Let’s Speculate! Potential Indiana head basketball coach candidates
Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.
Today’s program is Indiana, coached for the last four seasons by Archie Miller (fired on March 15).
- Brad Stevens – Boston Celtics head coach
- Stevens is the dream scenario for Hoosier fans, who have wanting to get Stevens to Assembly Hall since he led the Butler Bulldogs to back-to-back National Runner-up finishes. He’s an Indiana guy who played at Zionsville HS and DePauw before starting his coaching career at Butler as volunteer in 2000. Stevens shocked the basketball world when he took the Celtics job back in 2013 but he has had a lot of success with the franchise during his tenure. The one hump he hasn’t been able to get over is winning an Eastern Conference final, but he continues to show his knack for getting the most out of the talent that he has. Will he quit the Celtics for IU, which has been reported to be his “dream job?” IU would gladly wait out the rest of the NBA season for Stevens.
- Chris Beard – Texas Tech head coach
- When looking for guys who are established in the college game and have ties to the Indiana program, Beard is perhaps the most impressive candidate. Took over a downtrodden Texas Tech program in 2016 and was National Runner-up just three years later. Beard may not have the geographical ties that many Hoosier fans want, but he has one thing that many will love: a direct tie to Bobby Knight, whom Beard worked under for seven years when Knight was at Texas Tech. Beard has won at literally ever stop in his career and there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t get things quickly rolling in Bloomington.
- Nate Oats – Alabama head coach
- Another guy with a reputation for quick and impressive turnarounds. A Midwest-native, Oats turned the Buffalo Bulls into the toast of the MAC in just a couple years at the helm before taking the Alabama job in 2019. Since arriving in Tuscaloosa, Oats has led the Tide to their first outright SEC title since 1987, first SEC Tournament crown since 1991 and their highest NCAA seed (#2) since 2002. That is the type of quick turnaround that Indiana and its fans are looking for.
- Scott Drew – Baylor head coach
- The job that Drew has done in his many years at Baylor is nothing short of miraculous, as he stepped into one of the worst situations in college basketball history back in 2003. To take a completely decimated program and turn it into a consistent national contender and now a Big 12 Champion and NCAA Tournament 1-seed is about as impressive as it gets. Drew is the son of long-time Valpo head coach Homer Drew and spent the first ten years of his career at the school, including a 20-11 record in his lone year as the Crusaders’ head coach. Bringing Drew back home to the Hoosier state makes a lot of sense, though if he wins a national title this year with the Bears he may want to keep it rolling in Waco.
- John Beilein – former Michigan head coach
- Beilein is a winner and a program rebuilder, having done both at Michigan, West Virginia, Richmond and Canisius. He has over 750 career head coaching wins, has been to 13 NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the Sweet Sixteen seven times and finished as NCAA Runner-up in both 2013 and 2018. At 68 years old, we’re willing to bet Beilein would like one more coaching gig so that the failed stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers is not the other bookend to his career. Age is certainly a concern, but in this case it might be a plus if Dolson is looking for a short-term solution while trying to figure out timing with Brad Stevens. Something to consider.
- Porter Moser – Loyola Chicago head coach
- The 2018 Final Four was certainly no flash in the pan, as Moser has the Ramblers back in the Big Dance this year by way of another MVC title. Moser (and Sister Jean) burst onto the national scene when Loyola made their magical run three years ago but what’s more impressive is the sustained success that he has built within the program. He will be mentioned for the DePaul job, but frankly Moser could get a much better job if he holds out.
- Thad Matta – former Ohio State head coach
- Matta has been out of coaching since 2017 but was incredibly successful during his 13-year tenure at Ohio State. The Illinois-native and Butler-grad also coached (and won) at Butler and Xavier and has a better resume than pretty much anyone on this list. He cited health reasons when he resigned from OSU four years ago, but if he is looking to get back into the game at 53 he could be a great choice for Indiana.
- Steve Alford – Nevada head coach
- No list of Indiana coaching candidates is complete without mentioning Alford, one of the most famous Hoosiers in program history who has carved out an impressive coaching career. A notable segment of the fanbase would absolutely love to see Alford take over as head coach, but questions about his ability to be successful in March (namely his underwhelming postseason records at UCLA and Iowa) put him on the lower-end when it comes to basketball resume. Things have gone decently well so far at Nevada, but the 4 Sweet Sixteens (and 0 Final Fours) in 11 NCAA Tournament appearances keeps hanging over his head.
- Dane Fife – Michigan State assistant coach
- Not the best resume, but certainly a fan favorite – former Hoosier Dane Fife could make sense of Indiana right now. It’s just a matter of time before the Sparty assistant takes another head coaching job (he’s reportedly turned down a couple over the last few years). He was an assistant at IU for two years before getting the head coach job at IPFW at just 25 years of age. After six years in Fort Wayne (82-97), Fife took a job at MSU to learn from and work under the great Tom Izzo. Now 41, Fife has garnered interest from a number of mid-majors across the country.
- Mike Woodson – New York Knicks assistant coach
- Woodson is another IU guy who played for Bob Knight and has worked in coaching since his playing career ended. He’s well-respected in NBA circles and has worked with a number of big names, which helps with the fact that Woodson doesn’t have much name recognition on his own. He’s also never coached at the college level, so he would need a strong staff of experienced collegiate coaches to help build the program and recruit. Other programs have had success pulling alumni from the NBA to coach in college, but Woodson may not have the same gravitas as Patrick Ewing or Juwan Howard do with HS recruits.