National voices weigh-in on Archie Miller hire

  • 03/25/2017 6:02 pm in

Archie Miller was named as the 29th head coach in program history Saturday. The hiring came after more than a week of rumors and speculation since the firing of Tom Crean on March 16.

Inside the Hall reached out to national writers across the country to get their input. Did Indiana make the right decision? Will Miller be able to handle the pressures of the Indiana job?

Here are all of the responses we received:

Eamonn Brennan,

Archie Miller is a rightfully lauded coach. It makes sense that he’d been the up-and-coming guy. When you look at the potential options Indiana had – whether those options were theoretical or practicable – I think if you’re an Indiana fan, a decision like this should make you feel a lot more confident in the direction of the program and the athletics program in general. As opposed to what I’ve criticized off and on at Indiana or at least tried to understand better, which is the whole ‘it’s gotta be someone with Indiana ties. Someone who went here is a bonus. Someone who played here. Someone who is from the state.’ It’s all well and good if those things happened to be true about the best possible coach. But if they’re not, they shouldn’t override what you end up doing. They shouldn’t determine hires. For me, hearing Fred Glass’ press conference, and who knows what has transpired in the past (nine days) since Crean was fired, but I think getting away from that idea and just going out and trying to find the best coach you can, and having the benefit of him being just down the road, not far away in Dayton, knowing the midwest well, and having recruited there.

To me, it was kind of a no-brainer. A month ago, if someone would have asked me ‘if things don’t work out for Tom Crean, who do you think the next coach will be?’ I would have said Archie Miller. And then you get into the (coaching) process and it actually happens. Every message board starts freaking out and everybody lists every conceivable candidate. People start texting each other about whether Billy Donovan is in Bloomington when he’s not. It was easy to think ‘maybe Indiana will pick something kind of crazy with their hire. Who knows here?’ But you get back down to it and it’s kind of the obvious and predictable, but sober and intelligent choice at the same time.

It’s a good hire. It seemed that there was a slight possibility that Indiana would go totally crazy and swing for the fences and try and get someone they couldn’t. Or they would go the sentimental, nostalgic, provincial route with a guy like Steve Alford, who has been coaching for a long time and his record is pretty mixed. I think that this season of UCLA being really good shouldn’t have overridden most of that. Doing what Indiana ended up doing, to me, is a decision based on coaching competence, potential, and where the program can go in the future, as opposed to where it’s been in the past.

Brian Hamilton, Sports Illustrated:

Archie is a fantastic coach. I think it’s a great move for both sides. He’s been very selective, obviously. There’s a lot of other places that would have loved to lure him from Dayton. He waited for that one great job and I think Indiana did well to identify a winner, identify a guy that gets you results. Dayton has got talent, but they were not going to be the most talented team. He was getting results and beating major conference teams regularly. To me, the most impressive thing for Indiana is that they didn’t get lured into a big name hire or get swayed by Indiana connections. They went out and just found a really really good young coach that can be there for a long time.

Because of who his brother is and how coaches are wired, he’s not going to walk into this blind. He’s not going to be naive about the expectations. I assume, when he gets up there for his press conference, he’s going to say what every coach would say, which is that he welcomes the expectations, wants to be at a place that wants to win championships. But I think he’s wired that way.

Personality-wise, he’s a hard-charging, intense guy, but I think that he’s smart enough and not too naive about what’s in store.

It’ll be interesting to see how he recruits. Maybe Indiana, when Indiana has some real good players in the state, is going to have a real good shot at getting those players. But you have to cast the net for elite players all over the country, try to convince them to come to Bloomington. I think that’s always a big leap. You’ve gotta make the connections, gotta be able make the deals that you need to do get good players to Indiana. That’s my only curiosity. Coaches have to figure that out. That’s really the only question mark. How is he going to be able to bring top-level championship caliber talent to Indiana. Even if he doesn’t, is he good enough to bring that second-tier, pretty good talent to championships?

Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports:

He’s a great guy. Archie Miller was built to coach at a place like Indiana. It’s one of the most storied programs in college basketball. He is going to embrace everything that Indiana basketball represents.

Archie’s biggest pressure is the pressure he puts on himself. He has self-induced pressure. That’s obviously the toughest type of pressure. He was brought up in a home where basketball was very personal, and I don’t think that’s going to change, whether he’s the head coach of Indiana, Dayton, or anywhere else.

Archie has been as good a basketball coach as we’ve seen in the A-10 in some time. I’m sure, for all intents and purposes, he’ll do an excellent job at Indiana.

Chris DiSano, and Blue Ribbon Yearbook

I’ve known Archie for several years through covering him in the Atlantic-10. He’s a tremendous coach. He’s heavily, heavily invested in player development. He’s very attentive to detail. He runs the type of program that many, I’m sure, will try to model. I think it’s a tremendous hire for Indiana, particularly coming off an (18-16 season). He’s the kind of guy that’s going to demand accountability from day one, yet he’s a player’s coach. He’s going to reinvigorate the fanbase and the brand itself, because that’s the type of passion and energy he brings to the job on a day-to-day basis.

When anybody gets into a job that’s certainly one of the elite or premier jobs in the country, it’s tough to empathize with that. It’s impossible to empathize with that because you haven’t been in that position before. But in terms of the way he’s refined his skills, his leadership ability, in terms of understanding what it takes to be the CEO of a program in multiple facets, from dealing with different constituencies to doing what you need to do on the floor, I think he’s as well equipped as anyone. Certainly, having seen the jump Sean made from Xavier to Arizona, and how Sean handled that, and Archie and his brother being as tight as they are and swapping stories and strategies, he’s certainly had somebody (around him) who’s been in one of those 10-15 elite jobs in the country, that he’s been able to capture advice. So I think he’s as well equipped as anybody to handle the pressure the way that it ultimately transpires. He’ll only know that once he sits in that chair.

Having gotten to know Archie personally, he’s a really good guy and person, who cares about his players and cares about his program representing the right things. He’s very authentic and genuine. Whenever you’re starting with that foundation, that’s a great place to begin.

Nicole Auerbach, USA Today

It’s a win-win on both sides. It made a ton of sense for Indiana, and it made a ton of sense for Archie Miller. What I wrote today in my initial reaction is that this is exactly the kind of job that Archie had been waiting on. He had a very good situation at Dayton. Great team and great support there. But if you want to coach a higher level that can compete for national championships on a yearly basis, you’re waiting for a really good job, an elite-level job, a blueblood. He could afford to be picky. I think this is exactly why he was so patient and why he waited as long for an opportunity at an elite job like Indiana. So to me, it makes all the sense in the world from Indiana’s standpoint. Great coach, really sharp guy, works super hard but is just a great basketball mind. But it also made a lot of sense for Archie, with his background and also his midwest ties.

It’s certainly a different kind of microscope that he’ll be under at Indiana, that he didn’t have at Dayton. You’re going to be criticized more, going to be questioned more, be expected to land really high-level recruits on a regular basis. So I am curious to see how he handles all that. But I’m sure that’s part of the appeal of challenging yourself and taking a job like this. But I do think that’s probably the most difficult part of being at a blueblood place (like Indiana) – the scrutiny and the criticism that come with it on a daily basis. You certainly see that as part of why Tom Crean is no longer at Indiana. It’s a fanbase that has very, very, very high expectations. It’s going to be very different than Dayton. But I do think that his family will help him. Sean Miller has achieved great success at Arizona. Now the Miller brothers are running two of basketball’s biggest programs with some of the most storied histories. I think Sean will be able to help him manage that or give him advice on how to handle the scrutiny that comes with a job like this.

Everyone wanted Archie the last few years. I think it was smart of him to wait for the right job in a place and position where he can win big and not just take any power five job. That was a part of the reason he had stuck at Dayton as long as he did. I think Dayton understands that from the statement they put out. They understand the caliber of job that it took to lure him away.

Rob Dauster, NBC Sports

I like it a lot. I think that it is a better move than it would have been to hire Steve Alford. I just think that Archie Miller is a better basketball coach. I understand the desire to bring Steve Alford back into the fold, to get an Indiana guy running that program. But I think Archie Miller is on that same level as his brother. I think Archie Miller has a chance to be one of the top 10 coaches in the sport. When you have the opportunity to get a guy like that, you have to go out and get him. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who is really running that program, if you want to win the fans back, the best way to do that is to actually go out and win. I think Archie is going to do just that.

I think he should (be able to handle the pressures). Dayton is not on the same scale as Indiana, but that is still a job that is kind of a little fishbowl. They don’t have any professional sports teams in Dayton. The Flyers are the big deal. Dayton Arena, I think they sell out the 14,000 people in that stadium all the time. I think he’s used to being in a bit of a fishbowl, so to speak. It is a step up, though, that’s not really a question. To go from being the best program in the A-10 to one of the best jobs in all of college basketball. I think he’ll be able to get it done. I don’t think that pressure will be an issue.

Matt Norlander, CBS Sports

Indiana made a name hire. They, in my opinion, made the right move in choosing to go with Archie over the likes of Steve Alford. Archie is considered all at once: a really fantastic recruiter, a really fantastic tactician of the game, works extremely hard, obviously is well respected within the industry. If you’re Indiana and you want to start over, and you’re trying to get the program to have the best forecast for final four consistency and national relevancy, I think Archie Miller was the best possible hire they could have made from any coach right now in college basketball.

Archie is a little close to the vest sometimes, but with his brother being a major Division I coach, coming from that family – his father was such a tough-minded coach, raised his sons well. Dayton is not without its pressures. Obviously, though, Dayton is a very different job from Indiana. I would be surprised if Archie found himself incapable of managing the expectations. He’s a very self-confident person and should be able to handle that. Obviously, that’s the biggest question, because you don’t really know the answer to that. I can say that I think he can (handle expectations) and a lot of people think it’s true that he will. We don’t really know the answer to that until he’s a good 12-18 months into the job. But you have to actually experience and go through that before you have a firm answer.

Indiana fans can expect an Indiana team that will be a lot more rugged than what Crean had. What Indiana fans can probably expect from the team and the roster going forward is that Archie is going to get really talented players. He’s probably going to be able to keep elite level talent in the state from leaving the state and get them to IU. I think he can have a tremendous blend – because of his style, recruiting ability, and the kind of player he’s succeeding with at Dayton – I actually think Indiana will have the best blend of elite level one-and-done talent and then just those indispensable, necessary four-year guys that make final four runs all the more plausible due to their experience. In some ways, you’ve gotta stay old to help you in the long run. Archie can get both of those things done.

Filed to:

  • pcantidote

    Holtman went to back to back national championship games? I had no idea.

  • TomJameson

    Not everybody will agree with this hire because of whatever reason they hold. Personally I think this is a fantastic hire because Archie really is a great coach, he can recruit, and well .. just read what the media has to say. I truly think the IU base (facilities, history, fans, support, etc…) will actually enable him to expand his own skill sets to a great degree.

    But just because somebody wanted a different coach doesn’t mean they’ve stopped supporting IU. I can understand the argument about hiring a mid-major coach, or hiring a young coach, or (place your reason here). I don’t agree with those reasons by themselves, but I can certainly understand. You’ll get no grief from me, because I think Archie himself will eventually win you over.

    Right now, I think a great hire. For the future, I think Archie will win over most all of the fans. Time will tell, but I’m super, super, hopeful that this is the IU coach for the next 30 years.

  • pcantidote

    Looks like the only “done deal” is the lost reputations of Dan Dakich and Doug Gottlieb.

  • SCHoosier

    Loved the way this exchange ended. Go Hoosiers!

  • bball at nick’s

    Ya little prick.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Archie’s priority list
    Meet with current players.
    Recruit. First stop, New Albany
    Connect with high school,AAU coaches
    Recruit some more

    Go Hoosiers!

  • StolenUpVotes

    I was kidding friend lol

  • Jeff Crowder

    Go Big Red!

  • Jeff Crowder

    I’m enthusiastic about the hire! I think it’s a home run. He will be exceptionally competitive for Final Fours. I have great faith in his in game coaching ability, his connection with players and his recruiting.

  • N71

    Its a reflection of scar tissue we have from the Crean hire. He came to IU from a mid major and had had some success there. He was 41 years old maybe so we were optimistic. It didn’t work out and now there’s this thought a successful mid major guy can’t cut the mustard…not fair really. That’s the crux of where the negative thoughts are coming from I think. We just need to uncouple the issues and look at Archie as Archie and not a younger version of Crean. We’ll get over it. This explains the attraction to Stevens and Donovan, we didn’t want to take any chances because its been so long sense we’ve made the Final 4. There aren’t any sure things but Archie appears positioned for great success.

  • Missing Moye

    I would argue that both simply maintained their reputations.

  • Koko

    Easy cowboy…..chill and see how it all plays out.

  • Missing Moye

    They have 4 players signed and a verbal commit from a Czech player that folks on their message board described as a 6-7 sharpshooter. We all know the rankings often times don’t mean anything, but the other 4 players signed are not highly regarded nationally. The class doesn’t appear to be ranked (most recruiting services only rank the top 40 teams).

    Nahziah Carter is a 6-6 athletic SF (ESPN 3-star, 53rd at his position). McKinley Wright is a 6-0 PG (247 Sports 3-star, 224th ranked player, 46 at his position). Jordan Davis is a 6-4 SG (Rivals 3-star) and Jordan Pierce is a 6-10, 245lbs PF (Rivals 3-star). None of these guys are ranked by multiple recruiting services.

    So certainly no disrespect to these players, or to Dayton, but their idea of a great recruiting class differs from ours and I’m not sure if these players would be able to help us or not.

  • Mark Bando

    Also high up on the priority list is to go see justin smith and convince him to stay. I know some people who went to see him play and say he is the real deal

  • CWheels

    Imagine if this years IU team had over achieved

  • Mark Bando

    Great info, thanks for posting

  • Mark Bando

    If most of Archie players have been 3 star players, I can picture him watching film of our guys and salivating at what he can do with the guys we have now and the guys he will be able to recruit

  • Missing Moye

    It looks like Alex retweeted this, but I just read where Miller has reached out to Clifton Moore and Al Durham already trying to convince them to come to IU next year. That’s a good start.

  • Mark Bando

    What about justin smith? He’s our best recruit

  • Missing Moye

    He never asked for a release from his LOI, so he’s still coming until we hear differently.

  • Mark Bando

    Yeah. He has been mysteriously quiet. I hope he comes.

  • Missing Moye

    From a talent perspective, you are probably right. But I could see Archie watching film of our team and seeing his head about to explode while watching our entry passes and defensive positioning. He’s got a lot of work to undo some of the teachings of his predecessor.

  • pcantidote

    Awesome info. Thanks.

  • IU Cal 1809

    Just seen Miller is making push to keep Moore and Durham at IU!!

  • Ernieg

    Calipari was at memphis after umass

  • pcantidote

    I wonder if they’ll wait to see where/if Crean lands anywhere first. If so they’ll have to weigh their devotion to Crean vs. what will certainly be a step down in terms of program prestige.

  • Mark Bando

    Very true, and it can be hard to undo bad habits, but its not rocket science and these kids should be able to learn it and develop new good habits

  • Yeah, sorry, Donovan’s 51, had him confused for a second with Marshall. And yes, from a number of accounts, Donovan didn’t like recruiting and liked the NBA because he didn’t have to do it there. But you’ve gone from an unconfirmed story about Archive being the “main” target to suddenly him being the _only_ target and the only person contacted. And I’m saying that IF Archie was the _main_ target, then I’m cool with it and I think calling for FG to be fired is ridiculous.

    And yes, I’m fine with getting the most highly-regarded young coach in the country over Donovan. I like the risk-reward equation, and I don’t believe for a second that if Donovan came to IU, anybody could be certain he’d stick around until he got tired of recruiting again and headed back to the pros.

  • Logical Lurker

    I don’t see what’s sketchy? Sure they have assistant principal haircuts … But they really seem to know the game and sure coach like it!

  • Shaggy_C

    How about those who reported on that mysterious Cessna, hey-o!

  • Creek0512

    Yeah, his Dad even said in an interview that one of the reasons he went to Indiana is that at Dayton he’d have a recruit really interested, and then Izzo or someone would suddenly swoop in and he’d lose out because they weren’t a big school in a major conference.

  • Rebuildthebrand

    What to love about the hire:

    Former player that was a PG, coach on the floor.
    Coaching family all about basketbal
    Coaches son, read a few quotes from his father and Indiana fans will love him
    MIdwestern guy with a really good resume
    Good offensive and defensive metrics
    Wants to be here and has a reputation for being tough minded
    Most importantly, in my opinion, Sean Miller recently made a similar leap and should be able to guide Archie on dos and donts which should not be under estimated

    Stevens might have been a home run but I’d call this hire a triple with a chance for Inside the park status

  • Tom Ray

    You guys got a good one. He was a great fit for Dayton and we were lucky to him as long as we did…and I’m glad he held out for a job that is actually better at IU where basketball is king. He turned down many offers at power programs that, frankly, were not better than the Dayton job. That said, if I were you guys my concern would be how will elite level prima-dona talent relate to him expecting them to work their butts off, be disciplined and to what’s best for the team over their own stats? He got a lot of guys at Dayton who were over-looked by the power conferences…some flaw or another with a chip on their shoulder just like him…who bought into his methods and became MUCH BETTER individual players than they were when they arrived for the betterment of the team…and I think that kind of player is his real sweet spot as a coach, not one-and-dones but that remains to be seen. Also, your boosters will be in for a bit of a surprise if they are looking for guy to rub elbows with and talk basketball…he will embrace your basketball legacy…but he’s a little anti-social when comes to dealing with people who really don’t know jack.
    You’re likely to never see your team play a zone defense…just a grinding pack-line man-to-man every game, every half-court possession…and if he can get the kids to buy-in your team will be very hard to beat.
    Good luck to Archie in Bloomington!

  • Missing Moye

    Thanks for your input. Very insightful.

  • iugradmark

    Tom, thank you for your post. Some of us are actually OK with the approach you outlined. Indiana has not been a one and done school and I don’t think it fits our history or culture or academics. Our hope is that Indiana’s resources gives Archie a chance to get the occasional 4-5 star player to go with a solid mix of 3 stars that he develops over their career and when those things mesh, we are able to make deep runs but even in the “down” years we are still top tier in the conference and not missing the NCAA’s.

  • Jeff Crowder

    Thanks Tom! This is what I want to hear!

  • enickman

    Most of us appreciate 3/4 star players who grow in college to be strong upperclassmen. Truly competing for the NC Banner every 4 to 5 years. Sound like that is what we get in Archie. A guy that has an awesome recruiting ground and can coach! Sprinkle in a 5 every once in a while may not hurt either. Anyway, I pray your school can land a quality coach to keep your program growing!

  • Wow, awesome stuff, thanks! I mean, you do realize you’re saying some pretty nice things for a lot of IU fans, right? The “anti-social when comes to dealing with people who really don’t know jack” part will be quite familiar to many of the older boosters — in fact, it’ll bring back old times. 🙂

    And never seeing a zone defense but just aggressive man-to-man? Yeah, that sounds about right. And I understand that Archie also knows how to play against a zone, which will be welcome.

    And those glue guys you mention? We like those here at IU as well, although we’re not against some elite one-and-dones on occasion. Speaking for myself, if he can build national championship-level competitive teams with 99% student-athletes who will graduate, that would be my strongest preference.

    Yeah, you’re making some people here pretty happy.

  • Insightful and pretty darn exciting, frankly.

  • Koko

    I’m curious to see what he does with ZM and GG.

  • Koko

    Thanks Tom….appreciate you sharing your point of view with us.

  • Chappy Dan

    Can’t have much better numbers than those.

  • enickman

    So true. Though Dackich didn’t have much of a reputation to begin with.

  • I know some people don’t like the RMK comparisons, but they’re really pretty unavoidable with Archie. Consider:

    1. The hottest and most highly-respected young coach, coming from a situation where he proved he could build solid teams but hadn’t yet hit the majors.

    2. Turned down previous opportunities for various reasons and waited for just the right one, which happened to be IU.

    3. Has an “Archie Bunker” mentality (I love it that this is where he got his nickname), doesn’t take crap from anyone, especially people who don’t know basketball. If you’re too young to know who Archie Bunker was, google it.

    4. Is incredibly competitive and has an incredible drive to win basketball games. That’s true of many coaches, but with Archie it seems like he’s at the highest level. He played basketball the same way, which likely accounted for his success as a 5′ 9″ point guard at NC State.

    5. Demands that his players go to school and get their educations, and has a demonstrated record of graduating seniors.

    6. Plays exclusively aggressive, in-your-face man-to-man defense and never plays zone.

    7. From what I understand, prefers to score in transition but plays a variant of a motion offense in the half court.

    8. Is a great basketball mind and an outstanding tactician. Knows how to teach his style of basketball and get kids to buy into it.

    9. Demands hard work from his players and rewards them with strong development.

    At the same time, I also think Archie has role models in his father and brother that can help him avoid falling into the excesses that doomed RMK. I think he’ll relate better with players, in spite of being so demanding. And he grew up in the modern era of college basketball, and so he’s likely more able to adopt more quickly.

    For a previously _huge_ RMK fan, I’m pretty darned excited about this guy. I think he brings everything that was best about RMK, while avoiding some of the worst traits.

  • I just want to add, a couple of you UD fans have come on here and said really great things about Archie. And I’m seeing elsewhere how much you all loved the guy. That speaks volumes to me about UD as a program, about the UD fan base, and about Archie. Impressive all around, and I do wish you folks the absolute best in finding a good replacement.

  • Maybe I’m just caught up in the excitement, but I’ve researched Archie even more since yesterday’s announcement. The more I learn, the more excited I become. I’m leaning in the direction that he’s an even better choice than Stevens in many ways. I think this guy is going to build a real legacy that will be all-Indiana.

  • I also read elsewhere that Archie wants them to come and has already contacted them to that effect. I think there’s a really good chance that we’ll have essentially the team we expected to have, only with a coach who’s proven he can be successful with whatever players are in front of him. And these are some good players, much more highly rated –and I would argue objectively more talented — than he had at Dayton.

  • Hah, just commented to that effect above.

  • dssnyder

    Good post. I agree, Archie seems to be an old school coach with the ability to mold and mentor the players of today’s game

  • I have a feeling he’ll be just fine with Archie. I have a feeling these players know who the guy is, and a quick google will fix that if they don’t.