A day after former Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta declined Georgia’s offer to lead its basketball program, another former Big Ten coach appears to be the leader for the job.
Georgia has reached out to former Marquette and Indiana coach Tom Crean about its opening, and longtime ESPN analyst and broadcaster Dick Vitale, who is close with Crean, thinks that the Bulldogs hiring him is now only a matter of when, not if.
“I think Tom’s going to get the job, there’s no doubt in my mind. I believe that,” Vitale said in an interview with Jason Butt of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga. “I firmly feel that way. He will be a slam dunk. He has energy. Georgia needs some juice in basketball. They need energy. They need recruiting. They need a guy who can really give them a buzz.”
It’s not the first time in the last 24 hours that Vitale has publicly advocated for Crean. He tweeted this on Wednesday afternoon:
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 14, 2018
Vitale has a little more inside info than most on the matter, given that he and Crean live almost right next to each other in Sarasota, Fla., and have discussed his return to coaching frequently.
“I know he wants to coach,” Vitale said. “I know he was excited Georgia spoke to him. Nothing has been offered at this moment but I think it will be. I think it’s going to be a done deal. I’m telling you, it is all aligned for him to be the coach.”
Vitale also thinks that Georgia being a football school at its core can actually be something that Crean can use to his advantage.
“I think they need new life there,” Vitale said. “You hook up Tom Crean with Kirby Smart: Are you kidding me? They would be a dynamic duo in terms of energy and enthusiasm.”