By Steve Czaban Special to Published Apr 09, 2008 at 5:25 AM

So, Tom Crean left Marquette high and dry and bolted for Indiana.

Boo hoo.

Get over it, Golden Eagles fans.

What, did you really believe that 10-year contract nonsense? Were you buying that Crean had found a "home for life" at the gritty, gutsy, urban basketball program where Al McGuire once famously coached the Warriors to glory?


These guys are mercenaries with cute little American flag pins on their suited lapels, and Nike money in their back pockets. They know that the kind of love in college basketball is not the kind you swear to on a Bible during your wedding ceremony (or a court case).

It is highly conditional and subject to just two bad losing seasons in a row.

I know everybody really liked what Crean did. He delivered a Final Four. (Or, more accurately, the second-best guard in the NBA when healthy, Dwyane Wade, delivered it.) Crean recruited well. He sounded good in interviews. He held his own at the Midwest school thrust into the meat grinder known as the Big East Conference.

But, let's not make him out to be the next John Wooden.

In fact, there are only about three schools in Division I where if the current coach left, the fan base would have a right to crawl under the blankets and call in sick to work:

Duke with Mike Krzyzewski.

Florida with Billy Donovan.

Georgetown with John Thompson III.

This is not to say that those guys are the three "best" coaches in college basketball. It's just that traditional basketball powers like UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Indiana will always get the next guy they really want.

Whomever follows Coach K at Duke is in for one helluva a tough ride. Because before Krzyzewski's arrival, the program had spotty success at best. despite Lon Kruger's one brief fling with the Final Four, Florida was a football school before Donovan showed up on campus. And Georgetown would just be a small urban Jesuit school with a lot of cool highlights from the 1980s if John Thompson's son hadn't come back to restore the luster.

Everybody else, relax. There are more hot young, aggressive, smart assistants waiting to make their name with your letterhead.

As for your new guy, Brent "Buzz" Williams, I couldn't pick him out of a lineup that included Buzz Lightyear, Buzz Aldrin and Buzzy Bavasi.

But, I hear he's a real recruiting dynamo, which is music to my ears if I'm a Marquette fan. College basketball is so heavily weighted on three things, everything else hardly matters:

1. Recruiting.
2. Recruiting.
3. Recruiting.

Sorry, does that sound too much like the old real estate axiom about "location?"

Fine, you can throw in "scheduling" and "media relations" as secondary concerns to the almighty task of getting the horses to pull the wagon.

Every coach who makes the D-1 level has sufficient X's and O's to keep players from running around in circles. The one big area that involves a learning curve on the court is actual game night tactics -- when to run, when to grind, when to foul, substitutions and the like. You only get that skill with time, so you might as well get a guy started on that learning curve sooner, rather than later.

If you are still heartbroken over Crean's departure, at least be glad he didn't move to a conference rival. Plus, he's got NCAA sanctions awaiting him, and a roster that cleared out faster than a corporate conference room at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Meanwhile, just say to yourself: "In Buzz we trust." Print some cool T-shirts, and carry on as you have been.

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.