SLU should act now in making Crews permanent Head Coach

SLU should act now in making Crews permanent Head Coach

Credit: Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Jim Crews of the Saint Louis Billikens reacts from the bench during the CBE Hall of Fame Classic against the Texas A&M Aggies at Sprint Center on November 19, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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by Doug Vaughn, KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 1:13 PM

(KMOV.com) -- The basketball Billikens haven't been this much fun to watch since the days of Spoonball, when Charlie Spoonhour had Scott Highmark, Irwin Claggett and H Waldman launching three point bombs. Spoonhour spent seven years as Head Coach at Saint Louis U. and took the Billikens to three NCAA tournaments, and won more than 22 games in each of those seasons. Spoonhour got fed up with his program being nickle and dimed by his bosses, and with the politics at SLU and resigned, eventually moving on to UNLV.

Hopefully the administration at SLU won't stand by and watch Jim Crews leave also. Crews has done an outstanding job as interim head coach after taking over from the late Rick Majerus. I asked Crews if he's bothered by still being just the interim coach, and he said "I think we're all interim. Everybody's interim. I don't worry about that at all. I just focus on the next game." Crews is saying what he has to say. He doesn't want to put pressure on Athletic Director Chris May or University President Fr. Lawrence Biondi, or alter the focus of his team during the final crucial weeks of the season. The current situation though, has to affect recruiting. High school players want to know who the head coach is going to be before they commit to a program. When SLU coaches hit the recruiting trail they can't promise a new player anything. The Billikens are getting national attention right now for their outstanding play, but the recruiting benefit is lost due to the uncertainty of the coaching situation.

If May and Biondi have any questions about Crews being able to handle the job they would likely be rooted in his ability to recruit. In his 17 years as Head Coach at Evansville Crews had four NCAA tournament teams. Not bad for a mid-major program. He then spent seven years coaching at Army without much success, but could there be a more difficult place in the country to recruit basketball players than West Point? Probably not. Crews is winning at SLU with Rick Majerus' veteran players. The roster is loaded with juniors and seniors. The program could fall apart in a hurry if Crews, or his successor, doesn't do a good job recruiting this year and next.

It would make sense for the school to give Crews a two year contract as the new permanent Head Coach. Let him continue to lead the group he has now, and hopefully use the recent success to his advantage in recruiting. Crews is a St. Louis kind of guy. He's friendly, laid back, quick with a smile and well liked by his players and the media. He has a chance to take this Billiken team a long way in the tournament. Whether that happens or not, he deserves to be named the 25th head coach in Saint Louis University basketball history.

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