IU basketball head coach candidate hot board: Version 1

— Mike Schumann and Dustin Dopirak contributed to this story.

“It’s a results oriented business,” IU director of athletics Scott Dolson said on Monday as he discussed his decision to fire Archie Miller.

Who is the man to deliver the results for a program starving for sustained high end success?

Let’s take a look with our first edition of the post-Miller era hot board, currently in groups but no particular order beyond that for now.

THE FIRST CALL (EXPECT A NO)

The name at the top of the board is the same as it was four years ago.  And the same response should be expected.

Brad Stevens — Stevens is Indiana’s Great White Whale and has been since he led Butler to back-to-back national title games in 2010 and 2011. He’s in his eighth season in Red Auerbach’s chair as head coach of the Boston Celtics and has made the playoffs in six of the seven seasons he’s completed. It’s hard to imagine he’d leave that job midseason to go back to Indiana, but IU fans can and will dream.

OPEN THE WALLET

Most believe Indiana will go after a coach with proven success at the high major level.  Here are some of the top names who fit that description and should at least listen to Dolson, who demonstrated his ability to raise cash with the funding of Miller’s buyout through private sources.

Chris Beard — Beard has been to an Elite Eight and a national title game in five seasons at Texas Tech and he’s one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the game. However, he’s also expensive with a six-year deal that averages $4.6 million per year so if the Hoosiers want him they’ll have to pay handsomely.

John Beilein — Beilein is out of coaching and analyzing games at the Big Ten Network after his foray into the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t last a season. He’s a proven winner at the college level and in the Big Ten, having guided Michigan to two national title game appearances and five Sweet 16s in 12 years. He recruited the state well, plucking Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary, Stu Douglass and Zach Novak from Indiana among others. He is, however, 68 years old, and it’s hard to say whether he’d have any interest in returning to coaching.

Scott Drew — A Butler graduate who grew up in Valparaiso when his father Homer was coaching there, Drew has taken Baylor from being ineligible for the NCAA Tournament after the 2003 murder of Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson to a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. He’s been to four Sweet 16s and two Elite Eights and would have taken the Bears to a No. 1 seed last season as well if there had been a tournament. However, Drew’s program has been under NCAA probation during his tenure, which might turn off Indiana, and Baylor’s current string of success might be hard to leave anyway.

Eric Musselman — After two stints as an NBA head coach and once being named the former NBA D-League Coach of the Year, Musselman committed to college basketball full time and has been wildly successful so far. In four years at Nevada, he took the Wolfpack to three NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16. In his second year at Arkansas, he has the Razorbacks back in the tournament with a No. 3 seed and a 22-6 record.

Nate Oats — Oats is one of the hottest names on the market this year thanks to the revolution he’s created at Alabama. The Crimson Tide earned both the SEC regular season and tournament championships and head into the NCAA Tournament with a No. 2 seed thanks to a wide-open style heavy on 3-pointers. He was 59-13 in his last two seasons at Buffalo, earning a first-round NCAA Tournament win both seasons. He’s 40-21 so far at Alabama, including 24-6 this year.  Some early reporting indicates that Oats is not interested in the Indiana job.

Mick Cronin — Cronin is currently in charge of a historic blueblood struggling to reach its previous heights at UCLA. Coming to Indiana would allow him to do the same thing closer to home as a Cincinnati native. Cronin took Murray State to two NCAA Tournaments and Cincinnati to nine before being hired at UCLA, where he has the Bruins in and playing Michigan State in one of the First Four games this weekend.

Thad Matta — There is no one who is still relatively young and more proven who is currently out of coaching than Matta.  But the 53 year old is out of coaching due to health issues that may still be an issue.  Matta made the NCAA Tournament nine times over a ten year span at Ohio State.

Dana Altman — Altman has a good thing going at Oregon and isn’t likely to leave unless he is looking to get back to the Midwest.  The Nebraska native had success at Creighton before 11 straight 20 wins seasons in Eugene.  He has made the NCAA Tournament 8 of 9 seasons.

MORE INTERESTING NAMES

Bobby Hurley — Hurley played Indiana’s point guard under Bob Knight in the movie Blue Chips, which is the closest tie he has to Indiana, but he seems to fit the Indiana profile well and has some success as a head coach, having taken Buffalo to a pair of MAC titles and one NCAA berth in 2015 and having led Arizona State to two NCAA berths.

Porter Moser — In his first 13 seasons as a head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, Illinois State and Loyola (Ill.), Moser never had a team finish in the top five of its league. However, Moser led Loyola to the Final Four in 2018 and that year he won his first of three Missouri Valley Conference titles in four years. The Ramblers won it this season with a 24-4 overall record and one of the best defenses in the country and head into the NCAA Tournament with a No. 8 seed.

Mike Young — The Virginia Tech head coach has the Hokies in the NCAA Tournament and top-25 in his second year on the job.  He led Wofford to five NCAA Tournament appearances in ten seasons.

Andy Enfield — The Pac-12 coach of the year, Enfield’s 21 victories led all league teams and he has achieved the fourth most wins in USC history.  USC was top-30 in both offense and defense according to KenPom.  They are a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Mark Pope — How well would a former Kentucky player be received at IU?  If he wins like he has at BYU (44-14), all would surely be forgiven.  BYU has been strong on both ends of the floor, with a top-30 offense and defense according to KenPom.  They are a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

THE INDIANA GUYS

In the eyes of many, no Indiana coaching search is complete without a mention of some famous alumni.  But don’t hold your breath.

Steve Alford — As a player Alford was loved by all.  As a name in a coaching search, no one divides the fan base more.  The debate shouldn’t have much traction this time.  CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Alford is committed to staying at Nevada and will not pursue the head coaching vacancy at Indiana.

Mike Woodson — Perhaps the most proven head coach among former players, but all of Woodson’s work has been at the NBA level.  He reached the playoffs five straight seasons as a head coach and is currently with the New York Knicks as an assistant.

Dane Fife — A coach’s son with Bob Knight and Tom Izzo roots, Fife is a popular name among IU fans.  But would he be mentioned if he wasn’t a former IU player?  Fife was a head coach for IPFW for six seasons and had things going in the right direction before heading to Michigan State.

Michael Lewis — A current UCLA assistant under Cronin, Lewis knows the Midwest and Big Ten well from his time as an assistant at Butler and Nebraska.  He’ll end up with a head coach job one day, but would Indiana really be his first?

OTHER NAMES TO KNOW

While Indiana fans currently feel burned by the idea of hiring a mid-major coach, that is a path that has produced some of the game’s best coaches including Bill Self, John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski.

Ritchie McKay — The former Tony Bennett assistant has been on a roll at Liberty, amassing an 82-16 record over the last three seasons. McKay has led the Flames to their third straight ASUN regular season championship. Under McKay, Liberty has five consecutive 20-win seasons.

Joe Pasternack — Pasternack could have been included in the Indiana guys list too.  A former IU basketball manager like Dolson, Pasternack was recently named Big West coach of the Year.  He has four straight 20 winning seasons at UCSB and is headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Dennis Gates — Gates has turned Cleveland State around in just two years, winning back-to-back Horizon League Coach of the Year awards in the process. He wouldn’t be hard to find.  Gates will be coaching against former IU head coach Kelvin Sampson on Friday in Bloomington in a first round NCAA Tournament game.

Wes Miller — Miller time continues in Bloomington?  Mike Roberts’ former boss at UNC Greensboro has compiled a 125-42 (.748) record over the last five years and seems like a lock to land a high major job in the short term.


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