Doyel: Fred Glass knocks it out of the park with Archie Miller
By: Gregg Doyel
INDIANAPOLIS – This guy’s going to win huge at Indiana.
Hiring Archie Miller was a mic-dropping moment for IU athletic director Fred Glass, who needs to make like that dude from the Verizon commercial when he introduces Miller on Monday. Glass needs to show up for the news conference at Assembly Hall with a handful of microphones hidden all over his body, all ready to be dropped as he reads from the news release that announced the hire of Archie Miller on Saturday.
“At Dayton,” Fred Glass could say if he’s reading verbatim from the news release, “Miller’s teams won back-to-back Atlantic 10 championships and have won more than 24 games each of the last four seasons …”
(Glass drops mic, pauses, reaches over his right shoulder for another mic, keeps going.)
“… and reached four straight NCAA tournaments for the first time in the history of Dayton men’s basketball ...”
(Glass drops mic, pauses, reaches into his back left pocket for another mic, keeps going.)
“… including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2014.”
(Glass spikes his final microphone, glares defiantly around the news conference and moonwalks out of the room.)
You think I’m kidding here? I’m not. The only reason I’m not calling Archie Miller a home run hire is because that would insult the kind of tape-measure shot Fred Glass just launched. This home run is going to break windows all over the Big Ten.
There were any number of great hires Indiana could have made, don’t get me wrong. Chris Holtmann would have been great. Chris Mack. Tony Bennett. Not sure Indiana went after any of those guys. Not sure it matters, not anymore, because those would have been great hires, home runs into the deepest part of the ballpark.
But Archie Miller is a hire that lands somewhere in the third deck.
He’s perfect for IU, and I don’t throw around that word loosely. He’s young but has a great experience, he’s intense but has a great personality, he’s won a lot but … he’s going to win more at Indiana.
Look, this is a matter of math. Anyone who can make the NCAA tournament four years in a row at Dayton, can average 25.5 victories in that stretch, can go 5-4 in the NCAA tournament and can reach the Elite Eight? Well, anyone who can do that at Dayton can do that, plus a little more, at Indiana.
OK, maybe it’s not arithmetic. Maybe it’s atmospheric. Archie Miller has been sailing along at Dayton, a quality basketball school in a basketball town, but at Indiana he’s going to have gale-force winds at his back. No longer will Miller be recruiting to the fourth-biggest basketball school in his state, behind Xavier and Ohio State and Cincinnati.
Now he’s recruiting to Indiana. And he’s recruiting in Indiana. And this state’s going to love him.
You are, Indiana. You are, IU fans.
The fan base was torn asunder by Steve Alford, who was the Donald Trump of this IU election: The older guard, those wanting to make IU basketball great again, they wanted Alford. They wanted to remember how it used to be, and they believed Alford was the guy to bring it all back.
The younger crowd, those interested in creating tomorrow more than rediscovering yesterday, wanted nothing to do with Alford. They didn’t like his handling of the Pierre Pierce sexual assault allegations at Iowa, but also they didn’t like his resume. He won some at Iowa, yes, he did. Won some more at New Mexico. Won some at UCLA as well, but in 22 years as a Division I head coach had never gone past the Sweet 16. If he hadn’t played at Indiana, Steve Alford never would have been a candidate for the IU job. He’s good, but he’s not that good.
Archie Miller? He went to North Carolina State. Got the job at Indiana. Because he is that good. And he’s always been this good, or at least been believed to be this good. I’m speaking from experience here, because I was covering North Carolina State in 1998 for the Charlotte Observer when the Wolfpack signed a 5-9 shooter out of Beavers Falls, Pa., named Ryan Miller.
We were told to call him Archie.
Archie Miller came to N.C. State to play for his brother, who was on Herb Sendek’s staff with the Wolfpack, and to be groomed to become a head coach himself. Archie and his older brother, Sean, were born into a basketball family. John Miller coached his boys at Blackhawk High School, and he raised them to be coaches. All over the ACC, people knew. I mean, we knew. The Miller kids, they’re going to be monster coaches someday.
Sean Miller became one of the country’s youngest head coaches at age 35 at Xavier, then averaged 24 wins over five years, went to four NCAA tournaments, reached one Elite Eight. If he could do that at Xavier, what could Sean Miller do at Arizona? Put it this way: It took him just two years to return the Wildcats to the college basketball elite. They won 32 games this season. Earned a No. 2 seed. Arizona’s in great hands.
And now, so is Indiana. What Sean Miller did at Xavier? Archie Miller damn near duplicated it at Dayton. Go back and re-read that last paragraph, please. And then watch this:
Archie Miller became one of the country’s youngest head coaches at age 32 at Dayton, then averaged 23 wins over six years, went to four NCAA tournaments, reached one Elite Eight.
If he could do that at Dayton, what could Archie Miller do at Indiana? You’ll see. And you’ll see it soon.