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Tom Crean’s ambitious roots led to success
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 2, 2013 @ 2:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Pointer, USA TODAY Sports
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — He was a benchwarmer on his high school basketball team, a decent shooter but not strong or athletic. Even friends say he was easy to push around on the court.
A scan through box scores during his senior year at Mount Pleasant High shows he seldom played, and when he did, the score line usually read zeros across.
But Tom Crean was outgoing and popular, voted best dressed in his senior class, according to the school’s 1984 yearbook. He had a fondness for Izod polo shirts popular at the time, sometimes with the collar rolled up.
Beneath the surface, though, he watched as his parents’ marriage fell apart and his father became more and more distant. He had a serious health scare as a high school freshman, collapsing in the school cafeteria.
That Crean became a preeminent college basketball coach — without being from a basketball family, without being a great student, without money to help carry the dream — is a testament to a drive and relentlessness that even longtime basketball observers describe as unique.
Where did that drive come from? Crean has talked often about his connection to the Harbaugh family — especially with his brothers-in-law, Jim and John Harbaugh, coaching against each other in the upcoming Super Bowl — but he hasn’t talked much about what forged him while growing up in Mount Pleasant, a town of 26,000.
It is home to Central Michigan University, but the Creans hardly ran with the college crowd after moving there in 1968 from neighboring Harrison, Mich.
“We didn’t have insurance and I still remember his hospital bill,” said Crean’s father, also named Tom, about his son’s birth. “It was $250. Imagine that today.”
The elder Crean moved the family to Mount Pleasant when he got a job as a barber in a state-run home for the mentally ill there. He later worked in patient care.
Marjorie Crean, Tom’s mother, worked a variety of jobs, including as the secretary at a marble company. A sister, Michelle, was born in 1970. The Creans also took in foster children.
The family moved often until settling in a home on … [For more on Non-player Tom Crean's ambitious roots led to Indiana success, click here.]
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