Flint feels IU is the right fit

There were days this past winter when Bruiser Flint was snowbound in his Philadelphia home, watching television and keeping to himself.

That’s when he knew.

Following his dismissal as Drexel’s coach after 15 years leading the Dragons’ program, Flint wanted to weigh his options. Did he want to return to coaching, or did he want to try something else.

So he traveled the country, found work as a television analyst and took time to reflect. That’s all Flint required to recognize he belonged back on the sidelines.

But he wasn’t going to take just any job. Indiana, however, offered Flint a unique opportunity.

“My whole thing was: I want to work for Archie (Miller),” Flint said. “I think he can get it done, and why not get it done at one of the best places you possibly can get it done.”

That’s how the Hoosiers landed a basketball lifer and widely-respected coach on Miller’s Indiana staff.

Flint, a four-time Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, had been a head coach for 20 consecutive seasons, with stops at Massachusetts (1996 to 2001) and Drexel (2001 to 2016), until he was ousted following a 6-25 season in March 2016.

At that point, Flint wanted a break.

He wanted to step away, travel and view the game of basketball through a different lens. That’s what he did.

Flint moved around the country visiting NBA and college practices. Sometimes, because of all the colleges condensed in the Philadelphia area, he didn’t have to go far.

He visited friend and mentor John Calipari at Kentucky, took in practices at Cincinnati and Indiana, too.

The practice he watched at IU, Flint told The Philadelphia Daily News in February, was the best one he saw.

“Last year when I came to practice, I thought it was great detail — as detailed a practice as I’ve ever been around,” Flint said. “I went to a lot of practices last year. But like I said, being around the (IU) guys, you see they have really great enthusiasm and they really work hard.”

When the Hoosiers reconvene for preseason practice later this fall, they’ll learn that Flint’s coaching philosophies are an extension of Miller’s. Both coaches wish to groom tough players who value defense.

Those were tenets Flint, who played collegiately at Saint Joseph’s, first learned from his high school coach, Dan Dougherty, at Episcopal Academy.

“Then I worked for two good guys, Fang Mitchell (at Coppin State) and John Calipari (at UMass),” Flint said. “Who they were — that’s what it was all about. It was about playing defense, playing with toughness, challenging the guys a little bit.”

All told, Flint brings 29 years of coaching experience to Miller’s staff, with 331 wins as a head coach at the Division I level.

And yet, this time last year, Flint didn’t know the direction his life would take. Reflecting now, Flint leans on some wisdom provided by legendary Temple coach John Chaney.

“I actually tease him about, ‘Oh, I ain’t going to be 80 years old coaching and doing all this stuff,'” Flint said. “He said to me — it’s really true and I really found it out this year — ‘One of the reasons why guys coach for so long is that the kids give you energy.’ He says, ‘Being around the kids, they keep you going a little bit.’ He said, ‘You’ll be surprised.’

“And last year, I missed that. I missed the interaction with the players and the kids and just being on a college campus all the time and being around the young people.”

At Indiana, Flint believes, he’s found the right fit.

“I could actually stay at home and relax if I wanted to,” Flint said. “I know I wanted to work but I didn’t have to jump at it. But Indiana, you know, the opportunity to come and work at a place like this is unbelievable.”

9 comments

  1. Sounds as if he really wants to be here and make a difference. Good hire. It’s one thing doing a job and another actually liking what you do.

  2. “Then I worked for two good guys, Fang Mitchell (at Coppin State) and John Calipari (at UMass),” Flint said.

    If I could have ten dollars for every time Calipari was referred to as a “good guy” on Hoosier Scoop….? Of course, I’d basically just be paying myself the twenty dollars. lol.

    Can IU get anymore bizarre?

  3. I do like like Flint’s actions last year studying and evaluating whether he and BB should be reestablished in a future together. He’ll give it hell this season to see if his decision can stand the test. Which is all Miller can ask for and benefit most from.
    Mentioning bizarre is another worn out cry of wolf on this blog.

  4. No wolf cry, here. There is no coaching bar lower than Tom Crean. We took a very sizable leap in coaching acumen and accountability with Archie Miller.
    I simply think it’s just a bit ironic how all the Calipari haters on Scoop now have a couple of his true longtime inside guys working at IU. That is of no issue with yours truly. Hell, I’ve always known that the NCAA puts profit motive way ahead of equal treatment/balanced investigations. How else do you get an NCAA witch hunt for Kelvin and his 3-way calling offense juxtaposed against the complete indifference and dragging of the feet to finalize and penalize UNC for 15 years of academic fraud/ghost classes/fake transcripts allowed their distinguished athletes?

    Wasn’t UMass where Calipari first earned the moniker “Criminalpari?” Have any of our fine Scoop reporters asked ‘Bruiser’ what it’s like to drive the getaway car for any of the many Calipari Final Four robberies? Heck, could be some interesting tales…And we all know how unfair it would be to target an assistant for ‘wrecking’ or ‘robbing’ a basketball program’s stellar reputation, said Jeff Meyer. lol.

  5. I found the following comments very ironic: “Last year when I came to practice (at IU), I thought it was great detail — as detailed a practice as I’ve ever been around. I went to a lot of practices last year. But like I said, being around the (IU) guys, you see they have really great enthusiasm and they really work hard.” I assume he was saying nice things about IU’s players. It’s just too bad that those “great” practices did not translate into enough “great” victories.

    1. Crean was all about the “details”….as in this classic from the NCAA tournament against Wichita State.

      Practices were likely the only place assistants were able to inject coaching. Had to be terribly frustrating to watch all of the behind-the-scenes hard work get flushed down the crapper while 007 Crean(that’s his win percentage at Sweet 16’s) went into total dysfunction on big stages ….during big games.

  6. Basketball lifer from Philly, a city loaded with quality small programs. Sounds like a ready-made mentor and paternal presence.

  7. ESPN Quote of the Night: “On the bright side, the Boston Celtics did control the opening tip.”

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