New Indiana coach delivers all right words in introduction
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Archie Miller is getting back to basics at Indiana.
He wants the Hoosiers to be aggressive on offense, nasty on defense and, of course, win the in-state recruiting battles. He's all for playing Kentucky and maybe Arizona, too.
In his first public appearance as the Hoosiers' new coach, Miller hit all the right notes for Indiana fans who had become so disillusioned with the direction of the program that they pushed for a change.
''I don't think you come to Indiana if you don't want to live in the neighborhood,'' Miller said when asked about high expectations. ''If you don't want to move into that neighborhood then you shouldn't be here. If you like the neighborhood, then you come.''
With a seven-year deal worth roughly $3.5 million per year, it appears Miller's old-school philosophy is here to stay for a while.
Fans were eager to hear from Miller - long before Monday's introductory news conference at Assembly Hall. They stood and cheered when he walked from the south end of the building to the podium at the north end.
''Welcome Archie Miller Indiana head coach'' was displayed on the videoboard above midcourt.
The scene wasn't lost on Miller.
''This is why you want to be at Indiana if you're a basketball person,'' Miller said as his wife and daughter watched in the front row. ''My family and I are honored and excited to represent Indiana University in what we consider one of the finest basketball traditions in all of college basketball.''
Miller is well-versed in the traditions of the sport.
His father, John, was a Hall of Fame basketball coach in Pennsylvania. His sister, Lisa, and his older brother, Sean, both played Division I basketball. Miller himself was a standout point guard, even at 5-foot-9, at North Carolina State.
He honed his coaching skills under former North Carolina State coach Herb Sendek, Ohio State coach Thad Matta and even his brother, Sean, at Arizona, before heading to Dayton, where he produced the best four-year-run in school history. Now, after going 139-63 in six seasons and leading the Flyers to four straight NCAA Tournament bids, Miller has a plan for Indiana.
It begins at home.
''We have to start inside this state of Indiana, we have to start moving outside very slowly,'' Miller said. ''The inside-out approach means we have to dedicate ourselves to the high school coaches in this state, the high school talent in this state, the grassroots program in this state and they must feel like they're being dominated by Indiana University.''
Athletic director Fred Glass wasn't surprised by what he heard - or the warm reaction from fans.
He also understands it will take more than words to add a national championship banner to the five already displayed at Assembly Hall. And Glass believes whole-heartedly Miller can complete the job his predecessor, Tom Crean, could not.
''If I was practicing law, I'd rest my case,'' Glass said after Miller finished speaking. ''But Archie really brings the whole package and certainly the recruiting generally and the bread basket, the inside-out approach he espouses with focusing on Indiana and the region first was a big positive.''
Glass declined to explain the search process other than to say he only offered the job to one person.
But Miller's pitch went further.
The 38-year-old coach outlined a three-pronged approach to help bring past players and coaches, current players and future players together. He talked about keeping some scholarships to recruit transfers, using Indiana's new facilities to attract top players to Bloomington and his own expectations of players becoming gym rats.
Current players watched intently as they listened.
Ultimately, though, Miller knows success at Indiana comes down to one thing - winning big.
''Our former players and our fans have to look at our program like it's being run at a high-class, high standard,'' he said. ''That's going to take some time, but I think the ability to unite a fan base comes down to productivity. Any time you're successful, people are happy and when you're not, that's not the case.''
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