Dakich says “there’s no question” he should remain head coach

At the end of Indiana’s post-game press conference after its NCAA Tournament loss to Arkansas, Dan Dakich was asked if he wanted to make his case on why he should remain Indiana’s head coach. Here is his lengthy reply:

“There’s no question I should be. I understand there’s a culture at Indiana, given the timing of all this. There’s a lot of things transpiring behind the scenes with where the program has to go, and it has to be somebody that understands it. Or else you’re going to get yourself in a situation, just like we are.

“You know, the basketball part of this, this was a difficult situation to be in in the basketball part of it. But then you know what, that’s life. People are in far more difficult situations that I am.

“And just because you understand the culture doesn’t mean that you should be the head coach at Indiana University, but the passion, the desire to do things right, academically, socially, on the court, style of play, all are things that are absolutely what would happen if I become the head basketball coach at Indiana over the course of time. It’s just the way it is. When I was at Bowling Green, we won more in my first four years than since the guy they named the gym after was playing triple-headers in the same day I think against two women’s teams and a CYO team; and then injury and a variety of things kind of curtailed things.

But that’s what needs to happen here. This needs to be built. This needs to be built with a foundation of discipline and accountability. This needs to be built back to where there is a real pride among the people that know everything that’s going on in the basketball program; where there are former players that come and have pride in what is happening here in the program. And that can certainly happen with a lot of people, but I’m just telling you, given the climate, the culture, what’s happening right now, it has to be somebody that understands it, or else you’re going to face — I’m just telling you.

This is something I don’t wonder about. This something I know, period. At this particular time, there’s a lot of things that need to be done to make Indiana an elite program in all areas.

And that has begun. I mean a lot of that has begun right now over the last three weeks, and it’s going to continue as long as I’m the basketball coach. And I’m sure people can write a thousands reasons given record here over the last month why there’s somebody else, biggest name, whatever.

But what I’m telling you is a fact. I mean, it’s not conjecture. It’s not something drawn up by somebody that doesn’t know. I’m just telling you the culture right now lends itself to exactly what is going on here to get this right for the way Indiana people, Indiana fans, the Indiana nation wants it done right; where there’s no embarrassment; there nothing but pride in all areas. And that’s something that has to happen at IU. It doesn’t have to happen everywhere, but it has to happen at Indiana University. That’s how Indiana University conducts its business, especially in the basketball program.

Criticize it, say it’s wrong, criticize individuals, say it’s wrong all you want, but that’s certainly part of being an Indiana coach and an Indiana basketball player. But I’m just telling you, there is a pride and a way that’s bigger than whether you win or lose games, and that takes care of itself at IU but you have to do things in a certain way, you have to do them right and you have to do them with people that care and you have to bring in former players — the whole environment of what made it great, whether it was the ’40 National Championship, the ’53 National Championship, the ’76 National Championship, but this is one of the programs where it absolutely has to be. It’s not a program where maybe yes, maybe no; it has to be here at Indiana, and that’s what makes it great.

(Smile) I don’t know if that answers your question.


  1. Dakich might be a great guy — I have no idea, but he can’t coach worth a freakin’ lick. I feel sorry for him, because this was his dream job, and he’s just not qualified to coach Indiana basketball.

    Had Sampson not been in trouble with phone calls, this team would be strolling into the Sweet 16. Sampson had most of the IU nation behind him before his run in with the phone calls. It’s unfortunate what went down, but Sampson clearly showed an outsider could succeed at IU.

    IU just needs to go hire a good basketball coach, and they’ll be fine. Dakich is clearly not the guy. Just look at the team’s performance under him — he had no idea how to motivate them. And his teams played some of the worst defense I’ve ever seen.

  2. That’s some answer. Dan should run for Director of Basketball Operations. I feel he’d serve the university well in that capacity.

  3. Maybe in that aspect, but that is it. His old talk about what he is trying to get it does not work anymore.The old days are over.We need a big time guy who can coach. Sorry Dan.

  4. Sampson took a potential final four team and sold them down the river. His lack of ethics is what sunk this team. He should be ashamed of what he did to these fine young men. IU was foolish to have brought him on with his existing trend of behavior. With that said, he did show us that a “big time” coach makes a difference. IU’s timing to announce they were starting a search for a new coach was irresponsible and just shows how out of touch the administration is. They are also responsible for subverting the team’s desire and motivation for the tournament. Anyway IU basketball is screwed for at least 2 more years. Let’s find a repretable coach who will return the integrity of the school, fight hard for Indiana born players and other top national HS players, institute today’s type game, put the players first, exhibit exceptional behavior and will be around for awhile. Dakich is not that man, he showed he did not have the ability to connect with these young men and lift them out of a terrible circumstance that was not their fault. A coach needs to be an exceptional motivator and connect with the players. Dan’s old school BK approach just won’t cut it. Sorry Dan, you’re a nice guy and red to the core. You need to be in administration and on the committee to hire tne next coach but not the next coach.

  5. You’re right DD…Athletic Director might be a good fit. The only problem is that he has rubbed me the wrong way by going 3-4 with this team that was 17-1 at one point. I know we played a weak schedule most of the year, but you can’t deny that this team had the talent to at the very least, make the sweet 16. Another lackluster performance tonight…no offense and DEFINITELY no D. Loved how Dakich was too proud to play anything but man to man and then brought out a whole new zone in the 1st round of the tourney. Just a bad coaching job…these guys were unmotivated and I don’t think cared. EG needs to get out of here so we can have a team again. I think that Bracey Wright was just a good of a player as EG…in fact Bracey might have had a better freshman year…definitely know that their shot selection is identical!

  6. uh………what Dan? A bit of a ramble and not exactly the best podium to talk about this issue. Why give an answer like that after a miserable (but predictable) loss? I read it three times and I still cannot follow what he is saying.

  7. Been doing some digging…for all of those people that are in love with Eric Gordon, I submit you a comparison of Bracey Wright and Eric Gordon during their freshman seasons……..

    Gordon….FG%-43.3%(184-425), 3pt%-33.7%(70-208), FT%-83.4%(231-277), 20.9 pts/game, 78assists-115to’s(1.5 turnover to assist ratio)

    Wright….FG%-43.3%(157-363), 3pt%-37.5%(66-176), FT%-75.2%(106-141), 16.2 pts/game, 64 assists-63to’s (basically 1 to 1 turnover to assist ratio)

    So, Gordon has him on points and free throw percentage but that is it. In fact, when it counted in tournament play, Gordon is 10-18 from the foul line for an amazing 55%. Sure Gordon has more “potential” than Bracey, but stats don’t lie and there they are to smack anyone in the face that doesn’t believe it!

  8. #2fan, you are precisely on-target. I, too, wish Eric Gordon good luck in the NBA—he’ll need it! If–by some quirk of fate–he should stick around at IU another year, the new coach will need to have a long, detailed sitdown with him about team play and fundamentals of ball handling and shooting, so that his physical abilities can benefit the team.

  9. DD is living in the past again talking about his first four years at BG. What about his last four years. I read that four of five years were losing seasons. The IU basket ball team will be better off w/o EG. He has not learned to be a team player. He has the talent but I don’t be lieve he has the inner drive to become a great player. Didn’t John Wooden say that a great player makes the other players better.
    I like to be upbeat but I see nothing but gloom and dispair for IU basket ball the next few years.
    Somewhere someone is trying to ruin the tradition
    at Indiana and they are doing a pretty good job of
    getting it done.

  10. You need to give EJ a break. This talk is so predictable. When collegiate athletes are doing well you worship them….when they falter you crucify them. He is just a freshman. Hyped or not he needs time to adjust. He is not ready for the NBA. Your venom needs to be redirected toward the administration where the root of this disastrous end to a promising season resides. If you count Sampson’s hiring as a mistake, not dealing seriously with the second round of infractions, not having a serious compliance program in place to nip potential future infractions in the bud before they became an issue (give me a break, an intern caught the discrepancy), poor handling of the NCAA report such that the media had to do a FOIA request to get a copy, firing Sampson after a “seven day investigation”, when the NCAA gave them 60 days to resolve it, and announcing a head coach search committee right before the tournament, that makes six major mistakes. Guess what, Rick Greenspan, and the vast majority of the Athletic department are still at the helm. How unfortunate is that. IU only gave Sampson second chance. The administration has been given six chances to get it right. Why haven’t they been able to right a sinking athletic program, because they haven’t exercised good leadership. The problem is that leadership sometimes requires making thoughtful and carefully weighed unpopular decisions so that the best interest of the University are protected. Knee jerk reactions to defend against a hail storm of public criticism never results in anything good. That is what this administration has done on more than one occasion. That is not good leadership. IU gives people a second chance all the time, and I applaud my alma mater for that. It is wise not to write someone off because of a single act or a couple acts of poor judgment. Everyone makes mistakes. It is when an individual demonstrates a habitual tendency toward error that is when one becomes a liability (i.e. an obstinate refusal to change). I am not convinced that is what Coach Sampson did, but I am giving myself a chance to carefully review the evidence before I pass judgment on him. That isn’t the problem. It is a problem when we set them up to fail because we take fore granted the circumstances under which we brought them in under. That is our fault not theirs. Contrast Sampson’s mistakes (being overzealous in seeking recruits, he is not alone in this behavior, his program was just under the microscope. I cannot speak to the “inconsistent comments” he allegedly made) against the administrations actions in addressing this issue which has been for the most part transparent, accepting the appearance of trying to hide the NCAA report from the media for as long as they could. On more than one occasion the administration played the public relations game and lost. PR is important but it is usually an end result of good internal policies and actions and not a means and end, in and of itself. I am not naïve so much as to be ignorant of the fact that money is what drives most of what any public or private institution does. Donors are important and we are all aware of the fact that we are in the midst of a major capital improvement fund drive (equivalent to tens of millions of dollars). Donors typically don’t give money without some strings attached. That is understandable and we are grateful for their donation. However as much as the donations are appreciated the administration is ultimately responsible for defending the interest of the University. It pains me to say this becuase I want to believe that the administration can change and get it right but I feel the administration has recently failed IU numerous times in what has become a public relations disaster. Something needs to change. Good luck IU the alum are behind you.

    Valley Forge

    I appreciate what Dan Dakich has tried to do, but I agree with the others, Dan is not the right fit for IU’s head coaching position.

  11. I wish Dan the best of luck, but his response does not identify with what we’ve seen the program become since he has been head coach. This is the most talented team Dan will ever has the chance to coach; and his performance was forgettable.

    I wish Eric Gordon the best of luck as well, but his performance of late has been nothing less than selfish. Perhaps is was DD he insisted he continue to try and be the team’s savior. It wasn’t necessary with the other talent on the floor.

    We have one of the most storied men’s BB programs in the NCAA. I don’t think the best for the program necessarily means hiring someone who has a history with that program. North Carolina tried this with Brad Daugherty and the result was miserable. Then they went out and hired the best college basketball coach available. Within 2 years they had a national title. IU should do the same and make sure Sean Miller with Xavier is our next head coach.

  12. Valley Forge….first of all it is EG..not EJ…not eric james..his last name is GORDON! Second of all you make no valid point whatsoever but managed to take up more room than anyone. You basically just summarized everything that everyone already knew for the past few months. Maybe you should join the HT…haha

  13. Also, I wish I lived in the same fantasy world that Dakich lives in. Must be nice to not have to face reality everyday! Peter Pan is probably his closest friend!

  14. actually #2fan, it is EJ – for Eric Jr. i guess you missed that bit of trivia this entire season.

  15. so you are making up nicknames now? Do we call DJ for d jr? I mean how ignorant can you be? I guess Jeff Jordan would be JJJ? Come on! Sorry I am more concerned with basketball than making up nicknames that don’t make sense

  16. #2Fan, nobody is “making up” nicknames. “EJ” is simply what Eric Gordon’s family and friends call him. It actually is a little shocking to discover somebody who follows Hoosier basketball to any degree just learning this at the end of March.

  17. I have no coaching experience; however I would love to be named head coach then I would be set.
    Just think how much I would get to not coach. Isn’t this the norm anymore at IU?

  18. #2 fan. His nickname has always been EJ. If you followed any of our players careers you would know that. Pathetic fan.

  19. Jon, It was Matt Doherty that UNC hired not Brad Daugherty. Doherty was hired away from Notre Dame. Brad, coincidently, is my neighbor in Fairview, NC. Although I don’t know him I see him a lot (it’s a small town and he’s a big guy). He became an analyst for ESPN when he retired from the Cavs.

  20. He’s been called EJ for Eric Jr. all season. #2, you should really pay attention if you are gonna try to call people out on semantics.

  21. You also mentioned UNC hired the “best coach available”. By “available” you must mean that he was under a long term contract with Kansas that he skipped out on, as they all do. To be “available” in college coaching simply means they a willing to relocate.

  22. Eric Gordon is clearly not ready to leave college. period. if he does, he may quickly find himself playing in the NBDL or in Europe. Sorry Eric.

  23. Ryan K…still waiting for a comment that pertains to Indiana basketball from you. What kind of a fan are you to just get on here and call people idiots rather than contribute real information.

  24. #2fan may have gotten sidetracked on Eric Gordon’s nickname/initials, but his earlier points are valid. And, I’ts really not Gordon’s fault his focus was too much on himself and not on team play–heck, the entire sports media has been telling him he’s the 2nd coming of JC since he was barely out of diapers!

  25. haha, you’re a riot #2fan! i believe the fact that i am able to recognize that EJ is Gordon’s nickname does indeed pertain to Indiana basketball. and i cliam you are an idiot to claim that i made up his nickname or that i use false logic by saying he is indeed EJ. i further claim you are an idiot because instead of being a man and admitting you are wrong, you are choosing to call me out.

    you want a comment that pertains to indiana basketball? how about this – ‘fans know Gordon’s nickname is EJ and only an idiot would waste time saying it is not’ i tried contributing real information after your rant regarding EJ not being his nickname. but i guess you’re idiocy prevented you from comprehending that.

    but again, you’re an idiot. a big idiot. biggest idiot EVER!

    and while i’m at it – you’re an idiot #2fan.

  26. I’ll admit that EJ has struggled lately, but you have to remember he is only a freshman. If he was any other freshman in IU history we would be saying, “Man, he is going to be a great player by the time he is a senior”, but instead everyone is criticizing him and saying that we will be better off without him. Does he make bad decisions? Yes. Does he take bad shots? Yes. Could his ballhandling use some work? Yes. Does he make his teammates better on a regular basis? No. How exactly does that make him any different than any other freshman in the country, this year or any year? For those of you who don’t actually watch basketball and instead just post stupid messages on here and other boards, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Typically, with good coaching, most players are better in their second, third and fourth years than they are when they are a freshman. I have no doubt that the same would hold true with EJ.

    Which brings up my next point. EJ will probably leave after this year to make a ton of money in the NBA. It is this fact, which I believe is why everyone is being so harsh with him. They know he is leaving so they feel like it is ok to bash him because he has flaws in his game. If we knew with 100% certainty that he was going to come back for one more year, would you still say that he is selfish, point out his flaws and say that we are better off without him? I highly, highly doubt it. And if you do, then you are a fool. I think we would probably be pointing out all of the positives and be looking forward to the next year and his growth as a player.

    Finally, please don’t bring up the Bracey Wright comparisons because Bracey had nowhere near the talent and POTENTIAL that EJ does. He could not drive the ball and get to the rim like EJ can, he was not near as quick as EJ, and did not have the potential to be a defensive stopper like EJ does. Wake up people and realize that with EJ we have (had) a special, but raw talent and wasted it thanks to Coach Sampson and Senderoff.

  27. Brad – Maybe you should watch some basketball.

    Who do you want to talk about making their teams better as a freshman?

    Lets start with Greg Oden, or his team mate Mike Conley Jr., they went to the final 4 then both in the NBA lottery. They made their team better when they were on the floor, all season long, oh yeah, they were freshman.

    Who else? How about Kevin Durant? Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year and the Naismith Player of the Year as a freshman, made his team better without a doubt.

    How about this year? Ever heard of a kid named Michael Beasley (Beastley)? He is the Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year, and one of the finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year, fyi, he is a freshman.

    Maybe you want to look at Derrick Rose from Memphis? How about O.J. Mayo from USC?

    There is 6 examples of freshman in the last 2 years that make their team that much better, and they understand and play team ball. All of them are far better players than EJ.

    As far as what Dan has to say, he is on the money. This is not another coaching job, this is one of the premier programs in the nation. We need a coach that understands the traditions, embraces the ethics and accountability the program has always stood for, and someone that realizes we measure success in our program in three ways, the 1st is graduating players, the 2nd is Championships, and the 3rd is doing it all with NO violations of the NCAA rules!!!

    I don’t know who that coach might be, but that is the kind of coach we need.

  28. Dan tried his hardest. I believe that he cares a lot for IU Ball. But he is WAY OVER HIS HEAD in this job. People need to wake up! We don’t need a player from yesterday. We need a TOP COACH and RECRUITER! Let’s bet Bruce Pearl or Billy Donnovan. If we are truely a top 5 program (which we no longer are) then we should get a top 5 coach NOW! PS: GORDON WILL BE SORRY IF HE TRYS TO GO PRO…SEE: JAY EDWARDS, BRACEY WRIGHT, JARED JEFFERIES AND THE CENTER THAT KNIGHT TOLD TO LEAVE WHEN HE WAS CANNED! GO IU!

  29. Brad…look above at the comparisons between Bracey and EJ’s(happy Ryan K?) freshman year. You can say he has more potential all you want but stats don’t lie! Jared Jeffries probably had potential at one time too…look where he is at? Actually Jeffries is in a good situation, someone is paying him too much money to just sit there and watch most of the time…so I guess really Jeffries made out like a bandit. Regardless Bracey played on a team that was full of seniors and he had a small role but still put up better stats than Eric Gordon, who was our main focus this year! Oh well, I am tired of talking about our shameful end to the season and I am sure that MOST people on here are tired of hearing from me! ha….so I am hanging it up for the year and focusing on the REAL basketball teams that are left in this tourney instead of the sad, sad state of Indiana Basketball and the rest of you ignorants!

  30. Mike P:

    Get a clue. I said make their “teammates” better, not “team.” If you think EJ didn’t make IU better then you truly are stupid. Do you really think they would have won 25 games without him? No chance.

    As for your examples, I’ll admit Conley did make his teammates better and Oden did as well, if only because he was such a physical presence. But the others, I will argue that they only mariginally helped their teammates, if at all. How exactly has Mayo made his teammates or team for that matter, any better? I believe they still lost in the first round despite having a quality supporting cast, just like IU. Beasley and Durant, great players, but sorry they didn’t actually elevate the play of their teammates, or at least no more than EJ has elevated DJ’s play.

    And maybe I didn’t make my point clear in the previous, so how about this. Last year Bassett had a nice year as a freshman, but clearly had (and still has) some flaws in his game. However, since he was not hyped like EJ and was no threat to leave to the NBA, we were all excited about his potential at IU. Now look at this year with EJ. Again good player with flaws in his game, but with a ton more hype. Now that he is probably leaving for the NBA, some people don’t want to point out the potential he has, but instead say he is no good and will be no good in the NBA.

  31. Kirk Haston was lucky to even be drafted. Clearly the scouts never actually watched him play because he was never going to be a player in the NBA. He was a solid college player after four years of coaching, but was one of those with a games that didn’t translate into the NBA.

  32. Brad – I am not saying that the potential for EJ is not there. I have probably watched him play before most knew who he was. However, he has always had to be the hero. This team is the same as other teams he plays for, if the opponents play a fundamentally sound team game, EJ’s team will lose, see the IHSAA 4A state championship last year. His talent is awesome, his selfishness his down fall.

    And EJ did not elevate DJ’s play, except DJ had to step up for when EJ was making mistakes and hurting us.

  33. I just don’t see the selfishness. If he is supposed to be “the guy” then he is supposed to be selfish to some degree. I don’t remember all the stats but I’m pretty sure he never took more than like 16 or 17 shots in a game all season long.

    As for elevated DJ’s play, maybe elevate isn’t the right word. But I guarantee that he took some of the double and triple teams away from DJ, if for no other reason than because of his potential to score. Last year DJ wasn’t near as dominant as he was this year and yet he was constantly doubled last year. There is a reason for that, and the majority of that reason is called Eric Gordon. If that doesn’t help the team and DJ, then I don’t know what does.

  34. Dakich is 100% correct when he’s talking about the culture of IU. We don’t need NBA one-year-and-out selfish players. We’ve had too many kids from Davis and Sampson that have no idea what INDIANA basketball is about. These kids are poorly educated, selfish, arrogant, and most of all, without character.

    The AD should be fired immediately. The new IU President has proven he has no balls. Sampson should have been fired without the payoff!

    The pathetic leadership of IU is no different than the poor leadership of our local, state, and federal officials. The Baby Boomer generation has put this country in the toilet.

  35. Dan Dakich will make a great Director of Basketball Opeations. Isn’t that what he was hired to do? He was a good assistant under the General, but his coaching skills weer demonstrated at IU in a handful of games. His record here was similar to his record at Bowling Green. Let’s let the man do what the man was hired to do.

  36. Yeah, that’s bright blame Dakich for a team that was too far gone to repair this late in the season. The bad habits were already well established!! Bowling Green is NOT IU. IU attracts countless high quality recruits and Dakich would actually teach them something, not be their best buddy. We need a coach, not a baby sitter!!!

  37. Dakich took over a very tough situation. He was coaching a system that he was not comfortable with. The only one who can bring IU back is Bob Knight, Mr. Indiana Basketball. IU would do itself a tremendous favor if they would hire Knight to bring back the glory days.

  38. I am going to go with Danny is not the Manny…

    If the IU faithful wants a coach to turn things around immediately then Coach Dan isn’t the answer ever! Sorry Dan, you were always my dead Grandmother’s favorite player but times have changed and IU needs help. Although your hands were tied with the bunch of guys we had this year, I don’t think we can wait that long for some sort of discipline or excitement from the IU Team. I felt like the IU team had no sparkle at all regardless of the situation. Even Davis got some sort of effort from his team.

  39. #2 Fan,

    Bracey doesn’t even belong in the same breath as EJ. Bracey had no pressue around him like Gordon did when he suited up for the Cream and Crimson.

    Bracey was a bigger disappointment… I doubt he turned the ball over as much thoug…….

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