Pitt has met with former Indiana and Marquette head coach Tom Crean regarding the Panthers’ head coach vacancy, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
It’s a particularly credible report, considering that Crean has been working as an analyst for ESPN since he was fired at Indiana after the 2016-17 season.
Crean, 51, spent nine years with the Hoosiers, finishing with a 166-135 record and making four NCAA Tournament appearances. Before that, he coached for nine years at Marquette, making five NCAA Tournaments, going all the way to the Final Four as a No. 3 seed in 2003, upsetting Pitt, 77-74 in the regional semifinal.
When he was hired at Indiana in 2008, the search firm used by Indiana was Fogler Consulting, which is the same search firm that is currently assisting Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke.
Crean’s contract with Indiana runs through the 2019-20 season and he is still being paid parts of a $4 million buyout. Though getting praised for his job as a studio analyst at ESPN, he told the Chicago Tribune in January that he wants to get back into coaching.
“I’ve never lost the drive to coach, but I haven’t (been) consumed with the fact I’m not coaching,” he said to the Tribune. “I’ve tried to dive into everything I’m involved with. I just look at everything as an opportunity to be even better than what I was and what we were.
“I wouldn’t say 10 months later I’m used to not coaching, but I’m very comfortable with learning. Do I expect to coach again? Absolutely, but it’s not (as if) I have to do this by (a certain date). I have to make sure it’s the right situation, where you are surrounded by people who get what your job is.
“For me, it’s more about what’s the opportunity to really build it? To me, (it’s) a place that has athletic tradition. Do they have a fan base? It’s not about facilities. But I don’t think about (getting back to coaching) yet. I’m sure I will at some point.”
Crean is the first candidate for the job to be positively identified as having met with Pitt since Lyke fired Kevin Stallings last Thursday.