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College Sports: Indiana University Basketball

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posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 07:34 AM
So, Mike Davis resigns leaving an opening in what is [arguably] one of the most prestigious jobs in collegiate athletics. I'm one of those unabashed Bob Knight worshippers that consider his firing day one of the blackest days in sports history.

But he's gone, and apparently happy at Texas Tech, so we IU alums need to once and for all put all that behind us and move on.

Any thoughts on a likely candidate for Mike Davis's replacement? My dream choice would be Thad Matta, but I don't see him leaving the situation he's got at Ohio State, what with the money he's making and the recruits he's got coming in [from INDIANA!].

I'd be happy with Steve Alford from Iowa, the Ultimate Hoosier; former Mr. Basketball, NCAA champ at IU as a player, gold medal Olympian, gym rat, all-around golden boy. I'm not sure the admin would bring him in. He'd have instant power and I think the athletic department fears that.

I'm probably the only one who cares about this topic, but thought I'd throw it out there, since there's not much else on the sports horizon I really care about. The Colts let me down, the Pacers don't have a prayer to do much, IU probably won't even make the tournament this year, and I can't even begin to pay attention to baseball until after the all-star break.

posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 01:58 PM
I'm not a Knight fan, and I'll leave it at that, so we begin from a different point of view. And I liked Davis.

But I think you're right about Alford. There is a stereotype I have heard about him, much like what one hears about placekickers--i.e., that he's not a true basketball player, because "all he can do is shoot."

I think the people who say that are even less knowledgeable about hoops than I am, which is saying a lot. I also think most of them are racist in their assumptions and willfully blind.

Alford was like Magic and Bird--only not nearly as great, of course--in that god didn't give him the greatest athleticism in the world, but that his engine never stopped running for one nanosecond when he was on the court. And he always knew what was going on out there. Isn't that exactly the kind of guy who makes a great coach? Plus, because he wasn't a Magic or a Bird, he won't expect people to play up to that level--which has always been a huge problem with making tremendous baseball players managers, and probably is the same thing in basketball.

And, as you point out, he has instant legitimacy in that state. I'm sure that is of immense importance, because from everything people outside of Indiana hear, basketball is a religion there.

I hadn't thought about the matter until your post appeared, but really, who could be better for the job?


posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 07:45 AM
I understand, believe me. Lots of IU people don't like Knight, either. It's an association thing. My first year was Knight's second at IU, so I associate Knight with great teams and great times. For years after graduation, tournament time was a time my buddies and I all got together to watch the games. Knight was the constant. He's like that crazy family member everybody wants to hide, but he's family dammit, so you hang in with him. Absolutely no logical or reasonable foundation, it's all emotional. Plus, I happen to know personally some extraordinary things he's done that never got any publicity, because he never wanted any publicity for it. Believe it or not, he's a great guy who'll go to extreme lengths to help someone. But he's also capable of being a vindictive pr*ck if he thinks he's been crossed or taken advantage of. A teriffic guy to have as a friend. Not someone you want as an enemy.

Enough about My Main Man, The General.

Alford has an impeccable pedigree. His dad's a long-time coach (won the state high school championship with Steve playing guard). Steve lives and breathes B Ball, and has a stellar rep here. I think he could do a great recruiting job and although he's not what I'd call a coaching prodigy (like Knight) he's exactly what the program needs.

I like Davis, too. He's as nice, kind, and good a man as you will ever hope to know. But he was thrown into the deepest end of the pool with no experience or possible idea of what he was getting into. I fault the administration completely for giving him the contract. How the hell does a guy with -0- head coaching experience get the top job at Indiana? Think Gerry Faust times 10. At least Faust had run a successful high school program before getting the Notre Dame job. I could reiterate a number of bonehead things Davis has done, most of which were caused by his inexperience and apparent lack of that filter in the brain that results in his saying the first thing that pops into his head. But just one example. Right after getting the contract for multiple years, he said, at a press conference, his ultimate goal was to coach in the NBA! Now that may be true, and you can't fault a man for ambition, but how smart was that? You think every school he's competing with for recruits didn't use that against him?

So here we are. I think Alford's a perfect fit. I think he'd take the job if it was offered. I don't think the administration has the guts or the brains to offer it to him. I hope I'm wrong.

I think you make a good observation: How many really great pros made great coaches/managers? Bird did pretty good as a coach, taking the Pacers to the championship series in 2000, only to lose to the Kobe/Shaq Lakers. But he doesn't have the patience for it.

It should be interesting to see who gets the job. Given the last several hires IU has made (excluding Terry Hoeppner from Miami, Ohio for football, which I think was a great move), I'm not optimistic.

In the meantime, Go Texas Tech!

[Thanks for the comments, BHN. You always have great input].

posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 01:48 AM
And thank YOU, Yeah Right. For one thing, your input is always very well thought-out and intelligent. For another, I appreciate your praise a lot, but I know for sure not everyone agrees.

posted on Feb, 23 2006 @ 08:19 AM
Well that's ok too. Like my current signature on "the other forum" says, "The fellow that agrees with everything you say is either a fool or he is getting ready to skin you".

Agreement is boring. Discussion is fun. Press on.

posted on Mar, 11 2006 @ 12:10 PM
Indiana has a tough match up with #7 Ohio Stae today, can they pull off the upset?

posted on Mar, 11 2006 @ 02:34 PM
They should never have fired Knight.

posted on Mar, 12 2006 @ 12:54 PM
Couldn't agree with you more, Flounder. But I'm not rational on that topic.

Wow, that Ohio State game was a real nail biter. IU's been a second half team all year. When it was close at the half, I thought we'd pull it out. Two missed shots in the last 7 seconds, one of them an uncontested 12 footer. Woulda, coulda shoulda, didn't.

IU's shown all year that they have the horses to compete. Romped Kentucky, beat Illinois, Ohio State, played Duke & UCONN tough. But also went through a horrible slump. Losing DJ White to injury sure hurt. He played in the earlier game where we beat Ohio State, and we couldn't have come closer to beating them again, this time without White. Ought to be an interesting tournament. We could lose the first game, or do some serious damage into the late rounds.

posted on Mar, 16 2006 @ 10:02 PM

One helluva comeback in that game tonight!!!

I realize you can just as easily say, "Yeah, but we should never have HAD to make any kind of comeback in that game." And that's probably true, but the fact is your team did need--desperately--to suck it up and find a miracle comeback in them. AND THEY DID IT.

Way to go.


posted on Mar, 22 2006 @ 11:56 AM
Ok, I've calmed down sufficiently to re-address this topic. Although I'm pretty sure there isn't massive interest in it.

Alford's talking to Missouri, so he may or may not be considered for the IU job. Nobody on either side is saying. Other likely candidates include-

Mark Few from Gonzaga (who just bounced us out of the tournament)

Tom Crean from Marquette - Big 10 roots from Michigan State

Billy Gillispie from Texas A&M - Big 10 roots from Illinois

Randy Wittman from NBA, Orlando- former IU All-American and member of 1981 NCAA championship team

John Calipari from Memphis- he's got a good situation currently, but would the cachet of the IU job be irresistible? [I kinda hope not. He's too "Pitino" for me]

Rick Barnes from Texas - again, he's in a situation that would be tough to leave, but he'll always play second fiddle to the football team there. At Indiana basketball is king. And not just because the football team sucks.

Karl Hobbs from George Washington - a definite longshot. Would IU hire a coach from a mid-major? Some big school will grab him.

Billy Donovan from Florida- general consensus is he's looking to Kentucky if Tubby Smith leaves. But he'd have to give IU some serious consideration.

Brad Brownell from North Carolina - Wilmington. Indiana native from Evansville, played in high school with Calbert Cheaney and collegiately at DePauw in Greencastle. Another long shot.

Ron Hunter from IUPUI - has built that program up very well. Would be logical to at least talk to him since he's already "part of the family", but this is probably the longest shot.

My prediction is that the next coach will be from the above list.

[I'd include Rick Majerus as a personal sentimental favorite, but I think his health issues rule him out]

[Edited on 3/22/06 by yeahright]

posted on Mar, 22 2006 @ 02:55 PM
You don't think that it's just gonna directly go to Alford? That seems to be an already done deal...

posted on Mar, 23 2006 @ 07:47 AM
Nope, I think it's very far from a done deal. I'm not sure IU will offer him the job. I'm not totally convinced he'd take it if they did. It's possible, but not a done deal by any means. I don't think we'll know anything until after the tournament when some of the coaches still involved have an opportunity to be considered.

posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 10:40 AM
Okay, so much for my predicting skills. They labored long and hard and did an exhaustive search to find the most qualified and skilled candidate and came up with...Kelvin Freaking Sampson! Who, among other things, holds the distinct honor of being totally out-coached by ... Mike Davis in the 2002 tournament. Go Hoosiers.

This was supposed to be the "home run" pick that would unify the Hoosier Nation and heal the rift caused by the Knight firing. Apparently, IU was completely rejected by their top choices, i.e. Mark Few and John Calipari (among others), and apparently Randy Wittman and Steve Alford were never even contacted.

Rick Greenspan, the AD, was seemingly on a mission to take the program in a completely new direction, thus severing all ties with anyone having a relationship with Knight. Maybe that's understandable (to a degree) but if you're going outside the family, you'd better hit a homer. This is a slow trickler down the 3rd base line.

We wanted someone who could restore some luster, who would have an "in" with the high school coaches in Indiana, who had a name that would have some cachet and ability to recruit heavily in state. So we pick a guy who's focused heavily on juco recruiting?

Say what you want about Knight, but he's clean and graduates his players. Sampson's graduation rates are deplorable and he's under investigation for recruiting violations (500+ illegal phone contacts). He's had a reasonably good won-loss record, but he sucks in the tournament (11 appearances, beaten by a lower seed in 7 of them) and doesn't have a stellar record in the aforementioned graduation and ethics categories.

Maybe it's as good as we can do. Maybe the program isn't the desired destination it once was. Maybe all us Hoosiers are living in a dream world colored by past glory. But is this really the best hire? Mike Davis, as good a man as he is (and he is) never got it. Recruiting through the south and Texas, no real relationships in state, losing a LOT of in state talent, focusing on guys like Bracey Wright...etc etc.

I haven't been this bummed about sports and IU specifically since Knight was fired.

posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 02:37 PM
I hadn't even read anything about this until just now, shows how much the media is covering it (at least the internet media)

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 02:21 PM
Yeah, Gibbs. Nobody cares. Which should tell me something, right there.

I'm not saying Sampson's a bad coach, he's just not what I expected. But again, I can't be rational about it. Kinda like the guy dating your daughter. No way he'll ever be good enough. Of course, that's a reach to equate the two, but you get my point.

I'm an unabashed Knight worshipper. No matter who gets the job, they'll always fall short. It would have taken some of the sting out if someone with connections to the program had gotten the job, but I suspected it probably wasn't going to go that way.

I could tell you stuff about Knight that nobody knows that you would probably have a hard time believing. But that guy did things for people that would make you weep if you knew about them. I get a little choked up just thinking about it. If I was the Pope, he'd be canonized already.

Anyway, it is what it is. We [us Knight fanatics] just have to move on.

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 07:16 PM
YeahRight, you sound like me talking about Sundance (1979-1992), my 102-pound purebred, non-obese Golden Retriever (no, not Yellow Lab, and you read that right). I like dogs much better than people, and as much as I love my current Golden, she's not Sundance and neither she nor any other dog ever will be, and I've realized ever since that horrible night of October 3, 1992 that no other dog could ever measure up to him.

I guess Knight is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of American sports... which is a lot better than being Ty Cobb, Terrell Owens or a lot of other people, whom just about everybody hates. With Knight, people on both sides of the fence apparently have plenty they can point to. But his ability as a coach is irreproachable, as are his graduation rates--and to me, that stat is about as underrated a consideration as on-base average was in baseball prior to the 1980's, which is to say, it's huge. People used to actually LIKE Tarkanian, and I remember reading once that he had graduated something like 4 players in the past 15 years.

As soon as I heard whom Indiana hired, I naturally thought of you. And I thought this: Boy, this new coach has one immense burden on him. He'd better produce big results in the first year or two, or he'll get a quick ride out of town--on a rail.

I wonder if they even considered Alford, and if not, why not. Too young?


posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 08:45 AM
No, Alford's age had nothing to do with it. He never got a call and was never considered. The AD, Rick Greenspan, had decided to sever any association with anyone remotely connected to Knight. If you ever shook Knight's hand in a parking lot, you were disqualified. Alford never had a prayer for consideration.

This bothers me on many levels. They trumpet the "tradition" of IU basketball, then act to completely negate it. There were any number of ex players, assistant coaches, etc that wanted to at least give the benefit of their experience as input into the process. They were all roundly ignored. Instead, the AD spent $90k on a search firm out of Atlanta to assist with the hire. They came up with Sampson at $1.5 mil per with a 7 year deal.

I've got nothing personal against Sampson. By all accounts he's a capable coach, a hard worker, and gets his teams to play aggressively. But doesn't this describe any number of coaches? The comment was that his "issues" were addressed and he answered all questions to the search team's satisfaction. So we couldn't find a capable coach that didn't have "issues" necessary to be addressed? For the IU basketball job? At $1.5 mil per year? He'd better do more than win. He better get the in-state talent, be absolutely clean, and graduate his players. (I wasn't overly impressed with how Sampson treated the players that got a pot bust. Think Knight would have still let them play?) I don't like the way the process was handled, and I'm not doing cartwheels over the result.

So this is Greenspan's baby. He dumped on the tradition, cut all the old-timers out that might have had some input, and went on his own. Kids in this state used to grow up dreaming about playing for IU. Not any more. It's a sad situation for me, but there's no sense in fretting over it. I wish Sampson the best, but it's never going to be the same for me, no matter how well he does. And if he doesn't handle a few things differently than he has in the past, I won't be wishing him the best for long.

posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 02:19 PM
Dear Yeah Right,

Well, for whatever you think this is worth, I was born in 1953 and grew up in the late 1960's in the S.F. Bay Area. I also inherited the alcoholism gene from one or both of my alcoholic grandfathers. So, as you might expect, I smoked a great deal of pot and drank a preposterous amount of booze when I was young. It's been 26 years since last I drank, and some double-digit number of years since last I puffed, but I can tell you this with no doubt whatsoever:

Alcohol is a far worse drug than marijuana. Neither will harm you if used in moderation, but if used to excess, alcohol will hurt you A LOT worse. And that's really not open to rational debate. Any experienced cop or criminal lawyer (on either side) will tell you the same thing.

Now, if I were a coach and had a choice of which drug I'd prefer to have my kids use in moderation (if they insisted on getting loaded and breaking the law), I'd pick alcohol for the simple reason marijuana is hard on your lungs--even in moderation--and as a hoops coach, I'd be livid with any player who willfully compromised his/her lungs for kicks. But both drugs would be against the law for most of the kids, and both are clearly a bad idea. I sure can't see going livid over one and treating the other like it's no big deal--especially when alcohol is involved in approximately: 50% of all homicides; 55% of all traffic fatalities; 70% of all suicides; and 80% of all instances of domestic violence. (I didn't believe that 80% figure when I first saw it; after so many years of practicing criminal law, I want to know where the other 20% are....)

I have never, in either my personal or my professional life, heard of pot's provoking violent behavior. It does impair driving skills, but nothing like alcohol does. And that is from a lot of personal experience, albeit long ago, when I was an amoral young $@*#.

Now, if you think a coach is supposed to demand that his players not only absolutely and unquestioningly accept his rules, but also do the same with society's laws, that's another matter. But if so, I hope you're making the same rule for 18, 19 and 20 year old players who drink booze. Of course, we both know what the chances are they'll be busted, as long as they don't drive, but that's a separate issue.


posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 07:18 PM
Well, we're going a bit off tangent here, but I'll play. I was born in '54. My old man was a big drinker. Big. Like, really big drinker. I've always been a casual drinker, and still am. I had my share of binge drinking episodes in my younger days, but I've never felt compelled. I was at Indiana University in the early 70's when it was very much a party school, and pot (and other much less benign substances) were as common and easy to obtain, as soft drinks.

I personally never did do the pot (or other drug) thing, but I always did say I'd rather be around a bunch of stoners than a bunch of drunks. I never had an issue around the pot heads, but had more than one bloody brawl that was fueled by alcohol (or "false courage" as it's been called).

So I won't argue the evil of pot vs alcohol. I'm a libertarian. I think we ought to legalize all of it for persons of legal age, but that's yet another topic. Not likely to happen. Follow the money.

If you're going to school on an athletic scholarship, I believe you need to be held to a higher standard of behavior. After all, you're representing the university, for compensation, in a meaningful way, and like it or not your behavior reflects on the university. Now here's a bit of a hair-splitter. Agree or not, pot is illegal for everyone. Booze isn't. So there is a degree of difference, IMHO. My personal opinion is that a student athlete who is arrested (for whatever reason) and either convicted, or admittedly guilty, should be sanctioned by the coach. Sampson had a guy busted and he was playing in a game 11 days later. I believe this sends the wrong message, whether it was booze, pot, reckless driving, shoplifting, or whatever.

Kids do stupid things and should be given second chances based upon the situation. But I'm not seeing where Sampson treated this situation with the gravity I believe it deserved. And if that's the way he's going to run a program, he won't be here long. Us conservative midwestern rednecks aren't going to put up with that.

That was a long way around the barn to clarify that my statement wasn't as much about pot as it was about a violation that went relatively unacknowledged by the coach.

posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 08:11 PM
But do you agree the same should apply to his underage players who drink alcohol... whether the cops arrest them or not? As long as you agree with that, we're on all fours.


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