Indiana parted way with Archie Miller on Monday, which opens a coaching job at one of college basketball’s most prestigious schools.
It’s also one of the most difficult jobs in the sport. Since Bobby Knight’s final season in 1999-2000, Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean and Miller have tried to fill those shoes. The Hoosiers reached the NCAA championship game in 2001-02, but they have made just three Sweet 16 appearances since.
The vacancy will attract all kinds of candidates from inside and outside the Hoosier State. It will be a major topic of conversation with several of those candidates coming to Indianapolis for this year’s NCAA tournament.
Sporting News looks at 10 candidates for the job.
Indiana Hoosiers coaching candidates
Beilein is one of the most sensible candidates given the track record — especially the impressive rebuild he pulled off at Michigan. The Wolverines have the second-highest winning percentage in the Big Ten since 2015, and that success has continued with Juwan Howard. Beilein reached the NCAA championship game in his sixth season. Beilein is 68 years old, but if he is interesting in returning to coaching he could turn the program around.
This is the home-run candidate. Indiana native? Check. Final Four credentials? Check. The 44-year-old has been with the Boston Celtics since 2013 and has taken the franchise to the conference finals in three of the past four seasons. Stevens has not been able to break through to the NBA Finals, and this might be the right time for a return to the college game. The Hoosiers have the eighth-best record in the Big Ten in the same stretch.
He is one of the best college basketball coaches of all time, and that has been reinforced with Iona’s run to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. Pitino’s track record of success at Kentucky and Louisville: seven Final Fours and two national championships. Of course, the stint with the Cardinals ended unceremoniously, and Indiana has dealt with NCAA violations since Knight left. There is no question that Pitino, 68, would have success. Would it be worth it?
Alford led Indiana to its last national championship as a player in 1987, and his name will always be associated with this job. Alford has led UCLA to the NCAA Tournament in five of six seasons, but the Bruins have yet to win a Pac-12 championship in his tenure. Alford’s son is a head coach in the state, and his hire would bring the program full circle back to the Knight days. He’s not the best candidate for the job. But given the expectations, he could be the right fit for the job.
Fife has been linked to the Indiana job before, and he checks some of those boxes, too. He played at Indiana, and he was an assistant coach with the Hoosiers from 2003 to 2005. A six-year stint with IPFW produced mediocre results, but he has spent the past 10 seasons as an assistant coach under Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Fife might be a fit for that job when Izzo retires. The 41-year-old also is a reasonable candidate for this job.
Would the Hoosiers go shopping for a coach in the Big 12? If so, then Drew, a Butler alum, would be the best fit. Baylor is a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and the Bears have only missed the Big Dance one time since 2013-14. Drew, 50, led Baylor to a pair of Elite Eight runs before that. It’s not a flashy hire, but sometimes those are the ones that work out best.
Boynton is off the radar, but it’s hard to ignore the quick success he enjoyed at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys play a fun style, and Boynton has been able to attract players such as Cade Cunningham to the program. Boynton is just 39 years old, but the track record of tournament success isn’t quite there yet. Would this be too big of a gamble for the Hoosiers?
Cheaney is another Indiana fan favorite, but his coaching career didn’t start until 2013. He made the quick rise through the G League, however, and this marked his first season as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers. This would be taking a page from Michigan, which has enjoyed success with Howard the past two seasons. Who wants to see Cheaney and Howard pick up that ’90s rivalry as head coaches?
Musselman is 42-18 the past two seasons with Arkansas, and the up-tempo style worked at Nevada, too. The .745 winning percentage should attract Indiana’s attention, and the 56-year-old has ample experience at both the pro and college levels. Musselman’s stock continues to rise, and he has shown at the past two stops that it doesn’t take long to build a winner.
Oats is one of the high-risers in the profession, and his career has launched with success at Buffalo and Alabama — which is No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament. He owns a .678 winning percentage as a head coach, and the 46-year-old will be a target for other major programs in the future. Could Indiana beat the rush? This hire comes with a monstrous buyout, however.