Crews vacates coaching spot

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Crews vacates coaching spot

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SLU planning nationwide search for new leader

Shortly after the loss to George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on March 10, the Saint Louis University Director of Athletics, Chris May, announced that there would be a coaching change for the 2016-17 season men’s basketball team. Now former-Head Coach Jim Crews was let go by the team after the Billikens finished the regular season with a conference record of 5-13 and an overall record of 10-20. The Bills advanced to the second round of the conference tournament after beating George Mason in the first round 83-78, but fell to George Washington 73-65.

May released a statement saying, “After reviewing the 2015-16 season and talking with Coach Crews, I have decided that a change in leadership of the men’s basketball program is needed for the program to move forward in meeting our goals.”

Crews became part of the SLU coaching staff as an assistant coach during the 2011-12 season. Crews was then named interim head coach for the 2012-13 season, after which he earned the title head coach. Throughout his four-year career at SLU, Crews amounted a record of 77-56 and coached the Billikens in two NCAA Tournament appearances. Although the Billikens were regular-season conference champions in 2013 and 2014 and won the 2013 A-10 Men’s Championship, the past two years have proved unsuccessful for SLU.

May applauded Cruz for his hard work and dedication throughout his Billiken career, “Jim Crews took over as head coach during a very difficult time and has led the men’s basketball program with great class and dignity,” May said. “Jim has represented our University well and has helped the program achieve success on the court and in the classroom. His character and commitment are exemplary, which made this decision ever more difficult.”

The Department of Athletics announced that the university is currently searching for a new coach to lead the team that meets their criteria of having a successful basketball history, as well as understand the holistic goals of the department, which include educating, competing and building community.

May stressed that it is imperative for the next head coach “…to embrace Saint Louis University’s mission and values as a leading Jesuit university,” May said. “The next coach will play a critical role in representing the University on a local, regional and national level.”

In his post-game interview on March 10, Crews commented on the change, “Nothing lasts forever. I can remember being a young guy, my mom once told me… Just get lost in the middle of a lot of good people and all those good people will take you places you never dreamed about going, but it will be a wonderful ride.”

Crews went on to thank Saint Louis University as well as discuss his passion and love for basketball. He spoke fondly of former head Coach Rick Majerus, who brought Crews out of retirement in order to fill the assistant coach position. Crews also mentioned the important role coach Knight played in his life, who gave him a second opportunity to coach after he turned down a first offer. He discussed the injuries that the team suffered this year, which included sophomore guard Marcus Bartley, who has battled foot injuries throughout the end of the season. Crews stressed that these injuries were not excuses, but reasons for their lack of success.

He closed the interview talking about his family in an attempt to brighten a dark situation. Crews is a talented coach who will take his extensive knowledge of the game with him on his next basketball journey.