Live Chat Transcript

This is late, but from yesterday…

 

QUESTION: Moderator: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. This will be Dustin’s last chat before he heads off to Knoxville. We wish him well but will miss him here in the newsroom and on the IU sports beat. Great guy, great reporter.

Thanks for everything, Dustin. Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT) will be taking his place on the IU sports beat. We’ll get him on the next chat.

OK. How is everyone doing? Are we ready to get started?

JEREMY: Well, Moddie, you’ve got me a little weepy with that intro for Dustin, but I’ll wipe away the tears for the rest of the chat. Let’s get this thing going.

DUSTIN: And thanks to all you guys. It’s been a blast here for five years. I’ll say more at the end, but I appreciate it all and Mike Miller is going to be outstanding. OK, let’s get to it.

ANDY: Chatting with mixed emotions today, obviously. I will defer to Dustin, regarding his pending departure, other than to say I value him personally as much or more as I do professionally — and I say that while regarding him as the consummate professional.

QUESTION: 1. Whats the real story behind Curt Miller? I know IU is being very tight lipped and I think I believe he had a health issue but it just seems very odd to me that people in the adminsitration not wishing him luck in recovery or goodbye or anything on twitter or social media (they certainly did with Tracy Smith) as would be normal. Is there something more going on here that we are not prive to? I find it hard to believe that money is involved as Fred Glass has more than shown his willingness to pay coaches, but this seems maybe there is something else going on but maybe not and it is just health and he has asked for privacy?

2. My second question is more of a thank you to Dustin. As much as I might give you a hard time with questions you have been the BEST reporter HT has ever had by a lot (no offense to the rest of the staff who is also beyond excellent). Your thoughtfulness in answering questions, your coverage of baseball, your scoop talks and your dedication to the job are second to none and the HT is suffering a major loss without you and I wish you all the best in life moving forward. The Knoxville paper has just improved big time by getting you. I’m sure Mike (who has provided excellent high school) will keep up the great work with IU coverage and I look forward to reading him. All i ask is the strong coverage of olympic sports continues (Baseball, Track, Swimming, Soccer, Women’s B-Ball ETC) and scoop talk also continues! I so vote for a good buy scoop talk at the county fair Friday as you talked about in the last scoop talk.

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. I wish I had a nickel for every “what’s the real story” question in the past week. The honest truth is we don’t know yet, but everybody related to this situation has been very tight lipped, and that certainly tends to raise a red flag, especially in a reporter’s mind. I think all possibilities are still on the table, from health to something more nefarious. We’ll keep digging.

2. No offense taken.

DUSTIN: Hey Darren,

1. You’re not the only one who thinks that way, but the obvious only answer here is that if we knew, we’d tell you. Mike and Jeremy have been getting after it on this story, and all I can tell you is, they’ve asked the same questions you have and had the same thoughts. Just from reading as a bystander, I would say that I see no reason to rule out any explanation whatsoever.

2. Much appreciated Darren. I’ve given you a hard time as well, but I appreciate you coming by every week and keeping the chat interesting. It’s been a lot of fun.

ANDY: Darren:

1. Those who know are remaining resoundingly silent. Whatever it is, it clearly isn’t frivilous. The social media silence seems strange, too, as you note. There is obviously something serious behind it. Fred Glass is a very smart man, a lawyer who is well-versed in PR. He knows as well as anybody that silence in this sort of situation leads to speculation, and that some of the speculation could become salacious. Yet he chooses virtual silence. That, in itself, speaks volumes. I would gather that either Curt Miller has asked for total privacy and IU is respecting that, or that the matter is something IU feels is best not discussed. It is a serious matter, whatever it is. At this juncture, I know of no reason to say anything other than I hope everybody — including those indirectly involved — comes out of it okay.

2. What you said, basically. Thanks, Darren.

QUESTION: So I assume this is Dustin’s swan song……which leads me to question #1….will you come back and visit Darren from Martinsville or at least chat with him once in awhile? Maybe he’s on Twitter too…if so, I’d love to follow him, can you share his username?

So the Curt Miller thing has a very odd feeling to it. I guess I’ll just leave it at that, but Glass said he wanted to move quickly and then Jenna Allen’s father was quoted as saying it could be as early as this week. Any names out there looking like front runners? Also seemed odd that Brandi Poole wasn’t named interim…though I guess her title wasn’t as lofty. But she’d strike me as the best internal hire if it’s beyond this year.

Snarky Hoosier, Ellettsville

JEREMY: Snarky,

Odd is a good word for the Curt Miller situation, from the actual resignation to the reaction by people both inside and surrounding the program. I don’t think this is going to be any lengthy coaching search, and frankly I’d be quite surprised if there wasn’t a new coach named within the next seven days. I wrote up some names to watch for today’s paper based on what I’ve been hearing from various sources:http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/sports/college/iu/names-to-watch-in-iu-coaching-search/article_fdac92f3-c2a2-5b8c-abd3-5af1246ed7d3.html

Yeah, I think they named Curtis Loyd interim since he had the associate head coach title, although I have to say if they were going to look internally, Poole is where I would start, if she was interested. That said, my feeling is that this is almost exclusively an external coaching search. Guess we’ll see where that leaves the current staff with the new coach.

DUSTIN: Ha! I unfortunately don’t have Darren’s Twitter name. Or at least I don’t think I do. Going to have to find that one.

Jeremy has the names to watch covered for the women’s search in this story. (if it doesn’t link, just copy and paste it in your browser)

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/sports/college/iu/names-to-watch-in-iu-coaching-search/article_fdac92f3-c2a2-5b8c-abd3-5af1246ed7d3.html

Thanks Snarky.

ANDY: SH:

I’ll let Duistin deal with the initial inquiry, and note that Jeremy had an article in today’s paper dealing with possible candidates to replace Curt Miller, featuring Cameron Newbaurer (Belmont, Andrea’s brother), Damon Bailey (Butler assistant, BNL and IU icon), Tricia Cullop (Hoosier native, Purdue grad, who has had a fine run at Toledo), Autumn Rademacher (Detroit) and Gail Goesternkors (former Duke and Texas had coach and most recently a Los Angeles Sparks assistant in the WNBA). Brian Agler, Beth Cunningham and Stephanie White were listed as further “rumor mill” names. According to Jeremy, it seems IU isn’t necessarily looking to an internal candidate, or somebody on Curt Miller’s coaching tree.

QUESTION: 1. Whats the real story with Curt Miller as there is no way he left like that for no reason? I saw list of possible hires on Hoosier Scoop and if IU wants to maintain what Miller started it will hire Cullop or someone else who has done well at lower level. If you want to sustain success you hire someone who’s torn it up at lower level. Not someone with little or no experience like Bailey or Newbauer or someone who failed at a previous job like Goestenkors at Texas (I dont care that she tore it up a long time ago at Duke) or Rademacher who won 6 games at Detroit last season. This is a critical hire and if IU gets it wrong and hires someone with minimal success on lower level ala Feleisha Legette Jack (still never will understand that hire as her resume was pretty mediocre at Hofstra coming in) than program is doomed.

2. I feel this hire is completely different from baseball since IU made it to the mountain top and now it just needs to stay up there versus now with women’s basketball you are making a hire for a team that is still climbing the mountain and only halfway up so it is much much easier to fall back down. Do you guys agree?

Also best of luck in the future to Mr. Dustin Dopirak. You have done an excellent job here at HT and i’ll miss reading your stories.

Mike, Seymour

JEREMY: Mike,

1. I’ll agree with you that there’s more to Miller’s departure than the terse resignation letter IU sent out, and we’re doing our best to figure it out.

I would also agree Tricia Cullop is the name that stands out on the list, as it’s currently constituted. The only negative with her is that she’s a Purdue grad, and IU got burned by that with Versyp. However, there’s little to suggest Versyp would be going anywhere soon, and if Cullop is the best choice, she’s the best choice regardless of background.

I think Bailey knows basketball and provides instant recognition, but the lack of experience in the college game is a drawback. Still, if you gave him the current staff to work with, he’d be in pretty good shape. Newbauer is short on head coaching experience, but he’s got a ton more college experience than Bailey while working with two of the best in Georgia’s Andy Landers and Louisville’s Jeff Walz.

Rademacher is a wild card and Goestenkors a longshot. Keep in mind that how this hire shakes out could well depend on how much money Fred Glass is willing to spend on women’s basketball.

2. Women’s basketball is definitely only starting to climb the mountain, so the possibility of falling is definitely much greater. This hire and season is big, because the 2016 recruiting class is where IU was poised to make a jump to another level. The Hoosiers’ top targets could well turn attention elsewhere depending on what happens.

DUSTIN: Mike,

1. As previously stated, no one really knows what the real story is on Curt Miller’s departure right now. If and when Jeremy and Mike find out — and they’ll do everything they can to find out — you’ll know.

2. Obviously agree there. The women’s program was just starting to gain momentum and Miller’s coaching was a big part of the reason for that. Like you said, baseball had reached as much of a mountain top as it ever had and coaches knew it was a place you could go and win. There weren’t many mid major head coaches or major conference assistants in the Midwest who didn’t want that job. I think Lemonis was a home run hire, but Rich Maloney would’ve been too. The women’s job is going to be a little bit more difficult to fill. They have to swing big to keep this thing going, but they might have to settle for a lower choice because of the timing. They do have some big pieces to build with, though, and I’m sure coaching Tyra Buss is an attractive idea for women’s coaches.

ANDY: Mike:

There is no way Curt Miller left that for no reason, as you state. It’s just that nobody besides a very few people intimately involved knows the reason, at this point. As to who replaces Curt Miller, I don’t necessarily disagree with your assessment, though I do think you can make a case for some of the candidates you dismiss. Tricia Cullop is a North Knox graduate who played for Lin Dunn at Purdue and, as you say, has a good track record at Toledo. Yesterday, I spoke with a friend of mine who knows her family and spoke very highly of her as a person.

And I agree with your characterization of how the women’s basketball hire differs from the recent situation with baseball, and obviously also agree with your thoughts regarding Dustin.

QUESTION: When does football practice start and did you get any sense from the coaches what the real game plan would be if Sudfeld gets hurt as I doubt a walk-on is the answer as he said.?

Am I correct that since IU has no seniors on the basketball team, that the Big 10 oversign rules would make it hard to have a fall signing of more than 2 (the 1 open scholarship plus 1 oversign)? I think the coach has to justify a path to getting to 13 to the Big 10 and I would think having no seniors makes that harder unless he has told Zeisloft his scholarship is for 1 year

charles, indianapolis

JEREMY: charles,

Correct, no seniors on the IU basketball roster. In theory, signing more than two in the fall might be difficult, but Tom Crean could well be able to make a case for more based on inside info we’re not privy to, such as someone’s likelihood to jump to the pros or transfer. So we’ll see. At this point, signing one appears to be enough of a challenge, plus a lot of kids are waiting until spring these days to increase their offers. I don’t think Zeisloft would’ve gone with IU if they weren’t on board with two years, and nothing Crean has said indicates anything other than a two-year scholarship.

DUSTIN: Hey Charles,

Football practice starts Monday. And right now today, you’d have to say Nate Boudreau is the best option after Nate Sudfeld. That’s scary if your’e an IU fan, but it’s accurate. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, which means if nothing else, he can take the beating, and he has at least a half-decent arm. Zander Diamont is going to have a chance to win the starting job eventually and I think Wilson likes him a lot, but he’s listed at 6-foot-1, 175. I don’t know how much he got accomplished in the summer, but the body I saw in the spring was the sort that somebody like Shilique Calhoun or Michael Bennett would break in half. He has a chance to be a good player, but if anyone needs a redshirt year, it’s him. Danny Cameron has a chance as a true freshman because he’s at least built that way, but Boudreau has just as much of an argument.

Charles, that’s accurate. They at least have to submit a number of open scholarships they expect to have, and they can oversign by one from there. With Jurkin now gone, there don’t seem to be any players who seem to be sure thing transfers. Don’t know whether Jeremiah April and Tim Priller are going to work out or not, but I’m not sure they can give up on either of them for at least a year. So it’s a tricky position. But obviously, the Hoosiers don’t have any commitments for the 2015 class, so they still have to worry about getting the players necessary to fill the few open scholarships they will have And I do doubt Crean has told Zeisloft he only has his scholarship for a year. To quote Crean “I wanted to be right,” on this one. He wasn’t going to take Zeisloft and two years of him if it wasn’t a good fit. He must strongly believe it is.

ANDY: Charles:

IU football media day is next Monday, Aug. 4, with practice kicking into full swing that week. I would have assumed that Zander Diamont would enter fall camp as the No. 2 quarterback, but I don’t think it’s out of the question that either the coaching staff wouldn’t mind getting him a redshirt year and/or that they really like Nate Boudreau as a back-up. They obviously liked what they saw of Danny Cameron, too. But I think something will shake out and we’ll get a clearer picture in the month between now and the opener against Indiana State.

You are correct in that IU has no seniors on its pending men’s basketball roster. And is was stated, in public, that Ziesloft’s scholarship is for two years, not one. But these things always tend to work out over time.

QUESTION: Good morning guys. Hope all is well. Here are my two questions.

1) It seems to me that our football and basketball teams mirror each other in terms of the opponents they schedule early in their season. To be blunt, easy wins. Both teams usually have a pretty good early season record and then reality sets in. We start to struggle. Do you think history will repeat itself?

2) Reading what the basketball recruits are saying about their impression of IU basketball and coach Crean is like watching the same rerun on television over and over again. The scrip never changes, especially with the more talented and higher rated players. They all are saying the same things. I’m not opposed to the under the radar thing or the hidden talent thing, but I don’t think this is the right formula for success. In your opinion, is there something about Indiana basketball that is turning the better players away?

indianavelt, Fort Wayne

JEREMY: indianavelt,

1. Well, it has seemed that way at times in the past, although I will say football didn’t find Navy or Missouri so easy, which cost it a bowl last year. And basketball definitely has upgraded the non-conference schedule this year, with Maui on the docket for 2015, which won’t be easy. So I think this year may be a different story.

2. I completely agree about the recruits all saying the same thing about Indiana, although that’s true everywhere to an extent. The thing is, when push comes to shove, they aren’t choosing IU. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they just aren’t convinced Indiana is elite to stay yet. Recruiting was certainly easier when the Hoosiers were No. 1 than when they were 17-15.

DUSTIN: Indianavelt,

1. On some level, everybody does that. In football, especially, you have to schedule some home games, and if you’re Indiana, you have to schedule some wins. The IU football scheduling philosophy has been one FCS team to start, two MAC-ish level teams and then one BCS opponent. Comparatively, that’s not bad. I’d say on average, most BCS teams schedule one big non-conference risk game and the others they use as home games for easy wins and big home-game money in the athletic department budget (and that’s a big part of it. Home football games are HUGE paydays, even at a place like Indiana.) So really, Indiana is no less adventurous than anyone else in that regard. Basketball could be a little more bold, but there have been a lot of other things in play in recent years in terms of scheduling and open dates, and they’re also trying to get 20 home games for financial purposes as well. I’ll say this, the basketball schedule is going to get better this year and possibly next year. The football schedule is going to stay standard. And yeah, it’s always going to be harder for both of those teams to win in the conference than the non-conference, but that’s the truth for absolutely everybody.

2. The script doesn’t change because it doesn’t help those kids at all to be honest if they aren’t really sold on Indiana. There’s no reason to burn bridges in recruiting. You tell every reporter from every recruiting website that every school has a great program, lots of tradition and a good coach, even if you don’t actually believe that at the time. At some point, you could need to transfer or you could need a coaching job, so there’s no reason to tick anybody off.

Is there something that’s turning top players away? Well, they’re coming off a 17-15 season and all it takes is one season at Indiana when a coach doesn’t make the postseason for people to start asking about his job. Is that fair? Probably not, but 1) it makes it easier to negatively recruit against him and 2) if you’re truly a top recruit and you have offers from say, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky on the table, you don’t have to wonder if the situation is stable, you know. So even if you don’t think it’s likely that Indiana makes a move during your career, you KNOW that if it happens when you’re at one of those programs, the program will still be in solid shape and won’t be starting over. So if you’re a top player, there are a lot of reasons not to throw your lot in with a team coming off a postseason-less year. Crean has to change that situation and fast, but he still got enough talent in the 2014 class that I think it’s possible.

ANDY: indianavelt:

1. I would disagree. IU football has to travel to Missouri and Bowling Green. North Texas won nine games (including a bowl) last season. The Hoosiers have just six home football games. And the IU men’s basketball non-conference schedule has clearly been upgraded this season. We should have a pretty decent idea how strong the Indiana squads are before they begin conference play. And I do think playing football in the Big Ten East and playing Big Ten men’s basketball are significant challenges for any team.

2. Recruits always tend to say the same things, about just about any program. There is recruit-speak, just as there is coach-speak, when dealing with media. I would agree that becoming solely dependent upon under-the-radar guys isn’t a pattern for long-term success at the Big Ten and national levels, but IU is also bringing in a McDonalds All-American in James Blackmon and a very highly-touted guard in Robert Johnson this fall. And it isn’t as if CTC and staff aren’t vying for some big national names in the upcoming classes. There is always a possibility that something is amiss behind the scenes, or that the bloom can fall off the rose for a while. And I’d still like to know if there was something other than homesickness that led to Luke Fischer’s departure. But there we enter into the realm of speculation. Has IU had a better recruiting context before than it does now? Probably. It’s always easier to recruit after a pair of Sweet Sixteen finishes and an outright Big Ten title than it is after a 17-15 season.

QUESTION: OSD in the house. Checking in form this Mecca on Earth called Northwest Indiana. If they had internet back in the day when this place was settled no one would have moved here. Well now on to the questions.

First one Dustin what gives? I mean you implied this is the last chat for you. Are you leaving if so where to? No this does not count as 3 questions. If this is the final rodeo for you I got to say it has been a heck of a ride! I have appreciated all your reporting, your calmness when I was hyper and too excited about things and your steady hand on the wheel of IU sports. You have put up with my personal notes and comments on my life and the world along with answering my questions. I wish you the best in whatever endeavor you are going to. We will all be much poorer for your leaving. Geez I am getting too sentimental here. Anyway go get them and have a great career and life!

Really do not have any other questions. I was bereft of questions this week and was going to take the week off but saw Dustin’s wording and wanted to say a fond farewell. We seem to lose all the guys eventually. First Chris, then Evan and now Dustin. I guess Bloomington is a good training ground to go on to bigger and better things.

Well big weekend in NWI for me as grandson Garrett (Class of 2028) is coming tomorrow so I am again this week and next week working a 4 day week. Looking forward to spoiling him.

Now the OSD sadly mounts up to ride off into the sunset looking backward and waving Dustin a final salute. Like Roy Rodgers (no relation to Aaron, have Andy tell you who he was) used to say “Happy Trails to you until we meet again, Happy Trails keep smiling onto then.”

Best wishes Dustin!

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY: OSD,

Thanks for stopping by to pay tribute to Dustin. Happy Trails, indeed!

DUSTIN: Thanks so much Dude. Even when you were getting too hyper you were still entertaining. If you didn’t see it up there, I’ll be covering Tennessee football at the Knoxville News-Sentinel starting Aug. 11. I don’t know that I’d call Tennessee football a bigger deal than Indiana basketball, in fact I don’t think I would, but it’s a bigger paper, bigger market, and a well-regarded sports editor and sports staff that I think will help me get a lot better. But Bloomington has been awesome to me, it is a great training ground, and you’ll love Mike Miller’s reporting as well. Good luck to you, and to that grandson of yours. I’ll keep tabs on his exploits. Thank you, Dude.

ANDY: Dude:

Thanks about the kind, and fully merited, words about Dustin (who, as I’m sure he’ll tell you, is headed to an excellent newspaper, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, to cover Tennessee football among other beats.)

And I was a big Roy Rogers fan as a kid.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your tremendous coverage and hard work, it is appreciated. Dustin, congratulations on the new job and good luck. It’s been a pleasure reading your work and I thank you for your dedication during your time “on the beat”. I know Mike Miller will be taking over and if he’s reading this, best of luck and I look forward to reading your work in the near future.

1. What were the two or three most interesting things about IU football (or the Big Ten in general) you took from Big Ten Media Days? Also, I know it almost definitely doesn’t translate to on-field results but what kind of vibes were you getting from the IU players and Kevin Wilson? They seemed relaxed and confident (but it’s really hard to tell from video clips).

2. I don’t think anyone has a feel for how the 2015 basketball recruiting class is going to shake out so I won’t ask you to predict the unpredictable. However, I would like to know which position(s) you think IU will end up addressing with that class. Mainly, do you think the staff is going to attempt to bring in a point guard (I’ve liked the idea of a good, but not elite, PG prospect playing 8-10 minutes a game behind a Senior Yogi Ferrell to learn the ropes and then take over in 2016-17) or do you think they are content with the current guards (Johnson, Blackmon Jr.) handling spot duty at PG before replacing Yogi with a freshman in 2016? I find roster construction interesting and that’s something that’s been in my head as this 2015 class gets closer to taking shape.

Once again, thanks for the chat and a big thanks to Dustin for his exceptional work. Good luck and you will be missed. “Talk” to you next Thursday gentlemen, have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers.

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

1. Football dudes …

2. Well, in my mind the first thing IU needs to do is land a big man for 2015. Not sure you can go through another season with Perea, Davis, April and Priller the only bigs. Second, IU does need another point guard, but I’m not sure it’s a pure point guard so much as a combo guard like Donovan Mitchell or Shake Milton to go with Robert Johnson, who is probably a PG long-term beyond college.

I agree that roster construction is always interesting, and Luke Fischer’s departure last year was a big blow to the Hoosiers’ building plans.

DUSTIN: Much appreciated TJ, Thanks so much for reading and for all of your questions. I can promise you that Mike Miller will be outstanding as my successor, Supremely talented guy.

1. I thought the entire union discussion with Northwestern was interesting, although I think that’s such a hard topic for players to discuss without feeling like they’re whining or ungrateful to the people who are coaching and helping them. It’s also hard for coaches and certainly administrators to discuss honestly without showing their hand, and I think they mix in a lot of what they know is hypocrisy with their honest beliefs. I think most administrators, Jim Delany included, believe in the system for reasons other than their own personal gain, and they’re afraid to make certain admissions – such as the fact that there is a reasonable argument that suggests the student athlete to university relationship bares some similarities to that of employee-employer – because just making the admission would lead to a total system collapse. I guess I was more honed in on that than the actual football discussion because we’re still about two months from watching an actual Big Ten game. As for the IU guys, I continue to be impressed by the vibe around the program. I’m not sure how good this team is going to be or whether it’s anywhere near ready to be a Big Ten East competitor, but I think this team feels more confident all the time and I think there is as much of a positive atmosphere around that group as any other team on campus, certainly more so than basketball right now. Wilson certainly feels confident and the “Well, we got the opening bands out of the way,” was one of my favorite lines in Big Ten Media Day.

2. They could go either way there, but I think they feel good about Johnson and Blackmon sharing point guard duties in 2015-16. Obviously, they can’t go another year without a big man, so that’s priority one, and after all the offseason transfers and graduations, they’re actually back at the point where they could use more wings. I think those are priorities for another year before they take a point guard. That wouldn’t be the worst idea, though, and they could use depth there.

Thanks so much again, TJ.

ANDY: TJ:

1. I wasn’t in Chicago this year but, just watching the clips and reading what Dustin, Mike and others wrote, I was struck by some of the statements made by Coach Wilson and others regarding IU’s defense. Wilson clearly indicated he saw signs last spring of what he considered to be potentially significant improvement. Nate Sudfeld’s comments about facing the defense every day were revealing, too. Nothing means much until the pads and lights come on, of course, but defense is obviously the biggest question-mark heading into this season and if some affirmative answers arise on that side of the ball, Hoosier fans could be in for some fun.

2. I think bringing in a point guard seems pretty likely, for the reasons you outline, but I also think Robert Johnson could potentially take on that role as time goes by.

QUESTION: First of all, hats of to Dustin for “BIGTIMING” us…(lol)…..Wish all of the best…

I have football on my mind, but the Women’s basketball hire is what I’m concerned about…..Until the HT scoop article, I was dying to hear any names for a candidate.

Who do you think we have a legitimate shot at and will they be able to carry on the momentum that Coach Miller started?

STEVE, Indy

JEREMY: Steve,

I think Bailey, Cullop, Newbauer and Rademacher are all reasonable possibilities with pros and cons. Cullop is the name with the most experience among that group, and has likely recruited a fair number of the players on IU’s current roster. And there could yet be a name or two pop up not on that list, we’ll see.

Carrying on the momentum will be the tough part. Even with Miller, it might have been difficult to match what they did last year on the court with a thin front line and a batch of freshmen replacing seniors like Gerardot, Chaplin, Taufa and Deloach. But carrying the momentum in recruiting is the bigger challenge, with the class of 2016 loaded with talent that could provide the next significant upgrade for the program. Miller was fond of saying he had a five-year plan, and while perhaps ahead of schedule, there was still a long way to go for Indiana to rise above the struggles of the past.

DUSTIN: Ha. Thanks so much Steve. I’ll let Jeremy carry the women’s coaching discussion, but I really do appreciate it.

ANDY: STEVE:

Cullop strikes me as an intriguing candidate who has an in-state background. I think she’s highly-regarded and could well sustain the program’s current momentum. And deep in my Hoosier bones, I’m obviously intrigued by the Damon Bailey possibility. I think as much of Damon as a person than as a player, which is obviously reallly saying something. And as a journalist, beyond his play on the court, I appreciated how he was always willing to talk — intelligently, and as forth-rightly as circumstances permitted — after his IU and BNL games.

QUESTION: Hey fellas,

Well I am certainly sad to see Dustin go.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Tijan is walking on to the football team as a pass-blocker (I assume instead of rushing the passer, he is just going to stick those arms up and swat all passes) as well as a FG/XP-blocker. How do you think IU will fare this season with this new, late addition? To me, this has a chance to be double, nah TRIPLE, what the Jerimy Finch addition was to be. And infinity times more than it actually was. As a follow-up, what are the chances that Kevin Wilson throws his Big Red gum this year? While Fred Glass has upped the actual firework budget, there was always something spectacular about a Bill Lynch gum toss.

Dustin, now that you are leaving and will soon not be covering Indiana athletics, what is your prediction on how long Tom Crean is coach at Indiana and how to you see everything playing out? I understand if you don’t feel comfortable answering, but I always ask the HARD HITTING QUESTIONS (see the questions in the previous paragraph).

Anyway, I appreciate all your hard work at the HT. Your football and basketball coverage was superb and I really thank you for your increased coverage of the baseball team. Perhaps, I will see you out at Nicks on Friday and I can stop by and say farewell. Maybe if they play Rocky Top, you can dance like Peyton.

From your favorite,

I like soup!, Blooomington

JEREMY: soup,

Maybe Fred will up the gum budget, too.

DUSTIN: Soup! I was hoping you’d return.

I personally think Tijan’s elbows have the potential to be the most unstoppable force in college football and to force the NCAA to triple it’s budget for research into concussions. Though I would presume it will only carry 2.5 times the Jerimy Finch hype because it’s difficult to top infinite hype, Tijan’s addition will lead to at least two national championships for Indiana and the total complete decimation of the Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama football programs.

I’ve been pushing the gum toss to Wilson for a long time. I’m going for one more power-point presentation on its benefits before I leave. And when I’m gone, I do expect someone to point out on Twitter as much as possible how much of a fireworks fan Fred Glass is.

I think Tom Crean survives this season. I will go that far. I think sometimes he’s better with a hand tied behind his back, which he is with nothing resembling a reliable center. This team will have to go Villanova, four-guard style stuff to win, but somehow, I think he pulls just enough to get in the tournament and keep it together. After that, I have no idea what happens. If he starts getting players again, he can survive for a while. If he doesn’t, he’s just delaying the inevitable. But we’ll see. I can see him out in two years, I can see him staying for 6-8. I don’t see him being at Indiana until he retires, not because I can’t imagine him succeeding, but I just don’t think you can stay at the pace he’s at forever. I’ll only go so far as to say that I don’t think Indiana will have a new coach in 2015-16.

Soup, thank you so much. I do plan to be at Nick’s on Friday. so come stop out.

ANDY: Souper:

I am so dazzled by the brilliant premise behind your opening series of questions pertaining to Tijan that I find myself incapable of responding.

I’ll let Dustin try. And I’d pay good money to see him dance to “Rocky Top.”

QUESTION: Dustin, best wishes on Rocky Top, but before you go: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing IU athletics?

Randall Bychkov, B-town

DUSTIN: If there’s a central one, probably lack of football money to build a budget the size of Ohio State’s or Michigan. They can obviously still win in several sports with what they have, but it’s hard to match the superpowers without that kind of overall capital. Obviously, they make it work and Glass has done well to turn profits, but they’re still comparatively underfunded. And the sports themselves are simply challenges on their own. The Big Ten is a great basketball league and getting better and it’s hard to stay near the top there. The football program is always going to be dealing with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. It’s just hard for them to build up in that league.

ANDY: All yours, Dustin.

QUESTION: Was wondering if there is any news surrounding IU womens b-ball coaching search. Hear a lot of chatter about Damon Bailey. Would love to see it happen but wondering if chatter is just wishful thinking. Thanks

Derrick

Derrick, Bedford

JEREMY: Derrick,

I think Damon is definitely in the mix. Not sure he’s the first choice, but then again, not sure IU has a first choice just yet. But it’s more than just wishful thinking, I believe.

DUSTIN: Jeremy wrote about the coaching search in today’s paper. Bailey is involved based on what he’s hearing, but it’s not as far along as has been rumored. As much as I’m sure IU fans would think it is awesome, I think the smart move with Bailey is to let him see what he can do at Butler as an assistant, get used to the college game and more so, to the administration of a college program before you ask him to run the show at a Big Ten school. Think five years down the road, he’s an awesome hire, but right now, that’s a big leap.

ANDY: Derrick:

Nothing but chatter to report so far but, as you observe, some of it has centered around Damon Bailey. I saw an internet post (from a poster who I know has some IU connections) that said Damon had interviewed and that the session had gone veyr well. But it was, you know, an internet post. I only repeat it to acknowledge that, yes, there is some scuttlebutt out there regarding Damon. But I have no idea if IU would seriously countenance the notion of hiring somebody for this gig who had zero experience coaching at the college level before recently signing on as a Butler assistant. The chatter might, indeed, be in large part wishful thinking on the part of folks who like Damon (and there are loads of such folks.)

QUESTION: No questions, just wanted to take a second and thank Dustin for his work here the last few years. I’ve appreciated his insights and objectivity. DD, wishing you the very best in Knoxville!

Megan M., Bloomington

DUSTIN: Meghan M., thank you so very much, for everything. Your hospitality has meant so much to us. Hope to see you this weekend sometime.

ANDY: Thanks, Megan.

QUESTION: Question just for Jeremy & Andy: Has Dustin Dopirak been the best IU beat reporter ever or the greatest IU beat reporter ever?

Landon Turner Overdrive, Traverse City, Michigan

JEREMY: LTO,

We’ve had a lot of great ones at the H-T, but let’s just say Dustin is the Tijan Jobe of IU beat reporting!

DUSTIN: Haha, thanks a lot LTO. Appreciate everything from you too, man. If you find yourself bored on a Saturday this fall, stop on to our live chats at Tennessee. Tijan Forever.

ANDY: LTO:

Everybody has different standards or ideas about what constitutes “the greatest” in any field of endeavor. I’m old enough to have worked many years alongside Bob Hammel, who is a personal friend and a justifiably legendary Hall of Famer for many obvious reasons, but Bob wasn’t above criticism. None of us are. Even Dustin, who is pretty much a paragon, has been hard on himself at times. But I have said that Dustin is the best IU beat writer we’ve had since Hammel, and I will just stick to that. Dustin’s work-ethic, his jounalistic ethics, his professionalism, his talent, his decency, his sense of humor, his intellect, his humanity — he’s the whole package.

QUESTION: Dustin, Just wanted to say thanks for your sports coverage and the chats. Much Good Luck!

Miskue, Bloomington

DUSTIN: Much appreciated, Miskue. Thanks for reading.

ANDY: Thanks, Miscue.

QUESTION: Regarding Curt Miller there is only 3 possibe explanations. His heath, he is running from NCAA violations or he left because he didnt like it here for whatever reason or wanted more money. If he turns up somewhere else soon we know its reason 2 or 3. If he doesnt coach for a while its proabably one. If you ahd to guess whats most likly? One way to get more info is to refuse to cover the women’s program anymore (may not be feasible) until they give a bit more info becuase somebody is hidng something.

Greta, MArietta Georgia

JEREMY: Greta,

The problem with boycotting is that is what IU might prefer right now. And, frankly, there are a lot more than three possible explanations right now, although not liking Bloomington or wanting more money seem among the least likely reasons from where I sit. But I’ll pass on blind speculation until we learn more.

DUSTIN: Would say two things Greta. 1) There are way more than three possible explanations. We’re ruling out nothing on this one. 2) Guessing is usually a bad idea for a journalists. Sports writing offers more opportunities to do so when it’s not very dangerous such as predicting who might win the Big Ten or how far Indiana will make it in the tournaments. Guessing on something like this, however, is a horrible idea. But the guys will keep following it, and I’m not sure they’re going to have to use the nuclear option you’ve described to get the story.

ANDY: Greta:

I’d say there are more possible explanations than you provide here, thought there aren’t that many that really cover the extant facts. I would pretty much rule out your No. 3, and would be highly surprised if it was your No. 2. As to your first explanation, health, that might not even pertain to Coach Miller but rather to a loved one. Sandra Day O’Connor left the U.S. Supreme Court to care for her dying husband. People will leave even prominent positions for personal and family reasons, and will largely stay mum about those reasons to maintain privacy. But the Curt Miller departure clearly was very unconventional and there a heck of a lot more questions out there than there are answers right now.

QUESTION: Query: Is Dustin Dopirak the Tijan Jobe of sportswriters or was Tijan Jobe the Dustin Dopirak of hoopsters?

Kelvin Sampson, Houston, TX

DUSTIN: There is only one Tijan, and to compare him to any other human in any profession or plane of existence is blasphemous. But thank you, not really Kelvin.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us. And Dustin, thanks again for your dedication and good work — apparent in these weekly chats.

What else should we know before we say goodbye? Last thoughts?

JEREMY: It’s been a pleasure working with Dustin, both as the guy on the desk complaining about the length of his stories and as his partner on the IU basketball beat. He’s as authentic and hard-working as you all think he is, maybe more, and a superb journalist. I’ll also give him a great deal of credit for laughing at my horrible jokes. I wish him the best in Knoxville, and we’ll miss him in Bloomington.

Thanks to everybody who joined us this week.

DUSTIN: Still got two more days of work, one more story to write and then it’s over. It’s only starting to hit me how much I’m going to miss this place. I’ve absolutely loved covering this beat for five years. It’s been an honor, and I thank all of you for reading and coming on these live chats, and the cover-it-lives on gamedays and even the out there posts on the Scoop. So many of you did so much to make me feel at home here and I deeply, deeply appreciate it. Also, thanks so much to Andy and Jeremy and Mike, and also Pat Beane, Chris Korman, Jim Gordillo, Hugh Kellenberger, Ryan Kartje, Chris Howell, Seth Tackett, Bill Thornbro, Bob Zaltsberg, Mayor Maloney, Moddy and everybody else I worked with in my time at the H-T. I’m going to miss every single one of you guys. It’s been an absolute blast and I have every confidence that Mike, Jeremy and Andy will maintain the quality of the Indiana beat at the Herald-Times. My last responsibility at the H-T will be hanging out tomorrow at the H-T county fair table with the rest of these guys, so come out and say hi or for that matter, you can come find me at any one of several Bloomington watering holes this weekend. Thanks so much everybody.

ANDY: Dustin Dopirak is one of the very best journalists I’ve ever been around. And he’s an even better person. I will miss him dearly, and will always relish the good fortune of having had him as a close colleague. Godspeed, Dustin.

4 comments

  1. Who asked the question about football scheduling “easy wins” early? We play ISU (yes, they suck), then at Bowling Green (10 wins), at Mizzou (12 wins/SEC), start B1G play vs. Maryland, then play North Texas (9 wins).

  2. Really good insight into the Miller resignation and possible replacements.
    I would add my arms-length assessment, stealing from Andy and modifying it some.
    “Curt Miller has asked for total privacy and IU is respecting that. IU feels the matter is best not discussed.”

  3. Dustin, I will be moving to Knoxville this month also. It is a great town who are a fanatics about their Vols football. Will enjoy reading your articles as I have done in the past here..I’m going as a house divided,IU first..Best of luck.

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