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IU fires Miller after 4 seasons

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After losing 6 straight to close the season, IU is looking for a new coach

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 27 Michigan at Indiana Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After four bleak, underwhelming seasons, Indiana is looking for a new head coach.

The university fired Archie Miller on Monday, ending one of the least successful coaching tenures in program history. According to a statement released by athletic director Scott Dolson, IU will pay for Miller’s $10 million buyout through “private philanthropic funding.”

In other words, the boosters really, really wanted him gone.

“As the Director of Athletics, I wanted to wait until the conclusion of the season before evaluating the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” Dolson said in a statement. “In the days following the completion of our season in the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, I have spent a great deal of time evaluating our recruiting, student-athlete development, leadership development, and playing philosophy and strategy. That review, combined with the on-court results, ultimately led me to conclude that a change in leadership of our program is warranted at this time. I shared my assessment with Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, and he accepted my recommendation.

“I want to thank Archie Miller, his staff, and their families for their service and commitment to IU and for his unwavering commitment to our student-athletes, the men’s basketball program and Indiana University. We wish Archie and his family all the best in the next steps of their journey.”

A hot name on the 2017 coaching carousel, Miller was viewed as one of the nation’s top up-and-coming coaches in the country when IU hired him from Dayton in March of that year. But in four seasons in Bloomington, Miller’s teams never finished with a winning record in the Big Ten, posting a conference mark of 33-43 and failing to finish above sixth place.

Though IU was viewed as likely to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament, the Hoosiers regressed in 2021, finishing with a 12-15 overall record and a 7-12 mark in Big Ten play.

IU has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2016.

Miller’s teams also went backwards in the one area that the coach promised to make a hallmark of his program: defense. According to BartTorvik.com, here’s how IU ranked in adjusted defensive efficiency in Big Ten play during Miller’s run as coach:

  • 2017-18: 92.8 (1st)
  • 2018-19: 96.4 (9th)
  • 2019-20: 94.9 (11th)
  • 2020-21: 96.8 (13th)

Offensively, Miller did not value shooters, and the Hoosiers never shot better than 32% from 3-point range or 67% from the free throw line in his time on the sideline. And with several major recruiting whiffs in recent years, Miller’s groups never formed any discernable identity on the floor.

Under Miller’s watch, the Hoosiers cobbled together a handful of notable wins, including two over Michigan State in 2019 and two over Iowa this past season. But it was IU’s failure to build off of those victories that ultimately undercut any notion of progress. During the past two seasons, IU never won more than two consecutive games in the Big Ten. Miller’s 2018-19 team lost 12 of 13 games in the league, and the 2020-21 team dropped six in a row to end the year.

At Thursday’s Big Ten Tournament game against Rutgers, with the Hoosiers playing in front of their fans for the first time this season, Miller was booed before, during and after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Indiana Basketball has a long, rich history of success that dates back generations,” Dolson said. “Our five national championships and 22 Big Ten titles make us one of the most accomplished programs in college basketball history. I have high expectations for our program, and we have not competed at a level within the conference or nationally that I believe we should.

“While I will not establish a formal search committee, I will consult within the University and with trusted experts in the state and around the country as I seek out and recruit a new coach. The work to find the next leader of Indiana Basketball will begin immediately, and I will seek a chief executive that I can partner with to reestablish the brand and national presence of Indiana Basketball.”

This story will be updated.