Still waiting . . .

On a gloomy, rainy Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, there’s no news yet on whether Tony Bennett is interested in Indiana’s coaching job.

After all the buzz yesterday, it wasn’t clear what we’d hear today. If Bennett isn’t interested in the IU coaching job, he isn’t likely to announce that. Even if he does want the job, that doesn’t mean we’ll hear anything right away as negotiations take place.

But I didn’t expect it to be so quiet today as Indiana fans wait to hear further word about Bennett or other possible candidates. I have calls out to people I know who are connected to Bennett that I would normally expect to call me back, but haven’t heard from them. That must mean something.

We’re working to find out what’s happening today, but haven’t heard anything significant yet.

I was surprised last night to read that other media are reporting that Mike Montgomery and Lon Kruger are two potential candidates for the IU job if Bennett is not interested or if the reports of IU’s interest in Bennett turn out to be wrong.

My thought is that one of the biggest problems the IU athletic department faces is a lack of stability. Within the past decade, IU has had four athletic directors (and now Greenspan’s in hot water with many fans), four head football coaches and soon will have its fourth head basketball coach. I can’t think of any other major college athletic program with that much turnover in its most important positions.

Given that recent history, I’d question the wisdom of hiring a 61-year-old coach in Montgomery (who’s been mentioned for this job for a while now) or the 55-year-old Kruger, who has had six different college head coaching jobs and has stayed longer than four years only once, and that was a six-year stint at Florida.

I’ve covered enough coaching searches for a while.   

I agree with those who say IU would be better off hiring a top young coach like Wright State’s 39-year-old Brad Brownell – even if he is unproven at IU’s level - and give him time to build a program. Brownell isn’t a big name nationally, but is a Hoosier native who seems capable and a good fit from everything I’ve heard and read about him.

I have heard from readers who think IU needs to make a big splash with its hire. I don’t see that. To me, the university needs to hire a coach who will do things right, put Indiana back as a perennial contender for Big Ten titles and stick around for a while.   

Obviously, not everybody agrees with that. What do you think today about the reported potential candidates? Might Greenspan and Co. still pull a Sampson out of left field like last time? Will the gloom disappear in the upcoming hours and days?


  1. Give the job to Alford. Enough already, the man can do the job, would love the job, and knows how to bring back Hoosier nation.

  2. “I have calls out to people I know who are connected to Bennett that I would normally expect to call me back, but haven’t heard from them. That must mean something.”


  3. Agree, Brownell is currently recruiting our state, has Hoosier roots and is young enough to build the program. Clearly a better option than older coaches who would leave searching again.

  4. I want a coach that makes current players and potential recruits think “i want to be at IU”…and I’m sorry but Brad Brownell doesn’t do that for me and I doubt it would for them. I watch college basketball a ton and I couldn’t even tell you what the guy looks like.

  5. Jimmy,

    Is it necessary to have a big name to recruit well at IU? I don’t think it is. Davis, for instance, was able to bring a fair amount of talent to Bloomington even though he was almost a complete unknown nationally when he got the head coaching job.

  6. Doug – have the experiences of Coach Davis and Coach Sampson ruled out minority candidates?

  7. i’m concerned that the hire will be out of left field; atleast not from the most likely pool of candidates. I consider the likely pool to be young coaches who have realized success recently. Primarily Miller, Bennett and Brownell.
    But given our recent history, I would be satisfied with a “big splash” over a Montgomery or Kruger.

  8. I can’t believe all of this talk? So along with the University and the “PBR” committee, everyone doesn’t consider us as a top program any longer? I can’t believe we are even talking about guys that have hardly any coaching experience or none at a major University. I guess if everyone wants to except mediocrity then let’s hire one of these guys……I guess I really don’t know IU fans after all, after 33 years!!

  9. Kenny,

    I could still see IU hiring a minority candidate and I still think some minority candidates would be interested if approached. I haven’t heard of any minority candidates mentioned prominently, but I don’t think the experiences of Davis and Sampson rule out that possibility. At least I hope not. What do you think? Are there any particular minority candidates that you would like IU to consider if they were interested in the job?

  10. Alford is average at best, nothing like hiring a guy who has a worse record than Mike Davis

  11. I do not think minority or color is an issue here. I would hope the “Blue Ribbon” gang is looking at the best candidate and not considering race, creed, or color. This is the 21st century and every candidate should be considered.

    I tend to agree with Jimmy Dykes and say a big name splash could be a benefit. Not that younger, off the radar coaches could not do a good job. Assuming here that the big name would be a recruiting benefit.

    The most recent issue appears to me to be recruiting. It has become a two party system. Recruit the mega-stars who are likely one and gone, or look for solid four year players who establish a team (program). i.e. Gordon vs. the Boiler babies. This must be a question for the search committee and the candidate must answer honestly.

    I am not a coach guru, so I do not have an offering. I sure like the way this Davidson team plays. I do think the Blue Ribbon boys have a tough job. If they do not get it right this time, there might be an uprising.

  12. whats wrong with hiring a big name to make a big splash? that way we could be perennial national title contenders. we shouldnt settle for only big ten titles.

  13. I wish the HT would publish the resumes and backgrounds of all the rumored candidates. If they did so, it would become clear to most, if not all, that Mike Montgomery is the best choice for a variety of reasons. He is a proven winner, and at a institution that places a heavy focus on academics (Stanford). His NBA experience would give him “street cred” to potential recruits with pro ambitions. His USA basketball ties would bring that international scene to bear in Bloomington. He coached for over 20 years without a hint of scandal or controversy, and did it remarkably well, winning the National Coach of the year, numerous Pac-10 titles, and being named the winner of the John Wooden lifetime in coaching award. His teams play a motion offense, up tempo type of style, much more pleasing to our eye than some of the other candidates. He would likely bring Keith Smart with him as an “heir apparent” type scenario, both to add stability and to give him a connection to IU’s glorious past. Lastly, he would require no buyout of any kind, saving the athletic department hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    He wins big, and wins with class and dignity. What more can you ask for?

  14. bob dub, i certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with hiring a big name. If IU can land one of the nation’s top coaches who is also a fit for the university’s culture, that’s what IU should do. The issue is whether IU can land such a coach who is still in the prime of his career. If not, does IU take a younger coach or a coach close to the end of his career? That’s the question I was trying to address.

  15. A Spokane paper is reporting TB has said “no” to Indiana…I am not as dissapointed that he is saying no as I am that everyone is going into a panic that we have to hire someone right now even if he might not be the best option. I am anxious to see how it all shakes out.

    Link to the report:

  16. We need to explore the interest of the Davidson Coach. If he’s good enough for Dale Curry’s kid, he may be able to help IU.

  17. Doug – I would think minority candidates would be leery of the IU job based on some of the things Coach Davis went thru. I think subconsciously Greenspan didn’t want to add more tension to the situation and race factored into his decision to choose Dakich over McCallum. What is the national perception in coaching circles of the IU culture you are hearing? Things I’m hearing are we’ve created a toxic environment.

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