Tom Crean is now the coach at Georgia, and there is one man who is extremely happy for him: John Calipari.
The Kentucky coach spoke on Crean’s hiring on Friday in Boise, where the Wildcats are set to take on Buffalo in the 2nd Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
“He and I talked yesterday. I couldn’t be more happy for him. Terrific coach. One of the best. He’s into basketball. He loves it. He’s about getting kids getting better. He’s always done it. We’ve had some good games.”
The two matched up quite a few times when Crean was the coach at Indiana, including twice during the 2011-12 season. The Hoosiers knocked off the No. 1 Wildcats in Bloomington on a last-second shot by Christian Watford, causing a mass rush of the floor by Indiana students. The Wildcats would eventually get revenge, defeating the Hoosiers 102-90 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, going on to win the national title.
The two schools haven’t played since, and Calipari and Crean are largely responsible for that. While Calipari proposed that the two teams meet at a neutral-site game in Indianapolis each season, Crean nixed the idea and wanted the annual rivalry game to be a home-and-home series.
Calipari joked about the situation.
“I did tell him I’m taking Georgia off the schedule. He laughed. Said, ‘We’re playing you twice.’ I said, ‘Not in Athens.’ No, I’m just kidding. We’re playing in Athens. But I’m happy for him.”
This will be another excellent chapter to the two coaches’ friendly rivalry.