th in SEC)
2021-22:. 6-26 (14th in SEC)
- Georgia basketball builds ‘foundation,’ but longest NCAA tourney drought in SEC continues
- Georgia basketball aims for deep SEC tourney run, ‘Crazier things have happened’
- Anthony ‘Antman’ Edwards makes Georgia proud, first Bulldog in NBA all-star game since Dominique Wilkins
- ‘Rattled’ Georgia basketball falls hard to No. 1 Alabama, 108-59
- Georgia basketball has ‘pretty cool’ opportunity to shock the world at Alabama