IU coach Mike Woodson hires former Hoosiers star Dane Fife as assistant

Report from Indy Star’s Zach Osterman:

IU men’s basketball coach Mike Woodson will stay in the family to fill at least one position on his coaching staff, hiring former Hoosier Dane Fife away from Michigan State.

IndyStar confirmed Woodson’s intentions via a source familiar with the situation Monday. It’s not yet clear precisely what Fife’s title will be.

Fife brings with him both an intimate knowledge of IU basketball — he was a key figure in the Hoosiers’ run to the 2002 NCAA championship game — and also a distinctive blend of head-coaching and Big Ten experience. Fife served on Mike Davis’ staff from 2003-05 before taking the head job at what is now Purdue Fort Wayne. He spent six years there before joining Tom Izzo’s staff in East Lansing, where he’s been a part of four Big Ten title-winning teams, and two runs to the Final Four.

Fife’s hiring is expected to be officially announced soon.

72 comments

  1. This is fantastic.

    I have to say, that I’m just completely taken aback at how shrewd and wonderful this hire has been. The layers just keep peeling away and there’s more and more goodness at each turn. If anyone would have said that there would be a program that consisted of Woodson, Matta AND Fife, they would have been run out of town.

    Thrilled that Dane is coming home. He looks much better in Cream and Crimson.

  2. And Lander is staying.

    Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish were outright mocking Indiana two weeks ago. Gary Parrish wrote a lengthy article about Indiana paying $10 million to make itself worse.

    You can see how the national media isn’t about shedding light and bringing insight to situations. These clowns know very little about the sport, seem to have major biases and are almost always wrong.

    Go Hoosiers!

  3. Welcome back prodigal son. Many have forgotten his role in helping take the H’s to the finals 19 years ago. One of the acknowledged better recruiters in the midwest. My guess is that he will be named associate head coach,…and is coming as the heir apparent. This staff (yet to be completed) is already one of the more formidable in the country. These ARE THE INDIANA HOOSIERS,..again! Not only that, but listening to Woodson, …in an inadvertant tribute to Branch McCracken…likely the ‘hurryin’ Hoosiers’.

  4. I won’t hold it against Fife..but we landed a previous genius who worked under Izzo. Brad, how quickly you forget.
    Fife nearly cost us one of the greatest come from behind games in Hoosier history because of a gargantuan mental error. Thank god for AJ Moye and a blocked shot for the ages.

    https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/hoosiertimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/8b/f8b4aca6-6a67-11ea-b064-ffa92804a8fb/5e744eb85c042.image.jpg?resize=434%2C600

    We now have three guys on the payroll who all had their names thrown around as new head coaches to replace Archie. If this gets effed up, it will be known as the cluster___k of all-time.

    So many of last year’s members of our roster were being viciously thrown under the bus….I find it odd how there is now so much joy in nearly all committed to returning. It certainly stabilizes things, but where is the talent upgrade?

      1. Yes, in the same fashion most of you thought Archie could cut five mediocre holdovers and upgrade in an eye blink.

        And merely repeating how many of you kept iterating how some of our roster wasn’t division one quality. I won’t name names….but, particularly, one of our guards.

        1. The guard you’re referring to, unless he’s able to overcome his concussion symptoms, will not be a part of the rotation at IU. There are others that will require playmaking upgrades or they too, will be major contributors to the ‘practice squad’. The roster, as it stands has 3, possibly 4 people that this new coaching staff would have even recruited.

          1. It was Double Down who provided the information regarding prolonged concussion symptoms. Most others were merely claiming he was another hampered improvement due to coaching inadequacies and not a D-1 level recruit.
            Show me a post during the season where you mention the “concussion symptoms” of the said player. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve mentioned it.

            Personally, I’m not wholly convinced his issues are only related to concussions from the 2019-20 season. That doesn’t excuse the vicious comments and the skewed intentions to lump all problems on the team into lack of player development.

          2. I would also add that every coach has his “misses.” Knight had plenty…and plenty he eventually forced off the team…including Neil Reed, Jason Collier, Delray Brooks to name a few.
            Archie’s greatest flaw may have been simply being too nice of a guy. He honored the scholarships of all holdovers (keeping everything from big-headed hot dogs to Tim Priller)…and he didn’t shove his own “misses” off the team. But in his defense, these are very tricky times…and he was handcuffed by Fred’s athletes ‘Bill of Rights.’ My guess is that Dolson will either tear up the document or not hold Woodson to the same level of protecting holdovers as Archie was expected/demanded to see Crean’s recruits to the final finish line.

            Sort of brings me back to how many like to think a Knight disciple means the same coaching traits. Knight was pretty damn ruthless. He would have seen a ‘Bill of Rights’ to hold a poor performer or “holdover” on a roster as toilet paper.
            Matta and Fife…? I do see a bit of ruthlessness in their DNA. Woodson? Not sure…He always seemed more of a passive personality as a player.

  5. I read a recent college BB piece that said Fife would be an ideal candidate and more than willing to return home in part because he’s not considered the successor to Izzo. So I have to assume that if IU is successful under Woody, Fife will be a candidate to replace Woody when he retires. And given that Woody is 63, that could be in 4 to six years. Plenty of time for Fife to get more polish and learn from an NBA coach.

    Again, passion is a key ingredient to being successful at any endeavor, and we all know that Fife will be very passionate about returning to IU and helping our storied program win again.

  6. Well, the talent on the team will presumably get better as last year’s Freshmen and Sophomores mature. Plus the portal at large is still very much wide open, so there is talent to be had. A healthy Brunk will help in the middle. Stewart should help at guard. I think the Hoosiers are shaping up just fine, and believe they will improve with the new coaching staff. There are plenty of reasons for joy over the prospects of next year’s team.

    1. Not spinning it negative….But don’t change history with regard to our last run to a Final Four. Fife nearly cost us the game against #1 Duke. It would have ranked higher than Chris Weber trying to take a timeout when none were left. That’s why Howard is their coach.

      1. Hmmm. Hubert Davis,..a 9 year assistant with Williams, and NO head coaching experience sounds like Fife ‘lite’. Big UNC opting for a loyal, unproven assistant. As for the MSU/Izzo/Crean/Fife comparisons. Crean had a ‘drink of water’ at MSU vefore taking the Central Michigan then Marquette gigs. Ine other major difference, Fife had a notable playing career while Crean never played varsity ball.

        1. Maybe true, Brad. But, my gosh, it was sure a love fest when they played each other, I continually send my blessings to Izzo for all the visuals and personal endorsements forever acting as the ultimate referral for a charlatan. Throw Michigan’s football coach in there as well.
          Every time we hosted MSU (Izzo) …or Michigan (Harbaughs), it was hugs and kisses and Hallmark cards from the big names in basketball and football providing the creepy brother-in-law a place to make home via their expert referral….Lol. It was like killing two birds with one stone….Find a home for the creepy bro-in-law…and destroy Indiana Basketball.

          Did you know Izzo’s nephew was at Georgia Basketball when Crean got the Georgia job? He left about a week later.

          1. No I didn’t. As for a certain point guard,..if continuing ramifications from a concussion aren’t the reason for his performance, then he simply won’t see minute one in a regular game. This isn’t Little League Baseball.

  7. I always believed they would get better year by year (Franklin and Thompson had already improved immensely)…Both had unfortunate injuries down the stretch of the season.

    It’s like saying Howard didn’t develop Livers…..and that’s why Michigan is not in the Final Four. Many change history to fit their narratives. Livers absence from Michigan’s roster was never given much of any mention by those experts at the CBS round table. The same UCLA that took Gonzaga to overtime (should have won had they not blundered their final possession) barely got by a Michigan team absent one of their top talents.

    Some act like Archie failed because he couldn’t develop talent. Smith transferred. He didn’t have Brunk. He didn’t have Franklin for many games down the stretch. We finished down the stretch with a banged up Franklin and Thompson. Saying they weren’t developed is just bunk…(not Brunk).

      1. Well, the talent on the team will presumably get better as last year’s Freshmen and Sophomores mature.

        That’s the point. It’s your quote I’m building off …so I guess it’s you who cares. I said exactly the same thing all season while others on here spouted their narratives and attempted to claim it was simply a case of poor teaching. Guys need minutes and time to mature. And they need to, hopefully, avoid injury…while working on maturing and expanding their skills.

        1. Harv: Here’s an angle that you have conveniently omitted in your defense of shorty. His inability to give depth to his teams by consistantly ‘whiffing’ on top prospects forced him to play youngsters that weren’t ready. It exposed the kids, him and the teams
          ultimate demise.

          1. I don’t know what top prospects Archie whiffed on…Crean whiffed on many in the state (Harris, Dawson, McGary, Randolph, Robinson, Lyles, Nic Moore…to name just a few scrubs). And then he loaded up the bench with A-Hope toe-trippers after missing on the top guys. Yet, we found a way to keep the guy nine years.

            Archie had three years of dealing with holdovers. I’m amazed the better recruits he miraculously landed despite our empty cupboard (including 3 Mr. Basketball winners) . Archie was shackled to some very low quality holdovers…You really want to talk about Division 2? ….And as soon as some of those shackles began to come off, a pandemic hits.

            Hopefully it all works out for Woody. Ironic… We just hire a Knight disciple and ESPN decides to run a 30 for 30 tonight covering the final years of Knight. Man, those Neil Reed segments in the program/documentary were gut-wrenching.

      2. PAC: Amen! A certain person’s endless themed posts of the irrelevant past have become like an adult bird returning to the nest with a stomachful of worms for the fledglings. Yuk.

        1. I have very little affinity for the past….and that’s why I’ve never beaten the drum for Knight disciples to ever have the reins to the program It’s you boys who want Fife…and other ex-Hoosiers from long ago still strutting around campus.
          I was hoping for a new look for the school. I hoped for that before we hired the bozo and stayed shackled to him for nine years.

          We all have a certain amount of nostalgia in our Hoosier bloodlines….but that’s where it stops with me. I don’t feel the need of nostalgia to hogtie us to Knight disciples for the next quarter century. I wanted to move on from everything Knight. It was time to move on.

    1. Harv: Your affinity for past, obvious incompetence is rather notable. Let’s put it this way,..I watched most of the past weekends state high school championship games. EVERY team was fundamentally more sound and actually shot the ball more accurately. No one went 2 of 16 at the foul line in the second half. Finally, they were fun to watch which is more than anyone can say about IU’s team last year.

      1. Harv: Your affinity for past, obvious incompetence is rather notable.

        Yes, you are correct, Bradley. You’re too much, man. That is why I was such a huge Tom Crean fan. Lol.

    1. Yeah,..the Zags didn’t do anything out of conference. Had their regular season game with Baylor canceled,…beat Kansas by 12, Auburn by 33, WVA by 5, Iowa by 11, Virginia by 23, BYU by 27…then Oklahoma by 16, Creighton by 18, USC by 19 and UCLA at the buzzer. Weak schedule indeed!

  8. Yeah, Baylor did more mopping than the Mop Lady.

    Winning plays? Baylor ‘drew’ up a ‘few.’

    Jokes aside….Mark Few is a class act. Super-nice guy who doesn’t seem to have an arrogant bone in his body.

    I find it somewhat insincere that sportswriters/announcers/analysts fail to mention the fact that there was only a 32 field tournament in 1976. You had to win five games rather than six to go all the way to a championship win. The field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Very difficult to win six straight without a stumble against top competition.
    We need a bit more honesty when making these comparisons.

    1. True,..,but. In order to even play, you had to win your conference. There were no ridiculous ‘conference tournaments’.
      While we’re at it, let’s void any national champion prior to the money driven expanded field. That would void all champions for the first 46 years. While we’re at it, let’s have a jump ball after every basket,….narrow the key back to 6′ and drop thenthree point line. Don’t forget,..a handful of years with no dunking.

  9. Would you rather have Franklin or Fife….? I have a hunch MSU is one of the teams going very hard at Franklin. And OSU seems like a perfect fit for Thompson. Izzo and Holtmann are pickpocket artists.
    Maybe that was the deal…?
    MSU: We’ll give you Fife for Franklin.
    OSU: Sure, ask Thad all you want. Just give us Race Thompson.

    1. Mr. Dolson “grew up” as one of Bob Knight’s Team Managers. Huge advantage in building one’s foundation for athletic leadership. But as excited as we all are now, only time will tell if Dolson’s architecture will meet our expectations. So far, everything I’ve heard, read or learned about Woody and his staff gives me confidence and optimism. No one doubts his ability to develop talent, so it will boil down to his ability to recruit enough of the right talent. Woody has to be ruthless in rejecting any attempts to restrict his staff’s ability to recruit the most talented players in the country. Forget the parochial “Inside/Out” recruiting policy and ignore any fans who get their panties is a wad unless every recruiting class includes Indiana’s Mr. Basketball. “Hoosiers by choice” are just as important as “Hoosiers by birth,” and given the relatively small population of the state of Indiana, Woody must reject any attempt to limit the size of his recruiting net. I don’t see anyone criticizing Tom Allen for signing kids from Georgia and Florida!

      1. Wasn’t too long ago when I read an article listing Indiana as the state with the highest per capita ranking of placing basketball players in the NBA. Based on per capita, it wasn’t even close.

        The state has a plethora of top talent. Inside-out was never the problem. The problem is who we’re trusting with influencing the process and evaluating the talent. And, possibly, way too much in the form of ‘arrangement’ or ‘favors’ with certain AAU programs. Inside-out doesn’t mean getting shackled with 5 A-Hope toe-trippers to get one quality recruit. The arrangements with Adams set us back six years….because it limited Crean to go after the better talent in the state.

        I would also argue that the evaluation of a “Mr. Basketball” has changed from the day Knight was placing integral homegrown Hoosiers on the roster. Multi-class h.s. basketball has also muddied the waters when evaluating the “weight” behind the Mr. Basketball award.

        1. Multi-Class basketball has changed the look of the sport in Indiana. Venture to say it is here to stay. What looks like an easy fix – A ‘super final’ ? After the class champion is determined a couple more games to decide which school is the State of Indiana Champion. Process may erode some of the excitement/luster of a class win but overall maybe enhance high school sports ??

          1. Indiana has already done that at one time span in multi class basketball where lower class state champ played higher class state champ. Besides locals, does anyone ever remember any significance of hardly any class champs in both, football or basketball. Probably, remember more so in football but except for largest class the lower classes can usually go back (maybe with a couple exceptions) to their small community heroics and pretend they are the greatest.

          2. Ron: Good point. What has evolved is the diminishing actual value of kids’ basketball skills not competing in the ‘big school’ category. The assumption too often is if you play at a place like Kurtz or Barr-Reeve you can’t play at the D1 level. Too many kids getting overlooked.

          3. I played on a state championship baseball team that was at the time the smallest school to win a state baseball title. Little Wabash High School defeated Marion High School in the championship. Defeated big school Laporte in the final four when they dominated high school baseball. They had just won 5 out of the last 6 state titles. Had to beat big schools like Huntington North, Logansport and Roncalli to even get to the final four. This was 1986. I don’t think it would have meant as much if it was a class championship.

  10. I have a question– I read where Mike Roberts was helping to recruit those in the portal. While he is a hold over from Archie Miller he “studied” under Bob Knight as well at Texas Tech. As a “holdover” is it assumed that he will continue as Asst Coach or does he need to be Re-Hired?

  11. Looks like the Miller Brothers can now and coach together somewhere. Sean out at AZ. In this cancel culture we currently live in does Sean get another shot with the Adidas baggage he is carrying around?

  12. I had some posts many months ago concerning Sean’s alleged misdeeds. I contemplated if those misdeeds would cast a shadow upon his brother…Makes one wonder. Timing is interesting.

  13. Not a bad life to choose tropical island, ski slope, mountains, beach, city, or any number of places and go back to work of an agreeable choosing.

      1. Yes, that would work. It’s been awhile that I remember listening to this song. Though I may have heard it on one of the old rock stations more recently.

  14. Podunker says:
    September 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm
    I would be shocked if Arizona punished Miller beyond a slap on the wrist for “not knowing.” And if the NCAA tries to make Miller a scape goat without any evidence of his personal wrong-doing, my guess is, given that he has the means, he will fight them to protect his reputation and his family’s name.

    Took four years to slap a wrist. The slap on the wrist for Sean took more time than Archie had to develop a roster with his own upperclassmen. When it comes to the true corruption in college basketball, there is zero tolerance for expediency. You’re next, Self.
    Sort of funny….and rather ironic while going back into the Scoop time capsule.

  15. For a true perspective on the Miller canning (now his brother for real or perceived violations),..think how things would look if Dolson didn’t do what he did. Bleak doesn’t begin to describe it.

  16. Should rename Fee Lane to Bleak Street….or Guillotine Ave? 17th and Bleak has a nice ring to it.

    I would like to begin a Top-10 of “short” Archie jokes just for Brad…

    10. Every time Archie gets in his car it’s a short trip.

  17. 9. In an attempt to repair his shattered ego, it was reported Archie was hoping to fill the coaching vacancy at Utah. (you tall).

  18. 8. “Is it Miller time?”…..was actually started by Archie’s mom. It was the title for his childhood growth chart.

    7. Archie actually turned down an extension from Dolson….saying “Stilts is just insulting.”

  19. 5. Archie’s idea of a king size mattress is sleeping perpendicularly on a twin.

    4. All of Archie’s shorts are known as Bermuda.

  20. 3. Archie has childhood memories of living across from the factory producing various Scotts Roundup weed killers….”He’s growing like a weed” faced harsh local opposition.

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