STRAUSS: Crews, SLU Move toward Rapid, Positive Resolution

By Strauss, Joe | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 25, 2013 | Go to article overview

STRAUSS: Crews, SLU Move toward Rapid, Positive Resolution


Strauss, Joe, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Jim Crews promises this won't take long.

Without elaborating, Crews says his decision whether to stay or leave as St. Louis University basketball coach won't become a tortured process. It needn't be. And it wouldn't be his style.

Every indication points to Crews deciding this week upon his immediate future. And most of those indicators suggest Crews will remain as head of a resurgent program minus the interim label he and athletic director Chris May resolved not to address with the season still in play.

"I anticipate this being resolved pretty quickly," Crews said Sunday, less than 12 hours after the team charter returned from San Jose, where the Bills suffered a season-ending 17-point loss to Oregon on Saturday night.

Crews didn't indicate the direction he is leaning except to add that he doesn't envision himself coaching elsewhere. He did express unvarnished pride in what his 28-7 team accomplished before absorbing its most lopsided loss this season, a season that opened with coach Rick Majerus on medical leave and then encompassed his death Dec. 1. By then the Bills already had been tested by an ugly 12-point home loss to Santa Clara. In hindsight Crews believes that game forced his team to quickly decide where it would go.

"We laid an egg against Santa Clara. But I look at how we responded against Texas A&M (five days later in a blowout win) then came back the next night to play Kansas tough in what basically was their home arena," Crews reflected. Senior guard Kwamain Mitchell still was recovering from a broken foot, leaving Mike McCall Jr. to run the point.

"We got down and kept fighting," recalled Crews, whose team trailed by 18 early, pulled within nine late and lost by 14 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. "Those were the best indicators to me. That told me we had a chance."

Now it is time for Crews to decide which way to go. Circumspect about his unique status during the season, the former Evansville and Army coach is a candidate for national coach of the year. A team that made major advances under Majerus won a regular-season title and its league tournament under a man who two years ago was coaching girls basketball.

The job is Crews' for the taking. He only need finalize his decision.

"Things go fast. It seems like we were just in New York," he said, referring to the Bills' championship run in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. "I know it sounds weird. But there are other things to it. It's up to the university to outline what the blueprint for the job is. Then it's up to me to determine if that blueprint fits. There's a lot of things and a lot of responsibility that goes with coaching. Each school has different ideas about what that means."

Crews doesn't have to squint to see 60. He frequently spoke this season about not needing to coach. He no longer wants the profession to define him, preferring to leave that to his family. …

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