In this Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein gives instructions to players in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Cleveland. Cavaliers first-year coach John Beilein will end a rough season by stepping down after 54 games, according to multiple reports Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
- Indiana is looking for a basketball coach after firing Archie Miller last week
- Former Indiana star and current New York Knicks assistant coach Mike Woodson is the betting favorite to replace Miller; Thad Matta is also in the running
- The odds on who will be the next Indiana coach can be found below along with insight on the search
Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson has done a good job of preventing leaks surrounding his search for a new basketball coach.
No reports have surfaced of Indiana interviewing any candidates for the vacancy, which was created last week when Archie Miller was fired after four mostly so-so seasons on the job in which he compiled a 67-58 record. He also never took the Hoosiers to the NCAA Tournament.
One report claimed Indiana had offered the job to former Ohio State coach Thad Matta. However, Dolson quickly dismissed that notion.
Odds to Be Next Indiana Basketball Head Coach
Odds as of March 24th
Work to Be Done in Bloomington
Whoever winds up getting the job will have his fair share of work to do to get Indiana back on track.
The Hoosiers face-planted this season. They lost seven of their last eight games to finish 12-15, and fell to Rutgers 61-50 in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
The last game was ugly and chants of “Fire Archie” could be heard throughout Lucas Oil Stadium in the waning moments. Indiana led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but shot just 28% in the second half and missed nine straight field goal attempts at one point.
Indiana failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in any of Miller’s four seasons. However, the Hoosiers likely would have gained a berth in 2020 with their 20-12 record – despite losing eight of their last 13 games – before COVID-19 wiped out the event.
The next coach will also need to build bridges with the alumni and fans. One of the biggest knocks on Miller was he is inability to connect with the community.
Former Hoosier the Favorite
Former Indiana star and current New York Knicks assistant coach Mike Woodson has emerged as the favorite to replace Miller.
While Woodson, who played at Indiana from 1976-80, would be a popular choice among some of the school’s older alumni – read donors – it is a bit of a surprise that he is considered the top choice.
IU fans took time to remember his 63rd birthday Wednesday, even if it was in black and white
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the all-time greatest Hoosiers, Mike Woodson. A four-year starter from 1976-80, Woody remains top five in career scoring in IU history. #iubb @IndianaMBB pic.twitter.com/Qb5bQ6DiUH
— IU Artifacts (@IUArtifacts) March 24, 2021
Woodson has no college coaching experience. He does have plenty of pro experience, though, as he has been a coach in the NBA since 1996.
That includes stints as the head man with Atlanta Hawks (2004-10) and Knicks (2012-14). Woodson compiled a 315-365 record, and his teams made the playoffs in five of his nine seasons.
Woodson played for Bob Knight in college. There is a segment of the fan base who wants the next coach to have ties to The General, even though Knight last coached in Bloomington in 2000.
Other than that, there is little reason to suggest Woodson is the right fit.
The Next Tier
Matta had health problems during the final stages of his 13-season run at Ohio State that ended with him being fired in 2017. Oddly enough, Miller was once an assistant coach with the Buckeyes and he and Matta are close friends.
Matta’s resume should be attractive to Indiana. He had a 439-154 record during a combined 17 seasons at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, and reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times.
According to @IndianaRivals sources, Indiana and Thad Matta had agreed to a deal for Matta to become the next men’s basketball coach at Indiana but after failing his physical, the deal has fallen through.
— Rivals (@Rivals) March 22, 2021
However, in addition to the health issues, Matta admitted at the end of his tenure in Columbus that he was weary of corruption in the college game and found that recruiting had become an unsavory experience.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard makes sense here, especially if Indiana puts weight on the Knight connection. Beard was an assistant under Knight for 10 seasons at Texas Tech and has had plenty of success since taking over the Red Raiders’ program in 2016.
In five seasons as the boss, Beard has gone 112-55 and led his teams to three NCAA berths.
Chris Beard with an absolute monster air punch. Texas Tech is moving on! pic.twitter.com/BJbj0KsgdF
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) March 19, 2021
The next three names on the board also could be fits.
Dane Fife played at Indiana from 1998-2002 and has spent the past 10 seasons at Michigan State as Tom Izzo’s top assistant. Fife was also the head coach at Purdue-Fort Wayne for six seasons and had an 82-97 record before voluntarily taking a step back into an assistant’s role with the Spartans.
While John Beilein’s short tenure in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers was a complete failure, his credentials in the college game are unquestioned. He had a 571-325 record and 13 NCAA trips during 27 seasons at Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan.
Beilein has also helped savvy bettors turn a profit in March.
Most Profitable ATS Coaches in The NCAA Tournament since 2010
1) Dana Altman 15-4-1*
2) Jay Wright 17-7*
3) Andy Enfield 9-0*
4) John Beilein 16-8-3
5) Jim Boeheim 16-9*
*Team in 2021 Sweet Sixteenpic.twitter.com/e5nvZjfj5E
— Bets Stats (@betsstats) March 24, 2021
Loyola Chicago’s Porter Moser is the hottest name on the coaching circuit as he has guided the Ramblers to the Sweet 16 in this year’s NCAA Tournament after their improbable Final Four run in 2018. Moser seems very happy where at Loyola but it might be hard to pass up an opening as prestigious job as Indiana’s.
Will Indiana Make a Beeline for Beilein?
Indiana’s fans lost all patience with Miller and are not going to stomach a long rebuilding project under the next coach.
While Beilein is 68, he is still an energetic guy who knows how to win in the Big Ten as he guided Michigan to the Final Four in 2013 and 2018. He also has a warm and engaging personality.
At +600, he looks like the best value play here.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.