Steve Alford 'loves' UCLA but doesn't rule out IN return

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The Indiana Hoosiers decided to make a coaching change on Thursday, and after nine years Tom Crean has been removed as head coach. Tom Crean was sacked after nine years following a dismal season that saw a talented team dragged down by injuries and uninspired play. Injury-riddled IN was perhaps college basketball's biggest disappointment this season, finishing at 18-16 after a first-round loss Tuesday night IN the NIT.

Crean, who arrived from Marquette in 2008, finishes his in career with a 166-135 record.

Pressure on Crean initially began to mount in 2013, when in earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney but stumbled in the Sweet 16, far short of hanging the program's first national championship banner since 1987. Collegiate head coach experience is certainly a plus. IU Athletics Director Fred Glass says a search for Crean's successor will begin immediately.

It's an unbelievable job, I think it's a top-5 job in the country.

Glass later would say that resources would not stand in the way of hiring the Hoosiers' next basketball coach. The 6-foot-6 senior hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then added a jumper on the following possession to stake the Illini to a 10-4 lead with 16:52 remaining in the first half.

People making $28,000 a year are downsized every day in the Hoosier state, and we spend no time mourning their loss when the end of their road might end in homelessness. IN is in a much better place than it was nine years ago and Crean is responsible for that.

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But, IU has not won a national championship in 30 years. The state consistent produces McDonald's All-Americans, and has been the home to numerous country's top prospects over the past several years.

"I love UCLA. I love Los Angeles", he said. "You're talking about arguably the greatest brand anywhere on the planet".

"But I love UCLA".

For years, a segment of fans had been calling for Crean's job. Nowhere among them was the phrase, "I am committed to staying at UCLA", or "I am not interested in the in job".

"The expectations for Indiana University basketball are to perennially contend for and win multiple Big Ten championships, regularly go deep in the NCAA tournament, and win our next national championship-and more after that. We want somebody who's a proven recruiter, who has the ability and the desire to recruit in the Midwest, and especially in IN".

The name at the top of most IN fans wish list: former Butler coach and current Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who led Butler NCAA runner-up finishes IN 2010 and 2011.

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