IU's decision: Even with a $10 million buyout, it's time to move on from Archie Miller
When Indiana hired Archie Miller 4 years ago, some predicted that he’d be able to return the Hoosiers to national prominence.
Maybe not the national titles of the past, but the consistent pursuit of Big Ten titles and Final Four runs.
Few, if anyone, predicted his tenure would be mostly dumpster fire, yet here we are. The end of Season 4 sees Miller overseeing a program that not only isn’t getting better but might be getting worse. The Hoosiers finished this year, one that was supposed to see them get back to the NCAA Tournament, with a 12-15 record. They’ll miss a Big Dance held in their own state, with some of the games played in their own arena.
Miller bears responsibility.
And IU should move on because of it.
There seem to be few other options for Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson. Miller can try to point to brighter days ahead for his Hoosiers, but it’s darn near impossible to see through the clouds. IU hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament under his watch. The Hoosiers have won 20 games exactly once and have lost at least 12 games in each of his 4 seasons. His record is 67-58 (.536), which means he’s won less often than Mike Davis and Tom Crean (.551).
His star player, forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, is a strong possibility to declare for the NBA Draft, and his freshman class, which was supposed to help pull the Hoosiers into the NCAA this season, didn’t materialize. Point being, 2021-22 might be yet another rebuilding year, even if Miller does stick around Bloomington.
In his 4 seasons at IU, Miller has compiled a 33-44 mark in the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament, (though they likely would have been in during the shortened 2019-20 season). But the number that sticks out the most — and might be the most damning — is this: 1,847. It’s been that many days now (and it’ll continue to increase during the offseason) since Indiana last beat Purdue in basketball, dating to Feb. 20, 2016. Now, those days aren’t all the responsibility of Miller, but the last 7 losses are.
Purdue is the dominant program in the state right now, with a tenured, proven coach who isn’t going anywhere.
That kind of losing streak gets coaches fired.
But Miller’s issues go beyond simply the numbers. There are style issues, too. While the Hoosiers, at least at times this season, embraced the style in which they needed to play — strong defensively, good on the glass, etc. — the margin was narrow because the offense was limited. In 4 years, Miller has barely recruited any shooters, an ongoing plague that has hampered Indiana’s ability to compete consistently with better competition. Forget finding the next Steve Alford. IU would settle for another Yogi Ferrell. The Hoosiers scored 50 on Thursday, when they were eliminated from the season by Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament, and it was a struggle to hit the mark.
Miller has a $10-million buyout, the remainder of his contract, if he is fired before the end of next season. It leaves Dolson, who wasn’t the AD when Miller was hired but was a major part of the selection process then as a senior administrator, with a decision to make.
Thursday night in Lucas Oil, as Indiana was poised for an early Big Ten Tournament exit that will likely end its season, fans rained down with chants of “Fire Archie.”
Miller might not have heard it then, but he possibly will hear similar from Dolson soon.