For the second summer in a row, IU basketball is searching for an assistant coach.
After three seasons in Bloomington, Bruiser Flint is off to Kentucky to reunite with good friend John Calipari, leaving head coach Archie Miller on the hunt for a replacement once again.
Indiana finds itself searching for a new assistant coach at an interesting time.
With its athletic department hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars due to the loss of a football season, it will be especially challenging, but not impossible to lure a high profile candidate to IU via a big pay raise.
Of course Indiana’s brand helps when it comes to attracting talented coaches, but money talks.
And new Director of Athletics Scott Dolson can look to his donor arsenal to help with any financial obstacles that might come between the program and their preferred candidate.
What does the resume of an ideal replacement look like?
We got a quick clue last week when a report came out indicating that IU had reached out to Allen Griffin, a Syracuse assistant coach and long-time Dayton assistant under Miller.
While Griffin has reportedly decided to stay at Syracuse, his background is instructive. He has high major coaching experience, is a proven recruiter, has ties to the east coast, and he is an African American.
Those are the attributes that we believe Indiana has honed in on for this assistant coaching search, with the latter three perhaps holding the highest value.
Flint of course checked the same boxes, further highlighting the significance that Miller places on those qualities.
A coach with a track record of helping to engineer offensive improvements with a focus on coaching guards wouldn’t be bad qualifications either.
With Miller entering a critical fourth season in Bloomington, this is an important hire. We don’t see him looking for a short term benefit to land a recruit or taking a gamble on an unproven commodity.
Along those lines this likely isn’t an instance where someone with IU ties will be hired. Miller went that route with Mike Roberts in 2019. There probably isn’t mutual interest from a qualified candidate with an IU background this time around.
So who might Miller now be pursuing as a replacement?
Of course no one is going to meet every criteria, but here are some names that we think just might fit the bill.
The highly regard Rutgers assistant has played a key role in the turnaround at Piscataway. Knight coaches the Rutgers backcourt and his recruiting has helped increase the talent level of the Scarlet Knights. He was the lead assistant on top-50 2021 big man Cliff Omoruyi.
Originally from New Jersey, Knight played his college basketball at Pittsburgh in Miller’s hometown, and he coached at Pitt for a decade.
Simpkins is the associate head coach at George Mason and he has a tie to the current IU staff. Simpkins and IU assistant Mike Roberts were on the UNC Greensboro staff together for four seasons.
Simpkins attended DeMatha High School and the University of Maryland. Along with his lengthy coaching career, Simpkins has deep east coast ties and is regarded as one of the top assistants in the Atlantic-10.
Webster is entering his fifth season at Virginia Tech. He was retained there when Mike Young took over for Buzz Williams.
A Harvard graduate and Washington D.C. native, Webster is highly regarded in college basketball coaching circles. He was a key cog in bringing in the No. 26 recruiting class in 2020
Despite only being 31, English is going into his fifth season as a Division One assistant coach, with stops at Tulsa, Colorado and now Tennessee.
English is originally from Baltimore, and played at Missouri. An up-and-comer in the business, English’s diverse geographic background is intriguing.
Jenkins is the associate head coach at Richmond. A proven recruiter, Jenkins helped engineer the Spiders turnaround in 2019-20, when Richmond went 24-7 to tie the school record for regular-season wins.
Jenkins is a California native, played at Air Force, and has 10 years of assistant coaching experience on the East Coast.
Brunt is an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth. His resume includes more than a decade of Division One coaching experience including three seasons at Miami, Fla.
While at Miami, the Baltimore native was the offensive coordinator for a 2015-16 team that reached No. 11 in offensive efficiency, and he helped recruit the best classes in the program’s history.
Valentine is an assistant at Loyola-Chicago and his first season there was the Ramblers’ memorable Final Four run. The brother of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine, Drew is regarded as a rising star in the business.
Valentine lives in Chicago and is from Michigan.
An Indiana native, Ragland is on the staff at Utah State — a program that has gone 54-15 over the last two seasons.
The Evansville product has more than 15 years of coaching experience and he helped engineer an offensive turnaround at Utah State.
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