Starkey jumps from D-II to coach at IU

When Teri Moren and her newly assembled staff met with the media Wednesday, Todd Starkey was by far the newest face in the room.

He drove up from North Carolina Tuesday, where he had been the head coach of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University. The winningest coach in that program’s history, he started 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as an assistant coach at Indiana, with a whole new group of players and coaches.

He met his first half-dozen players while filling out paperwork for the human resources department. He doesn’t have a place to live yet, either.

“Going to have some temporary housing for the first couple months while trying to get my feet under me,” Starkey said, “or I’ll get a cot in the office and I’ll figure it out.”

Starkey comes to Moren’s staff with some credentials. In nine season at Lenoir-Rhyne, Starkey had a 165-95 record and was a four-time Southern Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year. Last year, he coached his squad to a 24-7 record and a third regular season championship.

Because Moren and Starkey had no previous run-ins, Starkey did say the call from Moren was a little “out of the blue.” They did have a mutual friend in Toledo coach Tricia Cullop, because Cullop and Starkey served on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association board of directors during the 2013-14 academic year. Collup and Moren both played at Purdue, and Collup was also a candidate for the head coaching job at IU after Curt Miller resigned.

While Starkey is leaving a successful program at Lenoir-Rhyne, he said he felt it was best to leave on his own terms, with the program at its best. His former associate head coach, Katie Pate, will take over.

IU also had its own appeal for Starkey and his family. Starkey’s brother and father both earned master’s degrees at IU. His mother and father met on IU’s campus in 1966. He runs down a list of notable IU basketball names he reveres, including Bob Knight, Steve Alford and Keith Smart, ending with Uwe Blab, a German 7-footer who played at IU from 1981-85 and was picked 17th overall in the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks.

“Most people don’t know that name, but I remember that name from my childhood,” Starkey said of Blab. “Indiana basketball has always been huge for me so the opportunity to be here, I don’t think I’ve quite come to grips with it yet. It’s starting to sink in.”

Being so new, Starkey was blunt about the fact that he doesn’t know much about his new players. In conversations with Moren during the interview process, they talked about pushing the ball in transition and scoring early in the shot clock, playing man defense rather than zone, but Starkey said a lot will depend on how the personnel fits with those concepts.

“I think we both want to be efficient. We don’t want to put things in to put them in because we think they are good. We want to make sure we evaluate what we have here and what we can use to be effective on the court with,” Starkey said. “That will take a little bit of time, but as coaches we’ve learned to become adaptable and that’s one of the greatest qualities in a coach, is to be adaptable.”