When Fred Glass announced the firing of Tom Crean, he told everyone that he wasn’t looking for someone that would “win the press conference.”
In retrospect, that statement was somewhat pointless.
Archie Miller won the press conference. Miller won the press conference by laying out a plan that values the history of Indiana Basketball, the importance of in-state recruiting, and the significance of non-conference scheduling.
“First and foremost, this is why you want to be at Indiana University right here if you're a basketball person.” said Miller. “Honored, my family and I, Morgan and Leah, are honored and excited to represent Indiana University in what we consider now one of the finest basketball traditions in all of college basketball.”
From the very beginning, Archie Miller approached the crowd with the goal of displaying why he was the perfect man for the job. This started with his reason for taking the job.
“The reason I'm here, and I really believe this, is the state of Indiana. You know, the state of Indiana in many ways is me. It's how I grew up. You know, I'm from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, right outside of Pittsburgh, and I'm the son of a coach who sat around all day long with a ball in his hands from about five or six years old, and the only thing that was ever preached to me was, you have to outwork everyone. You have to be the hardest working person or player every day.”
After approaching his reasoning for taking the job, Archie Miller made it clear that he had a plan. A plan that was highlighted by three folds, each of which containing something that an Indiana Basketball fan could harp upon and appreciate. The first fold was based upon appreciating the history of Indiana Basketball.
“The first level is obviously our past,” said Miller. “Every player, every former coach, every former manager that laid the groundwork for this place to be what it is today, we owe them a lot, and our effort level and our give-back has to be really unmatched, and they have to feel that they're a part of everything that we do, and our players have to feel that power. That's something we are going to really fight hard for.”
From there, Miller acknowledged the second tier to his plan. This was looking towards establishing relationships with his current players.
“The current, which is our current team, who sits before you,” said Miller. “They're our players. I didn't recruit them, and as I told them, they are my players. We invest in everything, and they all matter right now, and I think that there is value to every single individual on our team. They deserve the very best.”
Finally, Archie Miller addressed his final tier which is probably the most influential to the direction of Indiana Basketball. Archie Miller established from the onset that he wants to recruit “inside-out,” starting within Indiana before pushing outward.
“The last part of the level, the third level, is the future,” said Miller. “And the future is the recruiting. And we're going to have a great way about us, and the term that we'll use is called inside-out. We have to start inside this state of Indiana, and we have to start moving outside very slowly, because the footprint is there. The inside-out approach means that we have to dedicate ourselves to the high school coaches in this state, the high school talent in this state, the grass-roots programs in this state, and they must feel like they're being dominated by Indiana University. You're not going to get every player; you understand that. But if we want them, we should have a great chance of getting them because of the commitment level that we're putting forth 24 hours a day at home.”
When Miller was asked to expand upon his in-state recruiting mentality, he immediately pressed the tradition on Indiana High School Basketball.
“First of all, top-notch coaching,” said Miller. “I think that's the greatest thing about the state of Indiana is the high school approach, tremendous high school programs, starts all over the state, not just in Indianapolis, and you have tremendous talent all over the state. We all know that... I've had a couple instances to recruit the state in my time, all over the different parts of my journey, but every time I've ever went in and come out, you always get the same feeling of that is a high-level operation going on right there. It starts with the state of Indiana; it's going to go from the high school coaching, the high school talent, the grass-roots talent, and we have to invest a lot more of ourselves to get in return. We don't expect anything. We're going to have to earn a lot of respect in the state.”
When asked about his pitch to in-state kids, he expanded further on the way he is going to approach building relationships.
“Well, I think the way that their kids would be treated would be something that I would put down right away,” said Miller. “I think that we spend an abnormal amount of time with our guys, and not just on the floor but off, and care about their total development as a person. I think if you look at our time at Dayton, I think most of our guys would leave and say, I got the most out of that experience because they spend so much time, they work so hard for me on and off the floor and helping you in all your areas, and I think that's number one. They have to feel -- the state of Indiana has to feel when they give one of their sons to IU, they're going to get treated with the utmost respect and class, and they're going to deliver the very, very best they can for them.”
After laying out his three folds of focus, Miller moved to address some questions about some of the finer details of his job. First came his approach to non-conference scheduling.
“Well, the non-conference scheduling component is probably the second most important thing you do as a coach other than recruit.” said Miller. “Here at Indiana University, non-conference scheduling is about finding a way to put yourself in a great position in terms of seeding. You know, you have to be the master of creating a non-conference schedule that, one, creates great excitement with your fans; two, challenges you at the highest level as you enter the Big Ten; and three, puts you in a non-conference résumé that stacks up with the best teams in college basketball. That's what will be our goal.”
From there, Miller moved to the direction of his future staff.
“We're going to build the best staff in college basketball,” said Miller. “That's my goal...They're going to be diverse, versatile, completely eyes wide open at the level, and at the end of the day, they're going to be able to totally develop our guys.”
After that, Miller addressed once again why he chose Indiana over any other school.
“I never talked to one school in my six years at the University of Dayton other than Indiana University,” said Miller. “I think that speaks sort of volumes about the power of the brand of basketball. I'm a basketball guy. I love the Big Ten...I remember being in here and feeling the power of this building on that team, and I left saying, I wonder what it's like in there when they're really good. I've always come back to that.”
Lastly, Miller addressed his style of play. Miller wants to build a system that is aggressive and fast on both sides of the ball.
“Style of play for me is always on the run offensively,” said Miller. “I think the more we're on the run in the full court and the half court, which means a lot of movement and a lot of pace...it's going to be pace, it's going to be player movement, flow, and it's going to be an attacking, aggressive style...Defensively, it's something to take great pride in. We have to become a tough, nasty team on defense, and I think at the end of the day, if you looked at our teams at Dayton, we may not have been the biggest, but there wasn't very many days that I left that I said that's not one of the toughest-minded groups of people. We have to become a tough-minded group because to win at the level that we want to win at, you have to be able to beat different styles. You can't be one-dimensional.”
After that, it seemed undeniable. Archie Miller had won the press conference.
Indiana Basketball fans have a lot of expectations, and they always will. Those expectations are based upon the history of the program, and Miller showed from the very beginning that he understands that.
Archie Miller showed everyone that he understands not only the culture of Indiana, but also the expectations. Now is his time to take action on that understanding. Having a knowledge is one thing, but achievements are another.
That is why Fred Glass pulled the trigger and hired Archie Miller over every other option.
“By getting to know Archie, I'm even more confident than ever that he is the right coach, the right basketball coach for us to lead us to meet our very high expectations here at Indiana University, and I've got to say, Archie, after observing your first team meeting, I'm even more confident than ever that you're the right guy for us.” said Glass.