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It's Time........Hire Dane Fife!


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Now, before you all start thinking that Fouls has taken one too many frying pans to the side of the head, hear me out.

The more I think about what Stevens said in his little presser, the more I've convinced myself that he either does not 'get' what IU means, or he does not want any part of it.  Either way, I think 'getting' it and 'wanting' it are both pre-requisites of the job.  I don't think Archie ever had either of those things.  I think Crean wanted it, and got it to a degree, but even he fell short of fully understanding what it took (see his relationships with in-state high school coaches).

All that said, can we really expect guys like Chris Beard or Eric Musselman to both get it and want it?  I think we would run the risk of both of those guys falling short in one or the other of those things.  Thad Matta probably gets it, but does he want it.  Good chance he doesn't.  Beilein, like Crean, probably has a good foundation of understanding what it would take, but also like Crean, he has some built in flaws that would prevent him from ever truly succeeding.

So, who out there would both 'get' it and 'want' it?  A former IU player.  That's who.  And, with all due respect to guys like Cheaney, Smart, Wittman, and Woodson, they have been away from the college game too long to understand what it would take to succeed with today's player.  So, who does that leave?  Guys like Fife and Lewis.  I'm going to give the edge to Fife because he's been working in the Big Ten all this time.  And, while Lewis has some Big Ten experience with Nebraska, Fife has more in his tenure with Michigan State.

Would Fife be a risk?  Absolutely.  But, assuming he has the best chance to both 'get' it and 'want' it of all the names being tossed around, he might just possess the most upside as well.  And, if after talking to him, Dolson has reservations, then look towards Lewis.  

I've never felt it was necessary to have an IU guy.  But, after listening to and absorbing what Stevens said, I've changed my mind.  Sure, Beard or Musselman may be attracted to the money.  And, they may be drawn to the banners in the rafters.  But, would they truly understand what Indiana means?

Throw your rocks.  I've got thick skin.

Edited by 5fouls
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Knight wasnt an Indiana guy. Came in after 2 banners hung and changed every thing. But what did Knight do the 4 coaches since him didnt do? He WON!! Winning fixes a lot. It doesn't have to be an Indiana guy, just a coach that can win games. Now the University admin are the ones who need to get it. Start treating the former players with respect. You know they only get 2 tickets twice a year to games. And most of the time the seats arent very good. The former players need to be in the hall when ever they want sitting behind the bench. I dont know what the right answer is, former player or not, i'm tired of bad coaches and lazy players that quit.

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I've never subscribed to the "Indiana guy" argument.  I see no correlation with coaching at your alma mater and success.

One thing I would say in Fife's defense, however, is that arguably the two most successful Big 10 coaches in the new millennium were very unspectacular hires. Bo Ryan and Tom Izzo were far from proven commodities.  I'm guessing their strength as candidates was based on references, rather than record.  

If you have good sources that say Fife is Izzo's most trusted assistant both x's and O's and as a recruiter, maybe.  And, within reason, I'd like to know that he has a good report with the players.  

But overall, Fife would leave me pretty underwhelmed as a fan.  And I would probably prefer the mid-major flavor of the month over him.  It could still work out for sure, but I'd be skeptical.

 

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In regards to Knight not being an IU guy, it did not mean as much then because Knight is the one that created the IU image as we know it today.

As far as being underwhelmed, my best defense to that argument would be to ask you to reread the original post.  The basis for my argument is in that post.  I acknowledge it would be a risk, but also think there are risks with all the options that are being discussed.

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I just don't get it at all.  I can't get into hiring a guy solely based on him being an IU guy.  We need the best coach we can get.  I do agree that it is possible Fife could be the guy.  I also think it is very possible he is not ready.  We can't afford that risk at this point.  I really do keep asking this question hoping to understand the IU guy side... what is the thought on how "getting the IU culture" will bring us back?  Is it Fife telling the team constantly, "Well, when I played for Coach Knight..."  or "You guys need to play the Indiana way."  I just don't see how that makes a coach better than one who has experience and success.  

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Although not a necessary factor, being an "Indiana Guy" especially with IU's long successful history can be important.  It can give instant credibility both with the fan base and Indiana HS coaches and players that can be immensely helpful.  This is multiplied if the prospective coach has some natural charisma and leadership.  Fife scores some points here.

I would note that Dolson says he wants a "cutting edge" offense that is fun to watch and attractive to recruits.  He makes it clear that he is talking about an NBA type offense (sorry Scott).  He says he's open to some one that wants to do that.  I'm not sure that Fife would be in this category.

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17 minutes ago, slojoe said:

Although not a necessary factor, being an "Indiana Guy" especially with IU's long successful history can be important.  It can give instant credibility both with the fan base and Indiana HS coaches and players that can be immensely helpful.  This is multiplied if the prospective coach has some natural charisma and leadership.  Fife scores some points here.

I would note that Dolson says he wants a "cutting edge" offense that is fun to watch and attractive to recruits.  He makes it clear that he is talking about an NBA type offense (sorry Scott).  He says he's open to some one that wants to do that.  I'm not sure that Fife would be in this category.

So, it's not really even about me trying to be combative, I really am trying to understand.  Why would Fife or Alford or Woodson for example give instant credibility with anyone other than maybe the old fanbase?  Not the younger generation.  I don't understand why the players who barely know who they are.  Maybe IN HS teams?  Maybe.  But those coaches are probably too young too and why would they care that the coach went to IU?  I am just trying to understand the theory.  We really think Fife, Alford, or Woodson would command instant respect and get the players to buy into IU culture from 30 years ago?

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2 minutes ago, NCHoosier32 said:

So, it's not really even about me trying to be combative, I really am trying to understand.  Why would Fife or Alford or Woodson for example give instant credibility with anyone other than maybe the old fanbase?  Not the younger generation.  I don't understand why the players who barely know who they are.  Maybe IN HS teams?  Maybe.  But those coaches are probably too young too and why would they care that the coach went to IU?  I am just trying to understand the theory.  We really think Fife, Alford, or Woodson would command instant respect and get the players to buy into IU culture from 30 years ago?

I don't necessarily mean buying into the 30 year old IU culture.  I didn't even mention the IU culture.  I'm talking about buying into what the coach is selling.  Again it's not the only factor, but it can be one.  Every coach has to get his players to buy in.  In the IU job you need to do it for your recruiting base which in Indiana which is one natural advantage of the IU job. 

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At this point I am glad to have had a few days of hope and excitement about the program, but I can't think of any hire that will bring that optimism of "We're Back" like Stevens would have.  Whoever Dolson gets may very well be the next great coach that leads us to the promised land, it just will take a lot of time before I feel those feelings again. Stevens would have been an instant hit of adrenaline. Fife could be the guy, only time will tell.  Here is my big concern; will the fan base turn into someone like 5fouls who keeps trying out a new wife, but deep down, lying in bed in the darkness, be dreaming about the one true love, the one that got away.  (Sorry Fouls, it seems apropos)  Imagine being a coach who knows that IU fans say "I do", but when we are at the height of our frenzied passion there is the sinking suspicion that we are all picture the face of another.  As we try to avoid eye contact with him, he mutters "Did you just call me Coach *****ing Stevens?"  We try to rationalize and deny, but the truth is out, leaving a semi-functional but broken relationship that is maintain only for the good of the players. We'll just carry on like nothing happened until they graduate and move out of the hall. Sure, there are occasional moment when we are reminded why we hired them in the first place, but in those quiet times, our minds wander and we find ourselves sitting alone in our car, down by the by=pass, crying our eyes out while listening to, and desperately trying to sing along with, "One Shining Moment".  

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I don’t necessarily buy into the “IU Guy” mantra. If resumes were the same and one candidate was an “IU Guy” then yes I would say that would give someone a leg up. But to try to sell ourselves on the idea that Dane Fife would make a better candidate than say Beard based solely on that notion while Beard clearly has a better coaching resume is a stretch. And if we want to go down that road Beard has coaching experience with Coach Knight clearly making him the only candidate that should have ever been considered. Hahaha! No but seriously at the end of the day it should start and stop with someone who can coach at the highest level and I believe that Beard ha stage strongest case for that. If you can coach and win games a lot of the other stuff will work itself out. 

 

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1 hour ago, NCHoosier32 said:

I just don't get it at all.  I can't get into hiring a guy solely based on him being an IU guy.  We need the best coach we can get.  I do agree that it is possible Fife could be the guy.  I also think it is very possible he is not ready.  We can't afford that risk at this point.  I really do keep asking this question hoping to understand the IU guy side... what is the thought on how "getting the IU culture" will bring us back?  Is it Fife telling the team constantly, "Well, when I played for Coach Knight..."  or "You guys need to play the Indiana way."  I just don't see how that makes a coach better than one who has experience and success.  

I think it means understanding the expectations of the fan base.  The last week with Archie's firing and the Stevens drama are perfect examples.  What happened in Hoosierland this week does not happen with 99% of the programs in the country.  Of all the names thrown on the board that aren't IU guys, Rick Pitino is probably the only one that has a true understanding of what to expect.  And, IU honestly can't hire him.  

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36 minutes ago, IUDan93 said:

At this point I am glad to have had a few days of hope and excitement about the program, but I can't think of any hire that will bring that optimism of "We're Back" like Stevens would have.  Whoever Dolson gets may very well be the next great coach that leads us to the promised land, it just will take a lot of time before I feel those feelings again. Stevens would have been an instant hit of adrenaline. Fife could be the guy, only time will tell.  Here is my big concern; will the fan base turn into someone like 5fouls who keeps trying out a new wife, but deep down, lying in bed in the darkness, be dreaming about the one true love, the one that got away.  (Sorry Fouls, it seems apropos)  Imagine being a coach who knows that IU fans say "I do", but when we are at the height of our frenzied passion there is the sinking suspicion that we are all picture the face of another.  As we try to avoid eye contact with him, he mutters "Did you just call me Coach *****ing Stevens?"  We try to rationalize and deny, but the truth is out, leaving a semi-functional but broken relationship that is maintain only for the good of the players. We'll just carry on like nothing happened until they graduate and move out of the hall. Sure, there are occasional moment when we are reminded why we hired them in the first place, but in those quiet times, our minds wander and we find ourselves sitting alone in our car, down by the by=pass, crying our eyes out while listening to, and desperately trying to sing along with, "One Shining Moment".  

Spot on

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49 minutes ago, NCHoosier32 said:

So, it's not really even about me trying to be combative, I really am trying to understand.  Why would Fife or Alford or Woodson for example give instant credibility with anyone other than maybe the old fanbase?  Not the younger generation.  I don't understand why the players who barely know who they are.  Maybe IN HS teams?  Maybe.  But those coaches are probably too young too and why would they care that the coach went to IU?  I am just trying to understand the theory.  We really think Fife, Alford, or Woodson would command instant respect and get the players to buy into IU culture from 30 years ago?

Absolutely yet another great post. A Fife has ZERO, cred to step into a family room with a 4 star recruit and gain an ear. ZERO. He lands a recruit with a dad or grandpa who’s a life long IU fan and is still talking about the last national title team from 2002...19 YEARS ago. And that recruit is some 2-3 star prospect we are trying to peel away from Archie Miller where ever he lands.

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5 minutes ago, BADGERVOL said:

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Seriously tho at least it would be a different approach. But my gosh it just has “bad idea based solely on emotion and not reason”....written all over it.

No emotion at all factored into the original post.  I came to a personal conclusion that being a good coach does not mean that one can be a good coach at Indiana.  And, when someone who grew up in the state either does not understand it, or wants no part of it, how can we expect Chris Beard or Eric Musselman to get it.  Kelvin Sampson didn't.  Archie miller didn't.  Tom Crean did to a degree, but miscalculated in a couple of key places.

I'm not advocating an IU guy just to advocate an IU guy.  We know what Steve Alford can do, and it's not good enough.  But, Bob Knight was unproven when he first took the job,  Fife could be another Knight or end up being another Archie Miller. But, so can Chris Beard. 

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12 minutes ago, BADGERVOL said:

Absolutely yet another great post. A Fife has ZERO, cred to step into a family room with a 4 star recruit and gain an ear. ZERO. He lands a recruit with a dad or grandpa who’s a life long IU fan and is still talking about the last national title team from 2002...19 YEARS ago. And that recruit is some 2-3 star prospect we are trying to peel away from Archie Miller where ever he lands.

What cred did Chris Beard have the first time he walked into a recruit's home?  Fife has been a long time assistant for a much better program than Beard ever was.

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3 hours ago, 5fouls said:

Now, before you all start thinking that Fouls has taken one too many frying pans to the side of the head, hear me out.

The more I think about what Stevens said in his little presser, the more I've convinced myself that he either does not 'get' what IU means, or he does not want any part of it.  Either way, I think 'getting' it and 'wanting' it are both pre-requisites of the job.  I don't think Archie ever had either of those things.  I think Crean wanted it, and got it to a degree, but even he fell short of fully understanding what it took (see his relationships with in-state high school coaches).

All that said, can we really expect guys like Chris Beard or Eric Musselman to both get it and want it?  I think we would run the risk of both of those guys falling short in one or the other of those things.  Thad Matta probably gets it, but does he want it.  Good chance he doesn't.  Beilein, like Crean, probably has a good foundation of understanding what it would take, but also like Crean, he has some built in flaws that would prevent him from ever truly succeeding.

So, who out there would both 'get' it and 'want' it?  A former IU player.  That's who.  And, with all due respect to guys like Cheaney, Smart, Wittman, and Woodson, they have been away from the college game too long to understand what it would take to succeed with today's player.  So, who does that leave?  Guys like Fife and Lewis.  I'm going to give the edge to Fife because he's been working in the Big Ten all this time.  And, while Lewis has some Big Ten experience with Nebraska, Fife has more in his tenure with Michigan State.

Would Fife be a risk?  Absolutely.  But, assuming he has the best chance to both 'get' it and 'want' it of all the names being tossed around, he might just possess the most upside as well.  And, if after talking to him, Dolson has reservations, then look towards Lewis.  

I've never felt it was necessary to have an IU guy.  But, after listening to and absorbing what Stevens said, I've changed my mind.  Sure, Beard or Musselman may be attracted to the money.  And, they may be drawn to the banners in the rafters.  But, would they truly understand what Indiana means?

Throw your rocks.  I've got thick skin.

No rock throwing. I would have maybe been right there with you before Archie but I think IU is at a critical point in time and can't hire a high risk candidate. I loved Fife as a player, and I think he has the potential to be a good head coach, but with his only head coaching experience being IUPFW, I'm just not sure he would cut it in Bloomington.

I have been thinking about this since things turned away from Stevens yesterday, and if IU is really willing to pay $7 million a year plus for a head coach, I think there will be some options that maybe we don't realize. I think we could safely cross off Few since he has made it abundantly clear through the years that he isn't leaving Gonzaga for money or a more "marquee" school. Cross off Bennett, who was  my choice last coaching search, as he apparently is holding a grudge against IU for what happened with his sister. Obviously some of the older proven coaches (coach K, Izzo, Self, etc) aren't going to come here. Donovan is extremely unlikely as well since I believe he signed the new deal with the Bulls for 6 million a year.

Knight obviously wasn't from Indiana but got it and helped cultivate the culture we have. I have no idea if Beard would leave TX for 6-7 million a year or not but I think he would seem to be the most obvious college coach who would make a majority of the IU fans happy (sans Stevens and Donovan). 

I think Drew and Musselman both could do well here as well. I would take a long look at Drew personally, but I understand there would be some hesitation based on the Hanner situation. Would Dolson overlook that and bring him in with the hopes that winning consistently soften some peoples perception of him? I have no idea. Musselman is interesting. I could see him succeeding here in short order and sparking lots of interest in the fan base. I could also see his personality being an issue for some. Also, would he bolt for the NBA again if he had a chance? Again, I have no answers but I think Dolson would have to think about that carefully.

I will say this. If Dolson truly can't land a "big fish" (which I still think he will given the amount of $$ we are discussing) and it comes down to hiring a Beilein or Matta (assuming his back in still an issue) or an "IU guy", I would at least talk to Fife. I would think he would need to "wow" Dolson, but I wouldn't be shocked if he at least talked with him.

Having said all that, I think any coach that can come to Bloomington and win, without getting caught cheating, will eventually garner the support of the IU faithful. It is hard to trust the process right now because of the past two decades, but I will trust Dolson to make the right hire.

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16 minutes ago, Ozerd said:

The only problem with Fife is that no one knows what type of offensive he would run, correct?  If Dolson wants a "dynamic" offense that means that he, as anyone would, would want to see it.  I just don't think Fife is the guy.

Beard really does not have a dynamic offense either.  If that is the #1 criteria, then I would expect to see Musselman being pursued before Beard.  

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1 minute ago, 5fouls said:

Beard really does not have a dynamic offense either.  If that is the #1 criteria, then I would expect to see Musselman being pursued before Beard.  

That’s the question isn’t it. I think they are both qualified and good candidates. If you take Dolson’s words on what he is looking for, Musselman is probably higher on the list. Probably cheaper to get too. 

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1 minute ago, Feathery said:

That’s the question isn’t it. I think they are both qualified and good candidates. If you take Dolson’s words on what he is looking for, Musselman is probably higher on the list. Probably cheaper to get too. 

I’m at the point now just over pay. For no other reason then now coaches out there might think “oh wow I should want to try and get that job someday if it opens up, they’re really all in.”

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We have no idea whether Fife can develop high level strategy or make adjustments or put a team out there that can compete on the road and be ready to battle.  There is no way that i would hire with all those unknowns.  It’s a total stab in the dark.  

I appreciate your argument and understand having a guy who gets IU but to me that point is far outweighed by critical aspects of coaching.  With Dane I would have wanted to see sustained success somewhere.  We can’t afford to take the risk. 

Besides, Beard learned under Knight and Pat Knight and he probably does in fact get it.  Based on your argument I would think Beard becomes the most attractive candidate. Musselman doesn’t come off the Knight coaching tree but he is the son of a coach and just a coaching lifer and grinder.  I think he knows what IU means. If you had your choice, if we factor in your argument, Beard might win the tie breaker.  

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