Calls for Archie Miller’s job are beyond silly – fans need to relax and let his plan play out

Chances are pretty damn good Archie Miller is just as unhappy with his teams uneven play as demanding fans.

Indiana Basketball struggled in last night’s loss at Rutgers in the same ways it has for the past two-plus years, and fans went wild on social media with calls for change.

Tweets from outraged fans responded to last night’s disappointing 59-50 loss at Rutgers with calls for outgoing AD Fred Glass to bow out as athletic director with a final act of accommodation for their ill-temper – “FIRE ARCHIE MILLER!”

Glass is as unlikely to fire Miller as he is to streak through the Union before slapping his bare ass on a booth at Nick’s to eat lunch and play Sink the Biz at a table of Delta Gammas.  He’ll stay the course with Miller because Glass is smart enough to not overreact to every bit of negativity that comes from petulant IU fans.

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Sane people can argue over whether Miller was the right hire in 2017 after Tom Crean was fired.  Maybe Glass should have brought in a coach from the Bob Knight coaching tree.  Maybe he should have cracked open the piggy bank to lure an unquestioned coaching great to IU.  Those conversations are reasonable.

What is not reasonable is any chat about IU Basketball that begins with “Archie Miller needs to be fired!”

I get it.  Fans are angry, and they want change.  They want accountability.  They don’t want to hear calls for patience as Miller rebuilds by recruiting to a culture rather than the measurables and raw talent Crean craved.

Fans see poor shooting, sloppy ball handling, and players lost on the defensive end, and they want improvement right away.  They hear Miller talk about how his team’s shooting stats are poor because of shot selection.  They hear Miller explain how difficult it is to win on the road. Their blood pressure explodes with every excuse.

Wisdom calls for patience, and so do pragmatic concerns.  Here’s what happens if Glass acts upon the counsel of crimson-faced fans:

  • Potential candidates would shun IU as a school serious about winning the right way.
  • Another coach with another system comes in to rebuild through recruiting.  That resets the clock from the middle of year three back to year one in a rebuild.
  • Indiana has to pay 100% of its remaining obligation to Miller, whose contact runs four additional years after this one.
  • Miller could still be the right guy for the job, and firing him would be regretted for generations if that’s the case.

There are another dozen downsides to turning Miller loose.  The upside?  Crazy fans feel good for 15 minutes before realizing a dire mistake has been made.

So let’s dial back the rancor and see Indiana Basketball for what it is – a program in the midst of a battle among two different factions; Crean recruits and Miller recruits.  Nothing against either of these groups.  They are just built differently as basketball players.

As a result, there is discombobulation – an obvious disharmony that corrupts IU’s ability to be a cohesive unit.  The seniors were Crean guys, and they can’t lead the Miller guys who understand success has to wait for them to cycle out.  Everyone tries, but in their own specific ways.  It’s miserable to watch, and likely worse to participate in.

Miller’s decision to try to retain the Crean guys was made to help IU win as many games as possible while the cultural change occurred over a four-year period has resulted in mediocrity.  That isn’t as bad as it could have been.

No one wanted to go through another season like 2008-2009, right?

The news isn’t all bad for IU.  Indiana high school kids actually want to play at IU for the first time in almost a decade, and that has led to Mr. Basketballs pledging IU in consecutive years for the first time since Pat Graham and Damon Bailey won the award in 1989 and 1990.  IU might land a third if Bloomington South’s Anthony Leal wins.

I’m not saying IU will definitively turn the corner in 2021-2022, but the odds of that happening with Miller as the head coach are much better than we Glass goes nuts and listens to the impatient rantings of angry Hoosier fans.

A new coach would bring a new era with the same old problem.  Take a deep breath and watch with hope for the present and the future.  That hope is better invested in Miller than any near-term alternative.

8 thoughts on “Calls for Archie Miller’s job are beyond silly – fans need to relax and let his plan play out

  1. David Phoebus

    Kent, I agree with you when I’m sitting down and my blood pressure returns to normal but:

    Break the struggle between old and new by putting old on the bench. Let the new guys learn by experience not by being frustrated by the old. What are we gaining with our current process?

    This is a $3 million dollar coach not a young coach learning along with the team. Shouldn’t we expect more?

  2. Doug Anderson

    I am not smart enough to know if Archie is the right man for the job but I certainly hope so. Two questions for you Kent, if memory serves me right didn’t Glass say while they were looking for a coach that money was not an issue? (Which leads me to wonder why they went with a coach who had not coached big time ball) 2. Do you know why Schilling was let go? ( It seemed everyone thought it was home run when Archie brought him in) One final thought, and once again I am neutral on Archie being the guy or not. If he isn’t can’t we just sub out looking for our next coach to the AD at Butler? What is he……..about 99% home run hires on the last 7 coaches?

  3. John

    Archie has never ever had a good shooting team, if Kent would do his due diligence and look at team field goal % he would see that Dayton, under Archie, never shot better than 45%. He was able to win a little at Dayton .688 with good not great but good defense and fast break offense. This doesn’t work in the big ten, too many good shooters, coaches and ball handlers. Archie could win lots of games at IU but his average recruiting and lack of offense will never let him dominate.

  4. TJ

    I was on board early mainly his reputation and the clap and tan Crean circus. Then I was not a fan. Now as I watch this team game to game I have realized this team would struggle no matter who is the coach. Their basketball skills and knowledge are limited at best both ends of the floor. No defense can’t shoot you lose in The Big 10 or anywhere else. I think we have to let Archie’s plan play out. Inside out is the right way to build. Knight won for many years with Indiana kids . Archie was on everyone’s hire list. Restart would be stupid.Plus Archie’s contract has us locked in. No body hates losing more than me. Indiana kids are now wanting to play at I.U. again.PROGRESS ! We just have to suck it up. I do wonder why Bybee walk on PURE SHOOTER is not getting a shot.

  5. Sum Ting Wong

    ‘Let him play out his plan’ is loser talk. You dont have 5 year plans in college badketball. Ask Coach K or Calliperi about their plans. They lose more talent to one and dones than we ever have. We simply run around the court with no clue.

    Fire this asshat.

    1. Jose

      agree with Sum Ting Wong. Especially after this last Saturdays performance against Purdue, at home. Embarrassing to the fans, and University. Players look dazed and confused and Painter clearly out coached Miller again. That’s 4 straight losses to Purdue under Miller.

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