Tom Crean had a rough first year at the helm of the Georgia Bulldogs, but things are already starting to look up.

On Saturday, the second-year coach added a big piece to his coaching staff, hiring an assistant away from Hartford.

Per a release from, Crean is hiring John Linehan as an assistant for the 2019-20 season and beyond:

“I’m excited about adding John Linehan to this staff,” Crean said. “I simply love his background and his story. He has a solid foundation in coaching and amazing playing experience. He is the all-time NCAA D-I steals leader, was two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year and had a long and highly successful professional career overseas. He grew up in the same area as Kobe Bryant, and I heard Kobe say one time that John Linehan was the toughest defender he ever faced.

“The bottom line is, no matter what you’re doing, you’ve got to have people who are making your players better in every facet of their lives on a daily basis, and that’s what I think John’s going to bring to our staff,” Crean added. “He has attacked recruiting and player development and has a defense-first mentality that has made every program he has been a part of better. We feel he will do the same at UGA.”

Linehan won the national defensive player of the year award in 2002 as a member of Providence and still holds the Division I career record with 385 steals.

Now, he brings that defensive prowess to Crean’s staff, so we’ll see what he can do with the Georgia defense this season.