ST. LOUIS – Jim Crews, who led the Saint Louis University men’s basketball team to unprecedented success in 2012-13 as interim head coach, has been named the Billikens’ head coach.
“Jim Crews stepped into a difficult situation and led the Billikens to a winning season with remarkable dignity and grace,” University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. said. “With his commitment to his players’ success — on and off the court — he embodies the very best of Saint Louis University athletics. I’m already looking forward to next season and beyond.”
“I have said from day one that it is about the people – the players, staff, administration and fans – and the people here are 100 percent committed to this team and this program,” Crews said. “I’ve seen first hand the values that Saint Louis University possesses, and I believe strongly in those same values. They are paramount in the college experience.
“Moving forward, nothing changes. As a staff, our philosophy is to continue to get better each and every day, on the court and off the court, and we continue to do that.”
“Jim Crews is the perfect fit to lead the Billiken men’s basketball program,” Director of Athletics Chris May said. “Jim embraces the goals of our department that we focus on daily – to educate, compete and build community. Jim showed all the skills necessary to succeed at SLU. He led the program with great class to the best season in school history, and he has a vision and plan to lead it successfully into the future. I am thrilled to announce Jim as the head coach as we move the men’s basketball program forward.”
Crews was named interim head coach at the beginning of the 2012-13 season when it was announced that Rick Majerus would not coach this season. Majerus died Dec. 1. Crews led the Billikens to a school-record 28 victories (28-7), Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season and tournament championships and a second straight NCAA Tournament bid.
Crews’ coaching performance, as well as the Billikens’ success on the court, did not go unnoticed on the national scene. Crews earned national coach of the year awards from the Sporting News and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). He was one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award. In addition, he earned his fifth conference coach of the year honor when he was named A-10 Coach of the Year.
Crews recently completed his 25th season as a collegiate head coach with a 382-355 career record. Previously, he served seven seasons at Army from 2002-09. Preceding his appointment at West Point, Crews coached for 17 years at Evansville (1985-2002) and played and coached at Indiana.
Counting his time as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Crews has been a part of 15 NCAA Tournaments. He won a national title in 1976 as a senior at Indiana and in 1981 as an assistant coach for the Hoosiers, playing for and coaching with the legendary Bob Knight.
Following his stint at Army, Crews did not coach for two years. He was convinced by Majerus to rejoin the coaching ranks just days before the start of practice in 2011-12. Crews was an integral part of the staff that helped the Billikens to a 26-8 record and their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 seasons.
Perhaps what Crews is best known for is his ability to graduate players. During his tenure at Evansville, 52 of the 53 players who spent four years with the Purple Aces earned a degree. Every senior in Crews’ final 12 years graduated. At Army, he graduated all 30 four-year players who came through his program.
The Billikens return seven players who saw action in 25 or more games during the 2012-13 season, including first-team All-Conference pick and leading scorer and rebounder Dwayne Evans. Regulars Mike McCall Jr., Jordair Jett and Rob Loe also return next season to comprise one of the most experienced senior classes in the country.