Indiana Basketball – AD Scott Dolson knows it may be more costly to retain Archie Miller, right?

Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson is going to earn his salary in a couple of weeks as he steps out on a skinny limb to either retain or replace Archie Miller.

Will Archie Miler be back for a fifth season as Indiana’s basketball coach?

Social media is filled with terse messages from angry IU fans who have had enough.  Last night, they wanted athletic director Scott Dolson to fire Archie as the team plane landed in Bloomington.  That did not happen, even after his program’s latest humiliation at the hands and dunks of Rutgers.

A small sect of reflective and sober fans understand that the Hoosiers have another three tests left in the regular season.  This bizarre team that has defied expectations – both good and bad – all year, and they might just run the table to land a spot in the NCAA Tournament and cool Miller’s seat.  It’s a long shot, but possible.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, Indiana will watch the NCAA Tournament on TV for the fifth straight year.  When Miller was hired, athletic director Fred Glass laid out the expectations for the program very clearly.  Indiana is expected to contend for championships – both Big 10 and national.  Obviously, they have fallen well short.  In fact, IU has gone five straight years without  a winning conference record.

Smart people will tell you that Miller will be tough to fire because of the buyout terms that will force the university to pay Miller every dollar owed him through the end of his seven-year contract if they pull the trigger.  That comes to a whopping $10.5 million to pay Miller to sit on the beach drinking Corona like Snoop Dogg.

During a normal year, IU could make some calls to raise that kind of bread.  Because of COVID, IU’s athletic department is already underwater by $40-$60 million.  That means they have already been working over alums to try to hold things together until they can better deal with the shortfall.

Simple logic – the kind best loved by media – tells us that waiting for Miller’s buyout to hit 50% after next season is the smart play.  That makes the nut a much easier $3.5 million, and with COVID restrictions mercifully evolving out of our lives, the Hoosiers could move on from Miller quite easily.

Sadly, collegiate athletics is not that simple.  If Dolson is hoping Indiana fans are willing to invest financially and spiritually in a team led by a mediocre coach they know will be replaced as soon as it is feasible, he is misguided.  That kind of short-term thinking may be more costly to IU than biting the bullet to finally hire the right coach for this program.

Not only will fans unplug from the program, so will recruits.  Miller as a lame duck might be the head shot that finally renders obsolete Indiana Basketball as we know it – or have known it.  Financial prudence might cause IU more longterm harm than Bob Knight‘s boorishness or Kelvin Sampson’s indifference to NCAA rules.  Rebuilding will be delayed by yet another year, and this fading jewel of a basketball program may never recover.

The balconies of Assembly Hall that sit empty this season because of COVID, may remain forever empty because of apathy.

These are perilous times for Indiana Basketball, and not just because the regular season is going to conclude with games against #3 Michigan, Michigan State team in East Lansing, and a Purdue team Miller has never beaten – at least not as Indiana’s coach.

My advice to Dolson would be to get basketball moving forward as quickly as possible.  If the timing is right to hire the coach to steer the program out of this forever circling mediocrity, hit the throttle and damn the torpedos.  If that coach isn’t available, ride out Miller’s fifth year while giving him all the authority he needs to elicit disciplined execution from a roster that appears not too worried about consequences for noncompliance.

And please do all of it without convening a blue ribbon panel of check writers to sign off on the hire.

23 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – AD Scott Dolson knows it may be more costly to retain Archie Miller, right?

  1. Arch Miller

    Kent these are truly down, forgettable years. Please exercise patience cause I ain’t going no where- Sincerely Arch

  2. Steve Hensley

    Players, lineups, opponents and schedules all change year to year but IU basketball results have been the same for 4 years now. Its time for a change. I vote for Mr. Dakich.

  3. Jimbob

    if the right guy is t there… take a chance on Dane Fife… coaching pedigree now after being at MSU, his work ethic and he is an IU guy… as a player guy had more toughness than what I have seen at IU in 5+ years

  4. Bear

    Hey, maybe we could entice Rick Pitino away from Iona. Or, maybe we could get Sampson back from Houston. What a score that would be! Or maybe we need a TV talking head, like Dan Dakich, a man who exudes talent, just ask him. Dakich had a shot, and the “powers to be” decided to select someone else.

    If anyone deserved to be fired, it should have been the list of AD’s at IU going back to 2000. Also, you might throw in a few of the stellar administrators, too. They blew it, big time. However, I do not hear anyone talking about them. It must be another media cover-up.

    The biggest mistake that these people made was that they attempted to suppress the tradition and history of the IU basketball program, a program led by a tough, “boorish” coach. The media hated him even though he was the most successful coach in Indiana history. The IU administration ignored selecting anyone remotely connected to the Knight Era. I guess that their reasoning was that Knight was guilty, so anyone connected to him was guilty, as well. Unfortunately, once you reject a tradition and successful history like this, you eventually lose everything. The public is not stupid.

    My recommendation to Dolson is to do nothing. Maybe five years from now, we will find some young man or woman who can lead players similar to that young kid from West Point. I doubt it, though. Be prepared IU nation, football is a pretty good sport, too.

  5. James LaDuke

    I am from the IU class of 1967, life member of the IU Alimni Association since 1967 & Varsity Club. I do think we need to pull the trigger & hire someone like a Rick Pitino or Kelvin Sampson if you want to win & be an elite basketball program once again. Brad Stevens would be great hire if possible. This is the state that loves our basketball!

    1. Gary Huff

      Absolutely, IU needs to do whatever it takes to go after Stevens. We have wasted time and money for over 20 years. Decide who we want and go after him relentlessly. Stevens is the guy period….

  6. Schmoe Joe

    Brad Steven’s, Dane Fife, Rick Pitino… Dan Dakich?! Are you guys insane? The obvious candidate they need to make the commitment to get is Chris Beard. This program cannot have another mild-tempered, calm mentality coach. It is destroying the energy in Bloomington. Chris Beard has that energy, passion, and on-court-success to revive the program from its lifelessness.

    1. Kerry Rentfrow

      I could not agree more. Beard is a Bobby Knight type coach and exactly what IU needs to bring back the “glory days” of Hoosier basketball. The others will just produce more of the same mediocre results that have left IU fans dejected and angry for so long.


    When they were looking for a coach when they found Archie Glass had mentioned money was no object. That had me fired up as I had visions of Donavan and Stevens dancing in my head. Instead they hire a guy with not much experience at the Big Ten level. The calls for Fife scare me as well. You are hoping he can coach…….you are just not sure he can. I can get IU a great coach and here is how. Give me two big suitcases of cash. I go up to Butler……give one of the cases to the administration to let me borrow AD Collier……give Collier the second bag and turn him loose. What is he……about ten home run hires in the last several years.

  8. Jerry Hayes

    I honestly believe we have the right man for the job. We have experienced many difficult situations over Coach Miller’s tenure., but the good times are right around the corner. I remember when a former Indiana basketball player said that Coach Kelvin Sampson couldn’t coach his young daughter’s team. Really? You do not want to let this coach get away! Mr. Dolson, you have the right man.

    1. Jeffrey Linderman

      Really, right around the corner?. Whats happened past 4 years. Ignoring that? You can’t. While I agree players are definitely part of the issue, can’t remove the players unless bench them. Coaches are the tip of the iceberg. What they do or say trickles down to the players. He has lost this team and they are totally clueless. Time to move on, even with having to pay him.

      1. Kerry Rentfrow

        I said he was a mistake the day they hired him. Dayton is NOT the big time. He has had ample time to prove himself and he’s blown it and everyone knows it. Are IU fans going to have to suffer through another year of this?

  9. Thomas Bishop

    Myles Brand has to be smiling. Indiana is right where he wanted it irrelevant. Most of us want to see a group of young men competing and getting better which we don’t see. The worst thing right now is social media. When season starts, talking heads are talking about what seed a team will get and who is on witch watch list. The NBA has ruined college basketball. Now it’s hard to know a team from year to year, it has become free agency. You used to watch a kid grow for four years.

  10. Jeff H

    Unless they can get a big name like Brad Steven’s, which isn’t going to happen, give Archie one more year and then cut the cord. I would put limitations on Archie. I would force him to hire assistant coaches that could fill the gap when they part ways like Dackich and Chaney. He would basically be the coach in name only just to get the buyout from $10M to $3.5M. He’s proven he isn’t the guy and IU had given him every chance to succeed.

    1. Archieneedstogo

      You’re going to force Archie to do something, are you insane. This guy doesn’t even change the starting lineup, hasn’t changed the free throw % of the team, hasn’t changed the 3 Point % of the team and hasn’t changed the overall record of the team, yet he’s gonna listen to Dolson…………….HA

  11. Archieneedstogo

    Archie is a stubborn SOB and so are some of you people that think he should get another year, ain’t nothing going to change. Heck I’d even bet nothing would change if he had a top 10 recruiting class, but guess what he has THE WORST recruiting class in the big ten. Simply awful.

  12. N Harris

    I’m sorry Kent, but the way this article is written is a joke to call journalism. It’s full of misleading and over dramatized statements.

    “Smart people will tell you…” Stop telling the reader what to think. How about lay out the data, stats, or facts of the matter and let them decided what is smart or dumb. This type of bias use of words is repeated in the article. Perhaps even give the reader competing view points and let them decide. Is this Fox News or CNN?

    “…university to pay Miller every dollar owed him through the end of his seven-year contract if they pull the trigger.” No IU won’t. Do some research and get your hands on the facts of the contract. Archie has to look for similar employment. This can be litigated if IU thinks he’s sitting around collecting his checks. If he does find employment that amount will be taken off dollar for dollar of what is owed to him. IU also has the right to spread the payments out over the rest of the remaining contract. They won’t pay him a lump sum. It’s highly unlikely that Archie would see half of that 10 mil. If you study Crean’s contract and how it played out it was similar.

  13. 3rdgenIUgrad

    Oh Mr. Sterling, “…IU will be watching the NCAA Tournament on TV for the fifth straight year.” No. No one watched the NCAA Tourney last year, it was cancelled. If it hadn’t been, IU would have played. As for the rest of you; Brad Stevens as IU coach? Well, that would be nice, dreamers…….but he’s winning where he is and apparently wanted to go to the NBA. Dan Dakitch? Seriously?! Dan Dakitch is a such a pig, he makes Coach Knight look like a leader of the Feminist movement! Chris Beard? Really? The difference between Chris Beard and Archie Miller is Beard has coached one more season at Texas Tech than Miller has at IU. Thus, Beard has one more losing season than Miller, and no good recruits to boot. Another would like to see cheaters like Sampson or Pitino coach at IU? Winning at all costs isn’t everything. Especially when your wins get vacated. I find Miller very frustrating, but he does seem to be getting good recruits who, for the most part, stay. His players seem to like him. If they could hit free-throws, they would be winning significantly more. If IU can’t get Stevens, and they can’t, give him another year.

    1. IU fan

      Are you serious?!? You’re comparing Beard to Miller? Beard has won Big 12 coach of the year twice, won the Big 12 title and taken a team to the final four. And how is this similar to Miller?


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