Tom Crean vs Matt Painter are two high-profile coaches at two state universities in Indiana. Two coaches doing everything their former predecessors did in helping to build and keep their respective basketball programs at the top.
But nothing in life is ever truly duplicated and despite what Tom Crean does for IU and Matt Painter does for Purdue, they will never come close to equal the characters of Bob Knight and Gene Keady.
There have been other great coaching rivalries in college basketball but for most hoops fans in the state of Indiana, nothing even comes close to what Keady and Knight did and meant to their respective schools. Knight may have stolen the show with his antics on and off the court while Keady helped fans develop a whole new way to view games from his perspective with face frowns and scowl and of course those legendary sport coat throws.
But undeniably no one has ever matched their intensity during their time in coaching against each other. Both would and could do things like entice the other teams fans with their antics so as to help remove their team from the focal point of poor play. Team fans didn’t always find favor with the way the coaches would handle themself, but basketball purists appreciated their style to help deflect attention from the team on to them.
It was an era of 25 plus years pitting two of the legends of basketball against each other that brought us fans an excitement and zest that may never be matched again in anyones lifetime. I hope Crean and Painter come close to matching that type of excitement and legacy but odds are they won’t.