Live chat transcript

From this morning:

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. A big warm welcome to Mike Miller, who will be joining us in this space every week. If you haven’t read Mike’s introduction on the Hoosier Scoop, check it out here.

Andy won’t be joining us today. He’s got a full morning and afternoon at IU Football practice and then availability. He’ll be on the Scoop later with updates.

Onto the questions.

How is everyone? Ready to get started?

JEREMY: A little short on sleep, but otherwise doing well. Men’s basketball is Montreal, women’s basketball looking for a new coach, the start of football practice … I think we’ve got some things to chat about.

MIKE: Good morning, everyone, and thanks for all the kind words on the new gig. It’s been a busy first week on the beat, with IU football starting its preseason, the men’s basketball team leaving for Montreal and the women’s basketball coaching situation continuing to drag on. I’m in Montreal for the basketball trip, which begins tonight against Laval University. Trying to rely on what seems like a pretty good public transportation system to get me to and from the venues. Explored downtown for a bit last night and only got lost for a few brief minutes. Cool city. Let’s chat.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. Mike, congratulations on your new role, I’ve loved reading your work so far and I’m sure you are going to do a great job!

1. I’ve read the “5 Questions to Ponder” and agree with everything that was written. It’s tough to gauge what “success” would be on this trip but they don’t pay you guys the big bucks to dodge the tough ones so, what constitutes “success” on this Canadian trip and when (if ever) do you think we will know if success was attained?

2. I enjoyed the 10 minute post-practice Q&A with Kevin Wilson. He seems to really like this group of guys and he’s so much more at ease in front of the microphone than he ever has been (at least in my opinion). What has suprised/impressed/disappointed you so far from the practice you’ve seen? We can’t jump to any conclusions based on no-pads practices but who or what has jumped out to you?

As always, thanks a bunch for your great coverage, it is greatly appreciated. Have a great week, go Hoosiers and God bless. P.S….Mike, I have traveled to Montreal for business a couple of times and I recommend The Keg Steakhouse (it’s a Canadian chain with a few locations in Montreal…they have English menus and good meat). If you are into gravy smothering everything, walk into literally any local place and ask for poutine…not my thing but, it’s everywhere. Enjoy the Great North and have a safe trip home!

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

1. Success on the Montreal trip really won’t be attained until IU has success in the regular season. It is entirely possible Indiana could go 0-5 on this trip and still call it a success if it helps to build chemistry, depth and ultimately breed a season that ends somewhere in the NCAA Tournament. Beyond that, this is a tremendous chance to find out what Indiana has in the newcomers, particularly on the front line, as well as get a feel for the best way to combine its multiple perimeter talents.

2. Football dude …

P.S. – Mmmm, gravy.

MIKE: Hi, TJ. Glad to be here. We won’t realize what constitutes success on this trip until much later. I think this trip is really about seeing where everyone (and everything) fits a couple months before things really get going. I read about the Wisconsin looking back on their Canada trip last summer and saying that it was when they first realized that they could pick it up and run offensively. That was when they first started trying to tinker with that in game situations and, obviously, we saw where they were come November. I think for Indiana, the point is figuring out how to make a four-guard lineup work. They have to get guys comfortable and this is a handy way to do. Beyond the basketball games, they need to get comfortable with each other. This trip is also about building some deep camaraderie off the court. With plenty of downtime in hotels and around the city, they’ll have the opportunity to do just that.

With Wilson, this is Year 4. It’s really his team now, with a roster full of his guys. You can definitely sense there is a genuine belief in this team. I mean, just to start, this team has about as much raw talent as Indiana has seen in years (decades?). Obviously, that talent has to be refined and it could still take another season for IU to realize what their potential is under Wilson. As far as who’s looked good, I can’t really say. I’m sorry. I went to Big Ten Media Days and IU Media Day and that’s the extent of my football work so far. Andy Graham is back in Bloomington — in fact, I think he might be at practice right now — covering the team while I’m away. He’ll have some observations to pass along later, I’m sure.

Thanks for the recommendations. I need to find some poutine. Big gravy fan right here.

QUESTION: i received an email asking me if i knew anything about the report that 4 people have already turned down the womens bb coaching job (they heard that on espn radio yesterday). i have not read or heard anything to that issue…can you shed any light thanks

joni, fort wayne

JEREMY: joni,

I didn’t hear that one, or for that matter have not been able to confirm that anybody has been offered the job to this point. That said, you have seen now three coaches say they were contacted but weren’t interested in the job or took their name out of the running – Damon Bailey, Karl Smesko and Tricia Cullop. As more names come out as not being interested, it makes it look like IU is settling for whatever it can get, whether or not that’s actually the case.

However the dialogue has played out, it’s certainly not put Indiana in a good position. It’s obviously not a hire you can afford to rush, but at this time of year you do need a fairly swift resolution and a strong leader to be able to take the reins and keep everybody on the same page with just a few weeks before school starts.

I think we’ll know something soon, but then again, I thought we would know by now.

MIKE: Well, if you want to count Karl Smesko at FGCU, I guess the number I’ve heard is three, but I haven’t heard that any of them have turned down an offer. Sounds more like they’ve pulled their names from the running. With Smesko, it never sounded like he was really in the running this time, but a story came out in his local paper early this week where he detailed his interactions with IU. On Tuesday, he said he was no longer in the mix. We reported last week that Damon Bailey was not interested and SB Nation reported recently that Tricia Cullop pulled her name from consideration. As far as a fourth, I haven’t heard. So, we haven’t heard anyone turn down an offer to take the job, but we’ll continue to wait. And wait. (And wait some more.)

QUESTION: I have heard that the womens job could be a real mess…hoping that is not true but definitely more to it than just “health reasons”. Have heard that 2 different candidates were told they HAD to keep Coach Millers staff and that is part of reason that both of them declined the opportunity to coach the Hoosiers. Just wondering if there is anything new that you guys have heard. Thanks and GO HOOSIERS

coachd, Bedford

JEREMY: coachd,

There is often more to it than meets the eye in the case of resignations such as Curt Miller’s, and we’ll certainly report on it if we find out that’s the case.

As to keeping Miller’s staff, the press release on Miller’s resignation and ensuing coaching search essentially said that would be athletic director Fred Glass’ preference. However, it seems a little foolish for that to be a dealbreaker in finding the quality of coach to continue what Miller started. Now, granted, keeping the current staff in place would provide a lot of stability for the players and the program, but if there was friction between the head coach and assistants, that wouldn’t be good for anybody.

This whole thing is sort of a Catch 22 no matter which way you go, but right now no decision just might be the worst decision of all. Again, if IU gets the right person, it will sort itself out, so we’ll all wait and see.

MIKE: When an institution like Indiana chooses silence, it leaves the situation up for speculation. We’ve seen and heard plenty of that.

As far as the staff goes, I know the initial release on the coaching search said that Fred Glass would recommend that the new staff be kept. Beyond that, I’ve heard nothing as far as IU telling candidates that the staff must be kept. Obviously, it needs to be up to the coach to build a staff and a program the way they see fit. Otherwise, it’s the first step toward mismanagement.

QUESTION: The candidates being mentioned for IU’s women’s basketball coaching job seem kind of weak. Is this due to timing (being so close to the start of the season) or the perceived attractiveness of the job? I would have thought with the way that Curt Miller was building the strength of the team that there would have been a lot of strong candidates wanting the job.

Bill, Indianapolis

JEREMY: Bill,

I do think the timing of this job opening is somewhat of an issue, but I’ve heard there was a great deal of interest in the job, at least initially, as a result of what the IU women’s team did this past season and the talent returning.

But I think you have multiple issues at work that could change how people view the job: timing, money, the staff, potential extenuating circumstances and length of process.

MIKE: The time of year is definitely a factor, as you say. I mean, school is about to start. It’s a tough position for all involved. I can’t imagine a lot of coaches with quality programs would be willing to leave their current situations right now. It’s an attractive job in some regards, yes, and the Big Ten is obviously one of the best conferences in the country when it comes to women’s hoops. But you have to wonder how committed IU is to women’s basketball in the long run. Obviously, they’ve shown signs of investing money into the program over the last few seasons, with the WNIT bids last season a prime example. But you also have to remember that Curt Miller was among the lowest paid coaches in the Big Ten. If they want a home run hire, there a few things that need to go right this time. Opening the wallet, especially at this time of year, is certainly one of them.

QUESTION: Greetings all, can you provide a guess at how good chances would be that IU might land Brian Agler as the new IUWBB coach? I know that he was interested in the OSU job a couple years back. Have a great day and THANKS.

Xander, B-Town

JEREMY: Xander,

My guess is the chances aren’t very good at this point. If IU was going to hire Brian Agler, I would think they would have moved quickly to do so, as he is clearly a known commodity with his daughter on the team. I’ve not heard of any communication between Indiana and Agler this week, so that leaves one assuming IU is pursuing other options.

MIKE: Heard the name thrown around a bit, but I would be surprised if they went that route at this point. As with Indiana State’s Teri Moren, if they wanted either of them that badly, one would think they could’ve gotten them much sooner than now. Or whenever. But obviously, things could change. We’ll see.

QUESTION: Good morning and Welcome to Mike…

The obvious question is , “Is there a mystery candidate for the Women’s Basketball job?

So, far either there have been ones jumping ship or there are unimpressive names or (Dare I say it?) Purdue graduates lurking (sorry, had to take a shot at some who are against it…lol)

So, what are you hearing? Will the coach keep the momentum going?

Steve, Indianapolis

JEREMY: Steve,

That’s a great question, and one I ask myself almost every day. Just because it’s Friday, I’ll throw out one other name I heard earlier this week but haven’t been able to confirm � Albany’s Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, the former IU assistant under Felisha Legette-Jack who left in 2010.

But overall, things have been just quiet enough to make me nervous, and I’ve thought a different person was the favorite almost every day this week.

Whoever the new coach is, they will have their work cut out to keep the momentum going. I’d say things are a bit fragile at the moment.

MIKE: Thanks for the welcome, Steve. As far as a mystery candidate, that’s been my worry this week. I’ve felt like we’ve had a pretty good grasp of what’s going on, but the longer this thing drags on, the more I wonder who else might be popping up.

QUESTION: Hi guys. Preseason football question for you. Do you anticipate any make-or-break games during the football season? Like, I see a few easy wins (ISU, Purdue) but then there are games like Bowling Green thay seem to be the ones that will decide bowl or bust. Any games to keep an eye on in that sense?

Confused Frosh, Indianapolis

JEREMY: Confused Frosh,

Can’t say I’ve studied the schedule, but it seems like Bowling Green and Rutgers on the road is big, then the trio of home games against Maryland, Michigan State and Penn State all seem significant.

MIKE: Yeah, definitely. As you mention, Bowling Green is a big one, as is Maryland. Assuming wins against Indiana State and North Texas, which I somewhat hesitate to do, IU needs to pick up those early wins to stay in good shape for a bowl. I have no idea what happens with Penn State this year, so I guess that one, too, could go either way. They should also beat Rutgers, though that one is on the road. There are no gimme games outside of ISU, but if Indiana can pad their record in the first month or so with wins against Bowling Green, North Texas and Maryland, they’re going bowling. If they don’t get at least one of those three games — again, assuming ISU is an easy win — things will get interesting in early November with Michigan, Penn State and Rutgers all in a row. That stretch could prove to be huge if Indiana can’t clean up early on.

QUESTION: I’ve noticed the newly renovated Athletics parking lot on the Bypass is nearly complete. It seems to have nearly as much grass as parking surface. What’s the deal with that?

Mike, Bloomington

JEREMY: Mike,

My theory is that the grass is to accommodate the tailgaters, but that’s all I’ve got. We’ll check into it.

MIKE: I was kind of wondering that myself. I don’t have any insight to the planning and construction, or anything, but I’m sure we’ll have a story coming in the next few weeks.

MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us today and for giving a Scoop welcome to Mike. Busy day and weekend ahead so be sure to follow The Hoosier Scoop blog and/or app.

Mike, Jeremy: Thanks for your time. What else should we know before we say goodbye?

JEREMY: Mike’s got full coverage of men’s basketball and Montreal, and I’m standing by should anything break on the women’s basketball coaching search, plus plenty of updates from Andy Graham and Jon Blau from IU football. Hang with us.

MIKE: Yes, thank you all again for the welcome. I’m glad to be here. As I mentioned earlier, I’m in Montreal for the next six days for the men’s basketball trip. Hopefully, by the time we speak next week, I hope to bring you plenty of basketball insights and my review of poutine. Meantime, hang with us on the Scoop. That’s the best place to keep up with IU basketball the next six days. I’ll also be tweeting updates, so follow me on Twitter at @MikeMillerHT. Thanks, everybody. See you next week.