Indiana parted ways with Archie Miller on Monday, who opens a coaching job at one of the most prestigious collegiate basketball schools.
It’s also one of the toughest jobs in sport. Since Bobby Knight’s last season in 1999-2000, Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean and Miller have tried to fill those shoes. The Hoosiers made it to the NCAA championship game in 2001-02, but have only made three Sweet 16 appearances since then.
The vacancy will attract all types of candidates from within and outside the Hoosier state. It will be an important topic of conversation with several of those candidates coming to Indianapolis for this year’s NCAA tournament.
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Sporting News analyzes 10 candidates for the position.
Indiana Hoosiers Training Candidates
Beilein is one of the more sensible candidates given the track record, especially the impressive rebuilding he achieved in Michigan. The Wolverines have the second-highest winning percentage in the Big Ten since 2015, and that success has continued with Juwan Howard. Beilein reached the NCAA championship game in his sixth season. Beilein is 68 years old, but if he’s interested in training again, he could turn the program around.
This is the home run candidate. Native to Indiana? Control. Final Four credentials? Control. The 44-year-old has been with the Boston Celtics since 2013 and has led the franchise to the conference finals in three of the past four seasons. Stevens has failed to make the NBA Finals, and this could be the right time to return to college play. The Hoosiers have the eighth-best record in the Big Ten at the same stage.
He is one of the best college basketball coaches of all time, and that has been reinforced by Iona’s run to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. Pitino’s track record of success in Kentucky and Louisville: seven Final Fours and two national championships. Of course, the season with the Cardinals ended unceremoniously, and Indiana has dealt with NCAA violations since Knight left. There is no doubt that Pitino, 68, would be successful. Would it be worth what?
Alford led Indiana to his last national championship as a player in 1987, and his name will always be associated with this work. Alford has led UCLA to the NCAA Tournament in five of six seasons, but the Bruins have yet to win a Pac-12 championship in his tenure. Alford’s son is a head coach in the state, and his hiring would bring the full circle of the show back to Knight’s days. You are not the best candidate for the position. But given the expectations, you might be the right person for the job.
Fife has been linked to Indiana work before, and he also ticks a few of those boxes. He played for Indiana and was an assistant coach with the Hoosiers from 2003 to 2005. A six-year stint in the IPFW produced mediocre results, but he has spent the last 10 seasons as an assistant coach with Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Fife might be a good fit for that job when Izzo retires. The 41-year-old is also a reasonable candidate for this job.
Would the Hoosiers go buy a coach at the Big 12? If so, then Drew, a student of Butler, would be the best option. Baylor is the No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and the Bears have only missed the Big Dance once since 2013-14. Drew, 50, took Baylor to a couple of Elite Eight races before that. It’s not a flashy hire, but sometimes those are the ones that work the best.
Boynton is off the radar, but it’s hard to ignore the rapid success he enjoyed at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys play with a fun style, and Boynton has been able to attract players like Cade Cunningham to the program. Boynton is only 39, but the record of tournament success is not there yet. Would that be too big of a gamble for the Hoosiers?
Cheaney is another Indiana fan favorite, but his coaching career didn’t begin until 2013. However, he made a rapid rise in the G League, and this marked his first season as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers. This would be taking a page from Michigan, which has had success with Howard the last two seasons. Who wants to see Cheaney and Howard pick up that ’90s rivalry as head coaches?
Musselman is 42-18 the past two seasons with Arkansas, and the fast-paced style worked in Nevada, too. The .745 winning percentage should attract Indiana’s attention, and the 56-year-old has extensive experience at both the professional and college levels. Musselman’s stock continues to rise, and he has shown in the past two stops that it doesn’t take long to build a winner.
Oats is one of the most prominent in the profession, and his career began with success in Buffalo and Alabama, which is the second seed in this year’s tournament. He owns a .678 winning percentage as head coach, and the 46-year-old will be a target for other major programs in the future. Could Indiana beat the rush? This rental comes with a monster purchase, Nevertheless.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.