We are still trying to process the Tom Crean firing at CrimsonCast. There will be many podcasts about this whole situation in the future. But in the meantime, it’s time for a very early job board for the IU basketball job.
I have been unimpressed with the job boards that are currently out there. Most of them are either based on no information or bad information, and represent national media throwing darts, basically. We’ve tried to do our homework here at CrimsonCast, and here’s our early forecast for who’s really in the mix, and who’s not.
WHO IS NOT IN THE MIX
Gregg Marshall: The Wichita State coach is tremendously successful, and obviously talented. Word on the street is that he’s also a difficult guy to work with, doesn’t interface well with donors and fans, and isn’t terribly motivated to move away from what is a perfect situation for him in Kansas. Don’t expect him to have any traction in this search.
Archie Miller: This is a favorite name among IU fans, and for good reason — he’s done very well at Dayton and is an obvious rising star. But his focus seems to be elsewhere, and there are better options on the table.
Chris Holtmann: A really good choice – has Indiana history, doing a great job at Butler, would recruit the state very well. I do not see him entering the discussion unless a lot of people say no, and I don’t think a lot of people are going to say no.
Chris Collins: He would be a good choice, but Northwestern is willing to shell out cash for him to stay, and he doesn’t move the needle with the right people. Could be a stealth candidate but it’s unlikely.
Randy Wittman: If IU is going to hire someone from the IU family, it’s not likely to be the former Wizards coach.
Chris Mack: Would be a last resort kind of hire. This is a name being thrown in by lazy writers.
Dane Fife: Would be a fascinating hire for a number of reasons, but it would be shocking if he ended up in the actual mix for the job this time.
Other names: Will Wade, Kevin Keatts, etc…no. Not really worth discussing.
WHO IS IN THE MIX
(none of these are in any particular order)
Tony Bennett: Favored by a lot of IU fans and donors due to his style of play, which features low turnover rates and angry, efficient defense. Some fans see him as the logical stylistic successor to the Knight era for that reason. Turns some IU fans off with his slow offensive tempo. Would probably thrive in Bloomington due to a number of reasons, including improved recruiting, less stringent academic standards, and a weaker conference. Has done incredible things at Virginia, which is by no means a basketball powerhouse. Tournament resume is actually better than you’d think! (No, seriously, go look up his tournament resume at Virginia. It’s fine.)
Steve Alford: Has a lot of support among IU fans, huge support among donors. Hated by much of Twitter, partially due to legitimate concerns about his coaching and prior incidents, and partially due to the echo chamber of Twitter. Coaching resume is actually fairly impressive post-Iowa, if you look at it objectively. Has coached a top 5 offense and a top 5 defense in an 11 year span with two different programs. Would recruit the hell out of Indiana and the surrounding area. There may be too much baggage for the marriage to ever be consummated, and this would be the fourth time that he would be passed over for the IU job in his career. A polarizing candidate online, but not nearly that polarizing if you look at the overall fan/donor base.
Sean Miller: Has been stellar at Arizona. Can coach, recruit, and annoy Steve Alford. Seems to have a great thing going at Arizona, but has also been rumored for jobs out east in the recent past, and there’s a rumor that his wife is allergic to the desert. Would be a home run hire. Earns a LOT of money at Arizona (4 million plus), so that would need to be matched. Was rumored to have interest in the job the last time it was open, and of course wasn’t given an interview because of dumb reasons. Arizona is not as easy of a job as he makes it look — his recruiting base is in UCLA’s back yard, he doesn’t have a huge amount of local talent, so the program is kind of a west coast version of Kansas.
Billy Donovan: Lots of people say that this isn’t a plausible hire, but hear me out. Donovan was notoriously picky with his NBA shot. He accepted the Orlando job only to turn it down a day later and return to Florida. He turned down the pre-LeBron-return Cavs job and the Minnesota job because they weren’t the right circumstance. He accepts the OKC job because they have Durant and Westbrook, and they nearly win the Western Conference in his first year. Then Durant leaves, and now he’s stuck with a team that won’t ever finish better than 5th in the conference, and may see Westbrook depart early. You think Billy wants to have the rest of his coaching career handcuffed to a cheapskate franchise that has zero draw for free agents? If you can hire Donovan, you do it without blinking, or breathing, for obvious reasons that do not need to be repeated here. Plus he didn’t exactly shoot the idea down cold when asked about it. So we’ll see.