Jim Crews Era Over at Saint Louis

Posted by Joe Dzuback on March 10th, 2016

George Washington beat Saint Louis 73-65 this afternoon at the Barclays Center in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The outcome was rarely in doubt, but the post game press conference with SLU coach Jim Crews was anything but business as usual. Three minutes before Crews arrived to deliver his remarks and take questions, the Billiken Athletic Department distributed a press release that began:

Saint Louis University Director of Athletics Chris May announced today that Jim Crews has been released as SLU’s head men’s basketball coach. This decision comes as the Billikens ended their season Thursday at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship in Brooklyn, N.Y. 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.

No Smiles On This Day, As Jim Crews Is Out At Saint Louis (Photo: Post Dispatch)

No Smiles On This Day, As Jim Crews Is Out At Saint Louis (Photo: Post Dispatch)

The press release arrived in the interview room two minutes after Dan Wolken broke the news on Twitter. Atlantic 10 Media Director Drew Dickerson announced no players would be available for the post game press conference only seconds before Crews, noticeably pale and subdued, entered to give his remarks. He congratulated the Colonials on a game well played and shared a number of thoughts about a career that has spanned four decades with head coaching stops at Evansville, Army and Saint Louis.

Crews began his coaching career as an assistant under Bobby Knight before moving on to a 16 year stint as the head coach at Evansville. He helped transition the Purple Aces into the Missouri Valley Conference, won five regular season conference championships while in southern Indiana, and brought Evansville to three NCAA Tournaments. He departed to coach Army in 2002, guiding the Black Knights for seven seasons before being released just before the start of the 2009-10 season. He landed as an assistant on Rick Majerus’ staff at Saint Louis. When Majerus took a medical leave in the summer of 2012, Crews was named interim head coach. He led the Billikens to a successful campaign in honor of Majerus (who passed away in December of that year), as SLU won the Atlantic 10 regular season title and conference tournament before advancing to the NCAA Tournament’s third round. 2013 was the first of two trips to the Tournament for the Crews-led Billikens.

“I got one [Bobby Knight] at the start of their career and one [Rick Majerus] at the end of their career. How blessed is that?” Crews said Thursday afternoon.

Soon after Crews left the room. The still stunned media asked no further questions.

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