Indiana Welcomes Calbert Cheaney As Director of Basketball Operations
June 20, 2011
Indiana head coach Tom Crean officially introduced Calbert Cheaney as the Director of Basketball Operations on Monday (June 20). Cheaney is the Indiana career leader in points scored (2,613), a mark that is also tops in Big Ten history.
Below is the opening statement from the press conference. To watch the press conference, check out the links above.
"In all serious, I go back to everything at Indiana is how you come up in this program. It's how people perceive you on the outside. Up until three years ago, I was one of those outsiders that looked at it with great respect and I always looked at Indiana as something different. For me, Calbert Cheaney was a huge part of that. As he played here, as Indiana won, and he was such a big part of it, it always registered with people in the basketball world and certainly with people outside of Indiana that there were so many special things going on here. And a guy like Calbert was a huge part of that. I've certainly been following him during his NBA career as an NBA player. Needless to say, when you become the head coach and you get the chance to meet him and then spend some time with him, and then more importantly become a friend, I think it speaks volumes to the character in him.
"One thing that always stood out to me was during my first year here, it was how willing Calbert was to come and give back to this program during a very tough time. Leadership had to come from the past because we didn't have people here that understood what it was all about. One of the great highlights from my first year was where there were six different occasions where Calbert came back, whether it was coming to a game or practice. He would make a huge impact on our guys while working with them on or off the court. Calbert made a road trip with us and appeared in some of our alumni events. He made some comments while he was in French Lick that always stood out to me; "Indiana is probably the best basketball program in the country, if not the world and that's what it's all about for me." When you have somebody who has the background, has the national respect that he has had and the way he feels about his alma mater, at some point in time you hope that you have the chance to connect and have him become a part of this. We are very fortunate to add him to this staff.
"We had a job opening come about that we didn't see coming when Drew Adams left to go to New Mexico to work for Steve Alford. It opened up a door to bring Calbert back here. It was certainly Calbert's choice with his family and he knew that we had wanted him when that opportunity came. Needless to say, we are extremely excited to have him join this family that he had never left; he might have been away for a while but he never left this family.
Calbert Cheaney: "Thank you for the kind words Coach. Tom [Crean] couldn't have said it better, "Indiana is probably the best basketball program in the country, if not the world." For me to come back, I really want to thank Tom (Crean) for considering me to come back. He gave me a call about a month ago and asked me if I was interested in the job. It was an easy decision for me because this is where I always played and I had many great years here. Even when I was playing in the league (NBA) or enjoying retirement, I would always watch Indiana play.
"I want to thank the coaching staff for establishing a great foundation. We all know this program has been through a lot over the past five or ten years but Coach Crean and the coaching staff have provided a great foundation for this program; and it is excellent. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to come back here and try to contribute and do whatever I can to help. It's a wonderful situation and my family and I really appreciate Tom and everybody for considering us to come here and be a part of this. Hopefully, I can bring some experience and knowledge to this team and help them grow as players and people. Thank you very much."
Crean: "We need more people like Calbert, and we need more players like Calbert. The ones that we have in this program right now are going to be benefitted greatly by his presence, leadership, and mentoring skills. He knows exactly what it takes to get where a lot of the players want to go, but he also knows exactly what it takes to be successful at the places that they haven't been before on and off the court.
"I think he is going to be a huge part of the program now with the players here and certainly with the players that are coming down the road. A big part of Calbert to me is determination and that is a huge part of our program now. If there is one word that I want to describe where we need this program to be inside of the players have in their minds, hearts, and abilities day after day is their determination. Determination on both ends of the floor; a determination in the classroom; determination to be successful people, and determination to represent their University, families and their state in a really good way. Calbert has done that for so long and we think he will continue to do that for this program. I had already felt that we have the best coaching staff in the country, and I am never shy about saying that, when you add Calbert to that you make it that much better."
Calbert, did you ever think you would come back to IU?
On getting the call from Coach Tom Crean
Crean: Calbert is a very good basketball coach and that's big for us. I don't think there is any question that if he chose to stay in the NBA, he could have done that. I have talked to the people at Golden State, such as his General Manager Larry Riley and (former head coach) Keith Smart; they couldn't have said enough good things about Calbert. I think Calbert has touched a lot of people in the basketball world that would surprise you. He has earned a lot of respect, and I think he has a tremendous future in coaching. The term "rising star" gets used a little too much in basketball; he has already been a star in basketball as a player. This is the next part in his journey in basketball and in life and he has outstanding talents in the areas of coaching and we are going to utilize him within the rules the best we can."
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