Georgia coach Tom Crean was fired on Friday, a day after a disappointing 26-loss season.
Georgia announced Thursday night Crean would not be returning for his fifth season. This quick decision came less than 24 hours following Vanderbilt’s 86-51 loss to the Bulldogs in the first round at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Tampa.
Georgia (6-26) established a school record for the most losses in a single season, while losing its last 12 games. The Bulldogs lost one SEC match, a new low for the program.
Crean finished the four-season with 47-75 overall record and 15-58 SEC games. Crean was unable to replicate the success at Marquette where he reached the Final Four and Indiana where he coached three Sweet 16 team.
Josh Brooks, Georgia’s athletic director, thanked Crean for his support and stated that Crean had “demonstrated undeniable effort and enthusiasm in all that he attempted to achieve at Georgia.”
Brooks stated that “That being said, we expect to compete for success in the postseason in all 21 sports.” Brooks released a statement. We believe that men’s basketball needs to be led by a new leader in order to reach our goals.
Brooks has been lobbying for the hiring of Jonas Hayes (ex-Georgia player, assistant coach at Xavier), as an associate head coach.
Crean could not prevent the free fall to 20 losses in the 21 final games of the season.
Crean answered the question “You know what?” when asked if he discussed his job situation with his players prior to Wednesday night’s match. Any situation with me, that has to go through athletic department. It’s not something I do a lot on. I coach my team every day. This is where my focus is.”
Brooks’ predecessor Greg McGarity hired Crean.
With the end of the 2018 season, Crean’s buyout clause in his six-year contract worth $19.8million was reduced from $7.2 million down to $3.2 million.
Crean was unable to overcome his inability to keep his top players in the offseason. Two of Georgia’s top scorers from last year transferred to other SEC schools: point guard Sahvir wheeler to Kentucky, and guard K.D. Johnson will transfer to Auburn. Tye Fagan was another player who could have been a key part of this season’s success. He transferred to Mississippi.
It was devastating to see the three players go through the transfer portal. Georgia lost two of its players due to season-ending knee injuries.
P.J., the Bulldogs’ forward, is their only returning starter. Horne was injured before the season. Jailyn Ingram had an average of 10.7 points and six assists through nine games before he injured his knee in December. Crean stated that he did not have a true power forward for the rest of the season. The Bulldogs fell to the bottom of SEC standings.
Crean’s highlight in Georgia was signing Anthony Edwards to the NBA, who is now the NBA’s No. After one season in Athens, Minnesota was the No. 1 draft pick. Despite Edwards’ dynamic talents, Georgia was only 16-16 overall and 5-13 among the SEC during the 2019-20 season.
Crean claimed that the coronavirus epidemic, which drastically reduced in-person visits, robbed him of the opportunity to reap the recruiting boost he expected from having a Georgian player selected as the NBA top draft pick. Crean was increasingly forced to rely more on transfers.
Georgia’s only win under Crean was a 14-12 season in 2020-21 when the Bulldogs finished 7-11 in the conference.