Marquette Men's Basketball vs. Pittsburgh
#24 Marquette at Louisville
Marquette 65, Valparaiso 62 - 11/27/06 (photos by Joe Raymond, AP)
Marquette Men's Basketball vs. Eastern Michigan Photos by Maggie Casey
Photos of Marquette Men's Basketball Scrimmage
Entering his ninth season as the head men's basketball coach at Marquette University, Tom Crean has positioned the program among the elite in college basketball.
In his eight seasons, Marquette has averaged 20 wins a year, won a conference championship and made seven postseason appearances, including the 2003 Final Four, the program's third appearance all-time and first since 1977.
Since 2001, Crean has directed the Golden Eagles to 125 victories, fifth most among BIG EAST schools, and six consecutive postseason appearances. He is a two-time recipient of the Ray Meyer Conference USA, NABC District XI and USBWA District V Coach of the Year awards, and in 2003 won the Coach Clair Bee Award as well as being named a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award.
Crean's 65.7 winning percentage and 165 victories place him third in both categories all-time at MU.
Marquette's consecutive year-end rankings in 2002 and 2003 were the first time for the program in a quarter century, and on March 4, 2003, the school earned its highest ranking since 1978 by reaching No. 8 in AP poll, which the team matched in 2006-07.
Through seven seasons, Golden Eagles players have earned 19 All-Conference selections and the program's first conference player of the year award, when Dwyane Wade won Conference USA's top honor in 2003. Wade also went on to become the first Marquette player since 1978 to be named an Associated Press First Team All-American and finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.
The 2006-07 season saw a pair of Golden Eagles rated among the league's best. Sophomore guard Dominic James was tabbed first team all-league and classmate Jerel McNeal was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. He also claimed a spot on the all-conference second team.
In 2006, Steve Novak was one of four unanimous selections to the All-Big East first team. Novak was selected 32nd overall by the Houston Rockets in 2006 NBA Draft.
In 2005, Travis Diener joined Wade as players under Crean's mentoring who earned All-American and All-Conference honors, as well as going on to be selected in the NBA Draft.
Marquette basketball has been represented on national player of the year balloting in each of the last five seasons.
FAN SUPPORT & EXPOSURE
Students on the Milwaukee campus have flocked to the Bradley Center in record numbers, making it one of college basketball's best environments.
Overall, attendance has increased 70-percent and the top nine crowds of all-time have occurred during Crean's tenure. Marquette's elevated status nationally has made it a favorite of television. Crean's squad has had 87 games televised nationally on network or cable since 2001.
Crean was named the 15th head coach in Marquette basketball history on March 30, 1999. Before arriving in Milwaukee, Crean served on the Michigan State basketball staff for four seasons, holding the position of associate head coach for the last two. During that time, the Spartans compiled an 88-41 record and made four consecutive postseason appearances, including a trip to the 1999 Final Four. Michigan State's recruiting coordinator; Crean was instrumental in bringing two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Mateen Cleaves and 2000 John R. Wooden Award finalist Morris Peterson to East Lansing.
Prior to his tenure at Michigan State, Crean spent the 1994-95 season as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh and served as the associate head coach at Western Kentucky from 1990 to 1994. Crean got his start in coaching on the Division I level in 1989-90, serving on Jud Heathcote's staff at Michigan State. A native of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Crean earned his bachelor's degree in parks and recreation with a minor in psychology from Central Michigan in 1989. While pursuing his degree, Crean coached basketball at Alma College and Mount Pleasant High School.
Tom and his wife, Joani, are the parents of Megan, 11, Riley, 7, and recent addition, daughter Ainsley, 1.
Crean Year-By-Year at Marquette
MU finsished BIG EAST play with a 10-6 record, joining only Georgetown and Pittsburgh as BIG EAST teams to win 10 games in the first two seasons of the expanded league. In the end, MU was selected to its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament and the fourth in the Crean era.
Sophomore Dominic James was a first-team All BIG EAST selection and was named AP All-America Honorable Mention. Sophomore Jerel McNeal was named second-team All BIG EAST and was the league's defensive player of the year.
The Golden Eagles opened up BIG EAST play with a bang upsetting then second ranked Connecticut, 94-79, at the Bradley Center. Non-conference play was highlighted by Marquette claiming the Great Alaska Shootout for the second time in Crean's tenure.
The Golden Eagles season started with promise. The team won 13 of its first 14 games, the best start for the program in 26 years, and defeated Elite Eight participant and rival Wisconsin by nine at the Bradley Center.
Marquette's appearance in the post season was the fifth during Crean's six seasons, and the school's 38th overall. Early success was highlighted by a season opening championship in the BCA Classic and the team's sixth consecutive Pepsi Blue & Gold Championship.
The 2003-04 season saw Crean lead Marquette to its 26th-consecutive non-conference home win, a fifth-straight Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic Championship, the program's 1,300th victory all-time (a 65-52 victory at Houston on January 7) and, as a result of a 77-70 victory over Louisville on January 31, only its second victory ever on the road over a Top 5-ranked opponent. After opening the season ranked 23rd in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls, the Golden Eagles spent nine and ten weeks, respectively, ranked in both polls.
The Golden Eagles finished the regular season ranked No. 9 by the Associated Press, its highest year-end AP ranking since 1978, and No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll. MU was one of only 10 teams to be ranked in all 19 of the AP's Top 25 polls and its .818 winning percentage was the program's best since 1977-78.
The Golden Eagles started the season by winning 10-consecutive games and claiming the 2001 Great Alaska Shootout championship. As a result of its best start in four years, Marquette appeared in the AP Top 25 at No. 23 on November 27, 2001, its first AP ranking since January 19, 1998.
In conference play, Crean's squad won a program-record 12-straight on the way to a school-record 13 conference wins and a number two seed in the C-USA Tournament, the program's highest to-date. A 19-point victory over DePaul on March 1, wrapped up the Golden Eagles first undefeated home season - 16-0 - since 1995-96.
On February 19, MU achieved the school's highest national ranking since February 1979, when it reached No. 9 in the AP Top 25. The Golden Eagles spent a total of 12 weeks ranked nationally and concluded the year ranked No. 12 by the AP and No. 18 by ESPN/USA Today.
In contention until the regular season's final day for a top seed at the conference tournament, MU defeated DePaul, Saint Louis and Cincinnati twice, on its way to a 9-7 finish in C-USA, its best since 1997. Marquette's two victories over Cincinnati represented the first time a league member had registered a regular-season sweep of the Bearcats.
Facing a schedule that featured 13 games with teams who participated in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, the 33-year old first-time head coach led his squad to 15 victories overall - including two over Top 25 teams DePaul (No. 21) and Louisville (No. 25) - and an 8-8 conference mark.
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