Crane hires Head as boys hoops coach

Chris Head has had a successful coaching career, but he's also been controversial. Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.com

Chris Head, who has a history of being successful and controversial, has been hired as Crane's boys basketball coach, the school confirmed on Wednesday.

Head compiled a 213-70 record in nine seasons at Brooks, Proviso West and Westinghouse. He won a state championship with Westinghouse in 2002 and finished second in 2000.

Controversy often has followed Head. He was suspended during the 1999-00 season after he took nine players from his high school team to play in a summer AAU tournament. At Proviso West, he did not have his contract renewed after one season following a suspension by the IHSA after violating season-limitation bylaws.

At Brooks, he was suspended for two games in 2010 after being ejected from a game at Centralia's holiday tournament. In June of 2010, Brooks principal Dushon Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times, "I had to let Chris go. It became apparent that we had philosophical differences and I just thought a change should be made."

Crane athletic director Bennie Horton said Head's controversial past did not weigh into his hiring.

"No, when we hire someone, we take somebody from the day we interview them and go forward from there," Horton said. "His background, as we know, is impeccable."

Horton said Head was chosen from 40 applicants, among whom were candidates with high school and college coaching experience.

"He's a good fit for us," Horton said. "He coached at Westinghouse. Westinghouse and Crane have about the same type of player. We just thought he was a good fit for Crane."

Crane's last coach, Tim Anderson, left to become a college assistant coach at Texas-Pan American.

Crane is considered one of Chicago's premier basketball schools. Its recent basketball alumni include Tony Allen, Will Bynum and Sherron Collins, all of whom have played in the NBA. Crane has won six regionals and two sectionals and has made one state tournament appearance since 2004.

"It was a highly desirable job just by the number of applicants," Horton said. "We've had some success. This team in particular went to the super-sectionals last year. We've had some very good players and have some players in the pros now.

"We want to develop the student-athletes. We've been doing that. We hope to continue that tradition. We feel like Chris is a good fit for that."

Head was not available for this story.