Indiana signs Crean to contract extension

Indiana signs Crean to contract extension

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Indiana athletic director Fred Glass opened the season Friday night with a grand announcement to the sold-out crowd.

Coach Tom Crean will be under contract for the rest of this decade.

The announcement came right after Indiana's starting lineup was introduced and just moments before tip-off on opening night. Fans stood and applauded and the two men who had worked out the deal walked over and shook hands.

``I thought he was right guy from the beginning,'' Glass told The Associated Press at halftime of Indiana's 97-54 victory over Bryant. ``I thought he was the right guy when we hired Kelvin. As it turned out, I ended up here and we ended up hiring him.''

Nobody can quibble with what Crean has done - digging one of America's most prestigious basketball schools out a hole and putting it back on the national map.

It sure wasn't easy.

He took over a team in turmoil in April 2008. He had only two returning players, both walk-ons. The grades were sub-par, players weren't graduating and Indiana was in the midst of a NCAA scandal.

Over those first three seasons, with fans still turning out to watch in droves, Crean won only 28 games.

Cody Zeller's arrival last season changed everything.

The Hoosiers upset then No. 1 Kentucky in December and Ohio State, No. 2 Ohio State three weeks later and No. 5 Michigan State two months after that. It marked the first time in school history that the Hoosiers had ever beaten three top five teams in the same season.

When they ended a three-year postseason drought, the Hoosiers responded by making their first trip to the regional semifinals in a decade before losing the rematch to eventual national champion Kentucky. With all five starters back from the tournament run, Indiana earned the No. 1 ranking in the preseason poll for the first time in 33 years.

And now, he's being rewarded for the turnaround.

Crean's base salary will go from approximately $2.52 million per year to $3.16 million. The deal also includes performance bonuses based on Academic Progress Rate scores, Graduation Success Rate scores and the team's GPA. If all standards are met, Crean's salary could increase by as much as $55,000 per year.

The buyout, Glass said, would cost $8 million over the next three years, then drops to $1 million in Year 4 and drops again to $500,000 over the final four years of the deal. School officials said additional contract details will be announce when the deal is formally signed.

Crean ceded the credit.

``None of this would be possible without the staff. I've got a group of people who have worked so hard, and it wouldn't be possible without them,'' he said. ``And it wouldn't be possible without the players. They're the ones who are graduating early, they're the ones who are getting the grades, they're the ones who are getting 1000 on the APR (Academic Progress Rate) for the third year in a row.''

Players appreciated the move, too.

``It's pretty special, you know. He's helped us more ways than you can imagine, on and off the floor, making men out of us really,'' senior guard Jordan Hulls said of Crean. ``It's really cool to see him rewarded for the hard work he's put in for us.''

Glass didn't give an exact timeline for how the deal came together.

But with Crean getting a salary increase of more than $500,000, it didn't take long to work out the details - only the timing of the announcement.

``It reminded me a lot of the political theater I used to be part of,'' Glass said. ``They did enjoy it, and he deserves it. He's done a great job.''

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Bruce Allen to Oakland? Why the Redskins executive could be heading west

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Bruce Allen to Oakland? Why the Redskins executive could be heading west

The Raiders made a major move on Monday when they fired General Manager Reggie McKenzie, and while that’s interesting on its own, it might be of particular interest for Redskins fans. 

Jon Gruden, in his first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, proved that he has full control of the Raiders football operations by getting rid of McKenzie. 

For any student of history, it’s easy to point out many ties between Gruden and Washington’s Bruce Allen. 

Gruden and Allen worked together for years both in Oakland and in Tampa. Allen and Gruden got fired in Tampa, and a few years later, Allen got the top football job with the Redskins. Once a coaching vacancy opened up in 2014 and with Jon Gruden retired, Allen hired his brother Jay Gruden to be head coach. 

Speculation obviously points to a possible reunion for Allen and Gruden in Oakland, and on Monday night, NFL Network reported that the Redskins president will be on a short list to possibly get that job. 

Ian Rapoport reported that Allen, along with Mark Dominik and Jimmy Raye, are potential candidates for the new Raiders vacancy, and that Jon Gruden has final say on who gets that job. 

Beyond their time working together, Allen also owns a house in California. It’s also worth pointing out the Redskins are more than 30 games below .500 with Allen in charge of personnel for the better part of the last decade. 

The Raiders are schedule to leave Oakland and move to Las Vegas in 2020. 



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All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to Capitals lineup vs. Red Wings, not official yet


All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to Capitals lineup vs. Red Wings, not official yet

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As the Washington Capitals took to the ice Monday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for the first time since returning from a three-game road trip, T.J. Oshie joined them, but he did so wearing a red jersey. The color Oshie was wearing is significant not because of his fashion but because of what it means for his status.

A light blue jersey indicates a player is a non-contact participant in practice. The fact that Oshie was in his regular red means that he was full-go on Monday, and it is a good sign that he could be able to return for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Oshie has missed 11 games after suffering a concussion after a takedown by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey on Nov. 14. It was the fifth concussion of Oshie’s career.

“I feel like each time it gets more and more frustrating,” Oshie said to reporters after practice. “But I stuck with it. Some good workouts and skates with [strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish] and [Brooks Orpik] was here all week, so I had some company. I had a lot of support from the guys behind me asking me, texting me seeing how I'm doing, so those kind of things kind of get you through it. Plus, the holidays, family in town, I spent time with the girls at home and [my] wife. It was a good little break.”

When an injury keeps a player from skating, their typical progression starts goes from off-ice workouts, to on-ice workouts, to being a limited participant in practice, to a full participant and then to returning to the game lineup. Oshie had been skating with Nemish during the team’s road trip and has evidently progressed to the point that he was able to step right into practice on Monday without the need for the non-contact jersey.

Not only was Oshie a full-participant, but head coach Todd Reirden was seemingly not concerned about easing him back in. Oshie skated on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He also took part in drills on the team’s first power-play unit.

“He's a special player in all aspects of the game, but certainly in the power play for us in that diamond spot,” Reirden said. “He does a really good job on the entries in terms of controlled entries. When we do have to dump pucks in, he's great on recoveries. His work ethic and instincts to be able to win puck battles, I just think it increases our whole intensity of the way our power play recovers pucks.”

Everything that happened on the ice Monday was a positive sign for Oshie’s recovery, but both he and Reirden said only that he was a “possibility” to play in Tuesday’s game.

“I've been hoping to play for a week,” Oshie said. “I'm hoping to play [Tuesday]. We'll see, see what the training staff says, see what the doctors say, see what the coaches say.”

Reirden added: “The plan was for him to go through practice today, and we'll see how he does later this afternoon and re-evaluate [Tuesday] morning as he continues to get closer to getting cleared to play."

Based on how Oshie progressed directly to full practice and by how much he was utilized during practice, every indication is that Oshie will be back in the lineup Tuesday at Capital One Arena.