Crean makes controversial hire

April 17, 2008
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Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean today hired an assistant with deep ties to former coach Kelvin Sampson. Over the next week, you can bet the school’s trustees along with Crean and IU President Michael McRobbie will be asked about the hire of 37-year-old Bennie Seltzer.

Crean today also hired former Ball State head coach Tim Buckley as an assistant. Crean still has one more assistant to hire, and university sources said he is weighing his options between another former assistant with unwanted links to IU’s dark and not-so-distant past--Jason Rabedeaux--and someone with more positive IU ties, say a former Hoosiers player. Crean, who was hired as IU’s head coach April 2, has been mum on his choice of assistants until now. Even after today’s hires, IU didn’t exactly trumpet the announcement.

Seltzer spent the past two years at Marquette but has a long history with Sampson, who was run out of Bloomington in February amid accusations that he committed five major NCAA rule violations. Seltzer played for Sampson at Washington State, then spent nine years as his assistant at Oklahoma including the years Sampson first ran afoul of NCAA rules for impermissible phone calls to recruits. Sources within the university said Crean had several in-depth conversations with IU athletic director Rick Greenspan before the hire was made. Crean is pushing to get his assistant coaching staff on board as a key recruiting period began recently and runs through May 21.

Sources at IU said trustees had some misgivings about hiring someone on the basketball staff with such close ties to Sampson, and are dreading the media attention the hire could receive. But Crean assured Greenspan and other IU higher ups that Seltzer is squeaky clean.

Buckley was Crean’s top assistant at Marquette in 1999-2000, before taking over at BSU. He compiled a 143-139 in six seasons at Ball State, spent the 2006-07 year under Steve Alford at Iowa before joining Crean last season.

While sources said Crean would like to hire Rabedeaux, IU officials are pressing him to consider someone with deep IU roots, said sources within the university.

Rabedeaux, who was director of basketball operations under Crean at Marquette, was an assistant under Sampson from 1989 to 1999, first at Washington State and then at Oklahoma. After leaving Sampson’s side, he spent three years as the UTEP head coach. Rabedeaux has spent the last four years at Marquette.
  • What about Seltzer paying Lawrence McKenzie's bail bond to get him out of an Anchorage jail during the 2004 Great Alaska Shootout? Not a big deal, but he isn't squeaky clean.
  • I can't believe this. But then again, we have to remember this is essentially the same group of trustees and same athletic director who either chose or signed off on the hiring of Kelvin Sampson. I'm stunned they let someone in with such close ties to the person who brought this program to its knees. If Rabedeaux gets hired, the IUF can forget my donation.
  • THIS IS A NON ISSUE!!!! This is not a controversial hire. This is Schoettle trying come up with a negative angle as he has done with almost every IU article he has written. The only thing controversial are the motives of the author. This crap belongs in a tabloid or fan message board

    Seltzer is no more tainted than Dan DAKICH, or Ray McCallum for having been assistants to Sampson and most IU fans were fine with the integrity of either of these two coaches.

    Get over it.....IU made a good hire, he is clean, has integrity, and will run his program accordingly.
  • Tom Crean is dirty. Just not as dirty or dumb as Kelvin Sampson. For him to bring in Seltzer with a long Sampson connection is a very poor choice, but to want Rabedeaux as well can only mean that IU fans need hold on to something solid because it's going to be another rocky ride.

    IU has accepted the shady spot under the tree.
  • If you have interest in the larger university, not just the athletic department or basketball program, I think this hire is definitely an issue. For pure IU hoops junkies, I'm not sure it matters. So I guess we know where everybody stands now.
  • Rich I do not understand how you could say this is a non-issue. I would say to you wake up. I think Mr. Schoettle is not suggesting that Crean is dirty but that his choice of assistants might not be the best for a program that wants to stay Mr. Clean clean.

    I think if you look at how Dakich came into his job as an assistant under Sampson you will see that he only got that job when Senderoff was forced to leave. The team needed another assistant and Dakich was on staff with some administrative duties so IU just moved him over. I would guess he would not have been Sampson's choice (unlike McCallum who was hired by Sampson) and Sampson just kinda got stuck with him. This all became pretty apparent when an interim coach was named and the players all wanted McCallum not Dakich - McCallum having those closer ties to Sampson.

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