Archie Miller out as IU’s men’s basketball coach

Story from Indy Star reporter Zach Osterman:

After four years spent struggling to break into the top half of the Big Ten, IU has fired men’s basketball coach Archie Miller.

Miller finishes his IU career with a 67-58 record. He went 33-44 in Big Ten play.

“As the Director of Athletics, I wanted to wait until the conclusion of the season before evaluating the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” IU AD Scott Dolson said in a news release announcing Miller’s firing. “In the days following the completion of our season in the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, I have spent a great deal of time evaluating our recruiting, student-athlete development, leadership development, and playing philosophy and strategy. That review, combined with the on-court results, ultimately led me to conclude that a change in leadership of our program is warranted at this time. I shared my assessment with Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, and he accepted my recommendation.”

Miller’s contract buyout was $10.3 million. It’s the 15th-richest in the country, per USA TODAY’s coaches salary database. According to the terms of his contract, signed upon his hiring in 2017, Archie Miller would be owed 100% of remaining base, deferred and outside, marketing and promotional income, were he to be terminated without cause before March 31, 2022.

“Given the university’s very tight financial situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, private philanthropic funding has been obtained for all transition costs and obligations related to the change in leadership,” Dolson said in the release. “We worked to secure the necessary private support following my recommendation to President McRobbie, ensuring that there would be no charges to the university budget.”

One of the brightest young coaches in the country when he was hired from Dayton, Miller brought big expectations and plenty of hope to Bloomington. He promised a hard-nosed defensive style, a team that attacked relentlessly in transition and a program defined by toughness. And he recruited well, particularly in-state, where he landed multiple McDonald’s All Americans and signed three-consecutive IndyStar Mr. Basketball winners, a first in program history.

But that success too often did not translate to the floor. Miller’s teams struggled badly with consistency, finishing .500 in Big Ten play just once in Miller’s four seasons in charge, and never higher than a tie for sixth. The Hoosiers achieved that in Miller’s first season.

Not once in Miller’s past two seasons in charge did Indiana win more than two games consecutively in league play.

Defensive numbers fluctuated wildly, as did performances. At times in Miller’s tenure, the Hoosiers ranked among the best defensive teams in the country. But they could not sustain success at that end of the floor. Only once, in Miller’s first season in charge in 2017-18, did Indiana finish in the top half of the Big Ten in adjusted defensive efficiency in conference play.

And, despite his good recruiting work, Miller was never able to build a team that could score the ball as efficiently or effectively as the modern game requires. Too often, the Hoosiers struggled with ball movement, shooting, turnovers, court spacing or some combination of the above. Good performances rarely felt built upon, momentum never sustained.

That lack of consistency proved an unfortunate hallmark of Miller’s IU tenure. Good performances were too often followed by poor ones. Steps forward accompanied by steps back.

Miller finished well below .500 in games played following a ranked win. The Hoosiers did not win more than two Big Ten games consecutively across his last two seasons.

The baseline was high enough to stave off disaster (at least until the end of this season). But the ceiling never raised to anything near Indiana’s expectations. After a six-game skid bound this season to its premature end, Miller’s time was up.

“Indiana Basketball has a long, rich history of success that dates back generations,” Dolson said. “Our five national championships and 22 Big Ten titles make us one of the most accomplished programs in college basketball history. I have high expectations for our program, and we have not competed at a level within the conference or nationally that I believe we should.

“While I will not establish a formal search committee, I will consult within the University and with trusted experts in the state and around the country as I seek out and recruit a new coach. The work to find the next leader of Indiana Basketball will begin immediately, and I will seek a chief executive that I can partner with to reestablish the brand and national presence of Indiana Basketball.”

75 comments

  1. Archie, you are a good man. I’m sorry it didn’t work out in Bloomington. Wishing you success in whatever comes next.

  2. New A.D. putting his stamp on IU athletic department (aggressive vs conservative) that will define A.D. identity during and after his tenure.
    Glass tenure defined as facilities improvement.

    1. Was just going to ask if the money is coming from a third party or parties. Now where do they look? As I said before, they have to at least reach out to Stevens and see what that number is because it costs them nothing to ask.

    2. When you think about it, it was probably in Archie’s best interest that he be fired now, before the possibility of another terrible season further diminished his “marketability” as a head coach. By firing him now, IU gives him a better chance of being hired at another school, which will reduce the amount of severance money IU is on the hook to pay him.

      And yes, I would suspect that SD began the search for Archie’s replacement weeks ago and was able to identify several quality candidates expressing strong interest in the IU job before he pulled the trigger on Archie. A smart man doesn’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute.

      1. Just read the official release and it did state that it was a “philanthropic” donation for the buyout and Dolson stated he wasn’t forming a search committee. That tells me he has already made the hire or is just finalizing the deal. If that is the case, I would bet an announcement comes prior to NCAA starting.

  3. Cogent decision considering the fandom state of mind. The new hire must be sewed up already for this announcement to be made in this timeline. I’m not sure I’m for it but I’ll bet ‘SA’ is next.

  4. I’m very surprised by this news, but confess that I am relieved. I was not looking forward to watching IU struggle again next season or witness my beloved IU BB program being overseen by a lame duck coach. I could not envision extending Archie’s services beyond next season just for producing another mediocre season (i.e., 18 wins). And I had little reason to be optimistic about Archie producing a major turn-around next season (23 or more wins). I liked Archie, celebrated his hiring and also thought he was a good man. But he wasn’t hired to be a good man, he was hired to be a good BB Coach, and at IU the expectation is that you’ll be both, a good man and a good BB Coach.

    I have no idea why Archie was unable to achieve success at IU. I can’t articulate it, but after his second season in Bloomington I began to suspect that he was simply missing some key ingredient that successful college coaches possess. It wasn’t just his teams’ failures on the court, it was his inability to recruit enough of the right talent. I’m obviously biased, but I still have to believe that IU is one of the premier schools in America where a young man can play college BB. And I reject, based on a lot of evidence to the contrary, that there is something wrong with the “culture” at IU. IU’s success in FB, Baseball, Women’s BB and other sports defy that argument. Tom Allen, all by himself, defies that argument. If there was a problem with culture, it existed within the Men’s BB program.

    1. Both, T. A. and T. Moren changed cultures for their respective programs. The same is true for baseball program but not sure to the extent. I think when pretty much any unsuccessful program becomes successful to a high degree culture change is present in that success. Glass hired T.A. and both Glass and Dolson secured him long term. Glass hired T. Moren by default. Then, supported and secured T. Moren. The question is how aggressive will Dolson be to secure T. Moren long term??? Some (reasonable success is needed in March Madness…if 3 or 4 seed sweet 16 success needed).

      1. Arguably what is high degree of success. Neither, T. A. Or T. Moren have achieved high degree of success. Rather, in process and still very much trying to achieve a higher degree of success.
        Currently, IU football is still trying to achieve and maintain Northwestern degree of success over the last couple decades regardless, whether in East or west division in big ten . N.W. has won some bowl games and are a tough bowl matchup.

    2. PO: Nice assessment. It was beyond neccessary. Congratulations to Dolson for dealing with the situation head on in a timely manner. Let’s hope Scott has the right guy. As for the obsession some have regarding being a “good man”…Jimmy Carter, by all accounts is a ‘good man’ he was just a terrible President.
      Maybe Arch would consider a career change to the Marines? I understand they’re looking for a “few good men”. How ironic. Bloomington hosting Kelvin Sampson and Cleveland State. For those that constantly criticize under the radar coaching hires,..I see Penn St is hiring a Purdue assistant as their new head coach. No one wanted to hire Patrick Ewing as a head coach,..he just won the Big East. IU’s mistake was not going after Stevens and Holtman when they had a chance, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I hear that they, too, are ‘good men’.

  5. An example of the weird s*** that happens during a coach search . UCLA was in the market for a new bb coach. Approached IU coach McCracken who declined but recommended Wooden, who was expected to take job at Purdue. McCracken & Wooden grew up in the same Indiana area (Morgan County) and McCracken did not want Wooden at Purdue or any B1G school.

  6. From Scott Dolson: “Given the university’s very tight financial situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, private philanthropic funding has been obtained for all transition costs and obligations related to the change in leadership. We worked to secure the necessary private support following my recommendation to President McRobbie, ensuring that there would be no charges to the university budget.”

    Some boosters with some deep pockets stepped up big time! Wow! Go Hoosiers!

  7. If Alford is the coach, I’m quitting IU basketball.

    Devonte Green threw some shade at Archie on Twitter. Kind of classless. I would like to know if some stories start coming out about the culture and condition of the team/locker room during his tenure.

  8. So will this then push Jackson-Davis toward NBA essentially making the decision for him? As far as other players potentially leaving, do you think some players will wait and see who the next hire is or go ahead and enter into transfer portal yet this week or next?

  9. Would have Wooden been successful or that successful at IU?
    In my opinion would have Larry Bird been that successful at an IU or KY type school vs Indiana State. The Bird story at ISU seems to be magical…what kind of player would Bird have become at an elite or near elite type school? Good but maybe not near as great.

  10. Great news! You do not mire in mediocrity at a premier basketball university and think it is acceptable. Like Po said, I do not know why Archie failed so miserably based on his credentials, but the reality is he did. On we go! Life goes on and my hope is the new coach has great success at IU!

  11. Scott Dolson, didn’t have a choice I U Basketball is the top revenue source for the I U Athletics and the basketball program needs to have a program on the rise and has some excitement for the donors to continue and increase their donations and ticket purchases. A half empty Assembly Hall would be real problem for the Athletic Department. I hope that Scott Dolson can delivery on his first and biggest and most important career decision early in his I U AD job. Best of luck to Archie Miller, its tough swimming in shark infested waters.

  12. IU hoosier; I think it goes in opposite direction for players. It was obvious the last 6 games the TEAM wasn’t having any fun AND the players didn’t advance in development. I think it tells the players that SD is determined to make things better and he isn’t going to leave them flapping in the wind waiting for a decision

    1. Someone at work just kind of said something similar. That the players were the signal for Dolson. That they looked like they were fed up too and were somewhat signaling to Dolson, “do something now”.

  13. Yes, private donations in making this decision. Once again my argument…keep losing coach not just at IU but any college including elite programs…donator use or donate money donated to lower cost of college (another example among thousands). Government funding collaboration with university programs would have to change also. I UNDERSTAND THAT’S NOT THE WAY THINGS WORK SO MY THOUGHTS ARE IRRELEVANT. RATHER JUST AN OPINION. Having said that PO’s 18 win bar next year is reasonable.

  14. Major sigh of relief. Looking forward to Dolson putting his stamp on the program. Go Hoosiers!

  15. NOT THE CURRENT BEST BUT ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME AND ONE OF THE ALL TIME BEST…OF ALL TIMES WINNERS IS COACH ARCHIE MILLER
    (stability of financial wealth and opportunities 5 years ago vs financial wealth and opportunities today. Archie Miller is doing great.

  16. Gotta love Scott Dolson. While we were all whining about the high cost of the buyout, he just jumped in and found wealthy IU donors to make it happen. Now we’ll speculate as to where the next coach is coming from and which one of a dozen possible candidates it could be, and I’m sure he’s already narrowed it down to 2-3 great choices and we just have to wait for the big dance to play out and see who gets the final rose. (My daughter watches The Batchelor, which means I do as well – don’t judge me.) We have a good man looking out for IU athletics!

    1. Well it would be reasonable for a new coach, but it would not have been reasonable for a fifth year coach. The new coach will have his honeymoon too while he recruits his type of players. But by the fifth year at IU, an 18-win season coming on the heels of a losing season will get the next coach fired too. It shouldn’t take a good coach five years to get IU BB back to being competitive in the Big Ten.

      1. That’s what I am saying with all the retained and roster change 18 wins next year only is a bar and trends each year into 25+ wins and eventually within 4 or 5 years big ten championships, a tournament big ten championship, deep March Madness tournament runs and March Madness championship within first contract. If coach gets stale championship odds DECREASE into irrelevance. Also contract needs some accountability measures to protect IU basketball program financially.

    2. I wonder if the donors that got Crean fired are/were the same donors that stepped up to underwrite Archie’s severance? If so, you have to give them credit for putting their money where their mouths were. And I really appreciate and respect their determination not to accept mediocrity for IU’s BB program.

      Having been a Manager for Bob Knight, Dolson probably knows more about what IU needs in a BB Coach than any previous IU AD. And based on that experience, I’m optimistic he’ll be able to hire an excellent candidate to replace Archie.

  17. After hiring a new men’s coach find a couple donors for IU Ladies basketball, T. Moren and staff.
    This hire can positively affect both, IU Ladies basketball and football recruiting along with university athletics image

  18. One other factor that Scott Dolson considered, hire the new basketball coach before I U hires its new President and Dolson knows President McRobbie. The last fairly new I U President was involved in the decision making and overruled his AD advice and hired K. Sampson.

    1. One has to assume that since McRobbie is retiring in June that Dolson will have hired the new coach well before then. My guess is that Dolson will announce IU’s new coach by April first. He needs to be in place to retain IU’s best players from transferring and so he can recruit a few transfers.

  19. Boston College to hire Earl Grant….

    That might tell you something.

  20. Dolson seems locked in. He is NOT going to use a search firm, which I think is a great idea. These search firms are not only worthless, they are harmful. They get paid a % of what the coach gets paid, so when they are talking to candidates they leak them to the press and drive their price up. I don’t think they really end up getting the best candidates, either.

    I wonder who will be on the search committee with Scott. Who would you want?

    1. I completely agree, DD, and for all the same reasons you provided. Dolson knows college BB. He has probably built a strong and deep network across the country. He can identify good candidates as well or better than any search firm.

    2. Finally, we agree about something! ‘Official search committes’ are usually a disaster. My guess is that Dolson has/had his own ‘search committee’, familiar, trusted and knowledgeable people within his own circle. By the timing on the announcement it is likely whomever was/is under consideration was 90% vetted by this afternoon.

  21. I have the feeling first choice is Beilein. I don’t believe Brad Stevens would take the job. An interesting choice would be Nate Oats. He has done an amazing turn around at Alabama, but that would involve a huge buyout. He seems to be the transformative coach that Archie Miller would never have been.

    1. I like Nate Oats, but he just signed an extension this year. I am sure the buyout was bumped up too. What he has done at a traditional football powerhouse is pretty amazing. I have always said you call up Stevens just to find out what it would take. I am sure the number is huge, but it doesn’t hurt to ask and doesn’t cost you a thing.

    2. I like Beilein, but there’s no way Dolson brings in a 68 year old coach to reload the program. He’s looking for a contemporary – late 40’s-early 50’s – who will hopefully be tremendously successful and hang in for a solid 15-20 years. Beilein is a place holder, not a long-term investment. I also just read that it was ONE donor who covered the buyout and ONE donor who is funding the new salary needs. Wow.

        1. I was kind of hoping it was the new Disney CEO who is an IU grad and is from The Region. He was a student during the 81 championship.

          1. Oh, nice. I didn’t know that. That’s really cool. Maybe we can get Yoda to be our next coach. We’ll start shooting 100% from Three!

          2. Bob Chapek? Possible, net worth over half a billion. But I smell a bluff from the Dallas Maverick. A week or two ago he said in an online video that he wouldn’t help fund anything related to us getting a new coach. But I had a feeling – let’s just say I’m not sitting in any Texas Holdem games with him anytime soon. I know when to fold ’em!

      1. I don’t think you read that correctly. Check out Dolson’s comments from his news conference. He referred to two donors covering the cost of Archie’s severance. But one of those donors might also be bellying up to the bar to help Dolson hire the right guy!

  22. No search or minimum committee needed…and agree consulting firms create issues and problems for self financial gain and are not only useless but harmful due to misinformation that creates bad dishonesty solutions. Kinda like bad financial advisors.

  23. Call up John Bielein and and tell him he can pick the number if he refuses thats fine but it should start with him then maybe Scott Drew

  24. In reference to Wooden you must remember that he coached for a lot of years before he started being successful. Once that happened he was continually successful.

    1. He coached for a lot of years before very wealthy UCLA boosters started paying the best players in the country to play for him. UCLA BB under Wooden was one of the most corrupt College Athletic programs in the history of college sports. One of my best friends played at UCLA for Wooden and experienced and witnessed the cheating on an industrial scale.

  25. I saw that Al Durham announced he is entering the transfer portal. I was confused, because I thought he was a senior and his eligibility was up. But I looked it up and had completely forgotten that all players got an extra year of eligibility due to Covid.

    Good luck to Al. I get it why he is leaving. He could go to a contender and be a solid hand off the bench. Perhaps get to the NCAA for the first and only time of his career.

  26. I never understood how you can have so many assistant coaches and no one could put in an offense or two that moved the ball, featured picks and cuts and movement and easy opportunities. Maybe some pressing and trapping. Inbounds plays that produced points. Not one coach on staff? Wow.

  27. Pitino, Stevens, Alford, Dakich, Fife, Martelli and more. Love him or hate him Pitino can coach . Steven’s would be a blast. Fife’s energy and grit. Martelli’s experience. Dakich would be a hoot. Even Alford could recruit a balanced team. Why didn’t we recruit Luke Brown? Splashing 35 foot 3’s and we can’t hit from 15 feet. Good times ahead.

  28. Here’a name to consider and ANY Asst coach out there. As coach: when coached the Chinese National Team they won Asian Championship in 2010 and in 2014 won FIBA World Asian Championship and FIBA had his team ranked number 14.
    1994–1996 Morehead State (assistant)
    1996–1998 Leicester Riders
    1998–1999 Derby Storm
    1999–2001 Greater London Leopards
    2001–2002 Charlotte Hornets (assistant)
    2002–2003 New Orleans Hornets (assistant)
    2003–2004 Cleveland Cavaliers (assistant)
    2005–2006 Objetivo São Carlos
    2006–2007 Ukrainian National Team
    2007–2008 UAB (assistant)
    2009–2011 Shanghai Sharks
    2010–2012 Chinese National Team
    2011 Xinjiang Flying Tigers
    2014–2016 Iowa Energy
    2016–2017 Jilin Northeast Tigers
    2019 Lokomotiv Kuban
    2020–present Texas Tech (assistant)

    1. So if you go to Goggle to look this guy up and misspell his name, as I did, you find references to ” baby sharks dance”, “bathe Princess Bob” and “Panda Bo Learns Colors”. Another example of — Spelling is Important.

  29. Forgot to place his name …a name a few of us OLDSTERS will recognize ….Bob Donewald Jr.

  30. Just announced that Alford won’t be considered for the position. Alford in turn said he wasn’t interested anyway.

    Still can’t believe there are IU fans who would still seriously consider him. He’s struggling coaching Nevada right now. I guess it is hard to separate feelings from 1987 Alford the player vs 2021 Alford the coach.

    1. I would drown myself in a tub of Brylcreem if Alford was named the next coach.

  31. Beilein or Stevens = Renaissance.

    Over two weeks ago (after the home MSU loss) , I had close U of Michigan informant tell me Beilein was going to be our next basketball coach. He acted like it was done deal. I didn’t pursue him on how he knew. I didn’t want to spread that rumor while Archie was still employed. I had actually placed a comment on Scoop to tell as much (it was a comment in my usual “awaiting moderation” mode) …but I reconsidered and then told Jeremy to not post it.

    Outside of Beilein or Stevens, the rest of the candidates might as well be Archie Miller.

    1. Completely agree from the standpoint of we tried a good mid-major coach & it didn’t work out. To go that route again would be a big, big mistake.

      I’m a betting man & there’s no way the anonymous donors paid big buck$ to fire Archie w/o knowing who the new guy is already. Because they may need to buyout someone else’s contract too. The $ is known & the candidate(s) are as well. Don’t kid anyone.

      1. Sorry AWinAZ, I disagree. I doubt anyone knows who IU’s next coach is going to be. I take Dolson at his word. The two loyal boosters spent their money to solve a problem and clear the path, but that doesn’t mean that they will determine who the next coach is going to be. They may have some influence if IU needs to dig deep to hire the right man, but Dolson’s the one whose job is on the line if IU’s next BB coach doesn’t work out. Based on previous comments, I think Dolson wants a coach who can be in Bloomington for a long time.

        And as for coaches from mid-major programs, the coaches who took over at Ohio State and Louisville seem to be doing pretty well. And the guy from Alabama’s doing very well, too. To me, the best candidate is a “youngish” man with head coaching experience who really, really covets and appreciates the IU job. And let’s forget about the style of play he coaches. As long as he and his players follow the rules and win, I con’t care what style of BB he coaches.

      1. I agree with AWinAZ…The deal is done. The new coach is making a beeline for Bloomington ….

  32. OK, I’m 73.
    It’s my opinion that Presidents of the USA and BigTen Basketball Coaches shouldn’t be Senior Citizens. Too much energy and quick decision making required.
    Beilein just looks too old and tired to me to put in what, 80 hour work weeks?
    Sorry if I offended any of my fellow Senior Citizens! 🙂

    1. Oh too be as young as you. But I must respectfully disagree. Except for my two naps a day, I’m ready for most anything.

    2. Agreed Nat, and I’m not offended.

      Their is so much pressure on these men, and so much time is required of them, I don’t think a man who has peaked or who is beginning to decline will cut it. I want a man who is still ascending.

      1. And it was believed a young Archie was ascending….

        And, given a fair shot, he may still ascend.

        Brad Stevens or John Beilein. Everyone else is just another Archie. I don’t care if Beilein is 83. He will recruit the best talent. You won’t see the softness and lack of chip on the shoulder that was forever plaguing the Crean and Miller teams.

  33. Too old…? I think it depends. It Depends in the morning…It Depends in the afternoon…It Depends at bedtime.
    And the last thing you want to hear an older coach brag about is “The Movement” …without some clarification. Hoosier Rising..? Well, at least something is, you old geezer.

  34. Don’t need a Joe Biden…(tweety bird/political correct) trolling the IU men’s basketball candy stripe bench.

  35. Take a look at who’s on the bench at the 3:24 mark of the following clip…..I would also encourage listening to the clip. Can IU Basketball hit a home run like an Al McGuire? I won’t hold my breath. Stevens, Beilein, Beard, Fife….A couple may be able to change the direction/trajectory of our current state of affairs, but, in general, they are very dull people. And though I said a couple may be of “renaissance” category, they really aren’t.

    Legends are legends…not because of their abundance. And not all are legends by virtue of what we consider a top accomplishment in the profession. What they do is make the game seem eternal..They keep the joy in the product and make us crave more. They could likely leapfrog to any endeavor and be just as charismatic and driven…and sincere. Sincerity is a must. Confident with still having the ability/charm to be a bit self-deprecating.

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