Mike Honcho's vote: DANE FIFE

MikeHoncho69

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After pondering the available and realistic candidates for the job, I've made the determination that Dane Fife should be the next head coach at IU.

Fife played at IU under both Bob Knight and Mike Davis, with his collegiate career spanning from 1998 to 2002. Davis brought him on board as an assistant after a brief stint in the Continental Basketball Association with the Gary Steelheads. After two seasons on the bench in Bloomington, Fife accepted the head coach position with IPFW. Under Fife's leadership, IPFW -- a fledgling D1 program at the time -- saw its win total improve each season until Fife was lured away by Michigan State's Tom Izzo after the 2010-11 season. Fife had also considered a job offer from Purdue's Matt Painter, which is yet another endorsement of Fife's coaching acumen.

As it pertains to Scott Dolson's search for IU's next head coach, Fife seems to be an ideal candidate, as he checks the following boxes:

- Former IU player who played under Bob Knight.
- Former IU assistant coach.
- Has spent the last 10 years learning from one of the best coaches in college basketball in Tom Izzo.
- Knows the Big Ten landscape, particularly as it pertains to recruiting.
- Excellent culture fit at IU due to his history with the program and university.
- Young coach (41 years old) who would be around for the long haul.

Yes, Fife has not been a head coach at a high-major program, but I truly believe this hire needs to be the right fit. Tom Crean was not a good fit. Archie Miller certainly was not a good fit. Dane Fife will certainly be a good fit.
 

demunn

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I thought Archie was a reasonable hire and wasn't opposed, just wished they would have cut bait earlier. Nobody can predict who is going to pan out but I wouldn't fault Dolson for going with Fife and giving him a shot if it ultimately went south a few years from now. Not sure there are significantly better choices available.
 
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MikeHoncho69

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Let's also not forget that Tom Izzo's only head coaching experience prior to accepting the Michigan State job was two seasons at Ishpeming High School from 1977 - 1979. He spent four seasons as an assistant at Northern Michigan after leaving IHS, followed by 12 years as an assistant at Michigan State under Jud Heathcote prior to being promoted upon Heathcote's retirement.
 

Harry Hondo

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After pondering the available and realistic candidates for the job, I've made the determination that Dane Fife should be the next head coach at IU.

Fife played at IU under both Bob Knight and Mike Davis, with his collegiate career spanning from 1998 to 2002. Davis brought him on board as an assistant after a brief stint in the Continental Basketball Association with the Gary Steelheads. After two seasons on the bench in Bloomington, Fife accepted the head coach position with IPFW. Under Fife's leadership, IPFW -- a fledgling D1 program at the time -- saw its win total improve each season until Fife was lured away by Michigan State's Tom Izzo after the 2010-11 season. Fife had also considered a job offer from Purdue's Matt Painter, which is yet another endorsement of Fife's coaching acumen.

As it pertains to Scott Dolson's search for IU's next head coach, Fife seems to be an ideal candidate, as he checks the following boxes:

- Former IU player who played under Bob Knight.
- Former IU assistant coach.
- Has spent the last 10 years learning from one of the best coaches in college basketball in Tom Izzo.
- Knows the Big Ten landscape, particularly as it pertains to recruiting.
- Excellent culture fit at IU due to his history with the program and university.
- Young coach (41 years old) who would be around for the long haul.

Yes, Fife has not been a head coach at a high-major program, but I truly believe this hire needs to be the right fit. Tom Crean was not a good fit. Archie Miller certainly was not a good fit. Dane Fife will certainly be a good fit.
Would you be opposed to hiring Beilein as the head coach with Dane as the associate head coach who will take over the program in 4-5 years? Wasn't that what Purdue did with Keady/Painter?
 

IUNorth

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I think Fife would probably be solid at IU. If he is, in fact, the heir apparent to Izzo, that says a lot.

I just keep coming back to the 10 million dollar check. It will blow my mind if we end up hiring someone like Fife. To me it would mean 1 of 2 things, or a combo of both.

1. Dolson felt very strongly he’d be able to land a more proven, higher profile coach. And that he was able to convince the check writer as such.

2. The climate within the program must have been horrible to work to get that kind of money to get rid of him.

Because if neither is true...couldn’t we have endured another year of Archie, and gotten someone of Fifes caliber next offseason?!

Same premise as Gary Parrish recent article. I hope the hire answers more questions than it creates.
 

IUHoopster

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Fife doesn't yet have the experience at this level. IU is not the job it was when Knight took it. The expectations are higher, the frustration level is higher, and the experience required is more. Fife needs to be a HC at a mid-major or lower Tier B5 conf school before consideration for the IU job.
 

MikeHoncho69

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Would you be opposed to hiring Beilein as the head coach with Dane as the associate head coach who will take over the program in 4-5 years? Wasn't that what Purdue did with Keady/Painter?
Fife would be better suited to remain in East Lansing as the heir apparent to Tom Izzo. If I'm Fife, the only way I'm making a move is for a head coaching job.
 

crazed_hoosier2

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Would you be opposed to hiring Beilein as the head coach with Dane as the associate head coach who will take over the program in 4-5 years? Wasn't that what Purdue did with Keady/Painter?
I’m not sure that offer would lure Dane away from MSU. After all, Izzo is only a couple years younger than Beilein. And it seems at least plausible that Dane is already occupying the role of heir apparent in East Lansing (and for a much healthier program, at that).

I think if IU wants Dane Fife, they’re going to have to offer him the HC position now. If not, there’s a really good chance that he’ll take the reins at MSU whenever Izzo hangs it up...just as Izzo did from Jud.
 

MikeHoncho69

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Fife doesn't yet have the experience at this level. IU is not the job it was when Knight took it. The expectations are higher, the frustration level is higher, and the experience required is more. Fife needs to be a HC at a mid-major or lower Tier B5 conf school before consideration for the IU job.
I'm going to disagree with you there. I believe this hire is truly about the right fit. For me, the only two guys who you can consider true "fits" right off the bat are Brad Stevens (Indiana guy whose dream job was IU) and Fife (former player and assistant coach).
 

MikeHoncho69

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I’m not sure that offer would lure Dane away from MSU. After all, Izzo is only a couple years younger than Beilein. And it seems at least plausible that Dane is already occupying the role of heir apparent in East Lansing (and for a much healthier program, at that).

I think if IU wants Dane Fife, they’re going to have to offer him the HC position now. If not, there’s a really good chance that he’ll take the reins at MSU whenever Izzo hangs it up...just as Izzo did from Jud.
Agreed 100%. The potential scenario that makes me sick is seeing Fife take over for Izzo at Michigan State and become the next Izzo when IU could have had him.
 

Tony Warwick

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Fife would be better suited to remain in East Lansing as the heir apparent to Tom Izzo. If I'm Fife, the only way I'm making a move is for a head coaching job.
Timing is everything. Archie would have been the OSU coach had Matta stepped down earlier. Who knows, Izzo has been Teflon, but MSU has had it's share of issues over the years, certainly not a squeaky clean program.
 
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Jayhoosier83

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Me and my sister went to high school with Dane's wife(she and my sister graduated the same year) and those two are friends on Facebook. Maybe I could convince my sister to send Dane's wife a message to be the little birdie in his ear convincing him to come back, lol.
 
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IUHoopster

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I'm going to disagree with you there. I believe this hire is truly about the right fit. For me, the only two guys who you can consider true "fits" right off the bat are Brad Stevens (Indiana guy whose dream job was IU) and Fife (former player and assistant coach).
What a dichotomy in coaches (yes, I've been waiting all week to use that word). One has proven himself at the college level and now is in the NBA. The other was a HC at a low level college and is now an assistant at a Power 5 conf school but hasn't proven that he handle a job at this level. Fife is one of my last choices, not because he's not capable but because he has yet to prove he is capable and IU needs someone who has demonstrated ability and can put it into effect on day one.
 

crazed_hoosier2

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MSU has had it's share of issues over the years, certainly not a squeaky clean program.

So?

If you think that Fife would spurn MSU and come home to IU simply because of these issues, then you’re living in a dream world.

Whether he should have or not, Izzo survived those scandals. And, despite a rare down year this year, MSU is overall still doing just fine.

We really need to get over this Boy Scout delusion. That world is long gone.
 

MikeHoncho69

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What a dichotomy in coaches (yes, I've been waiting all week to use that word). One has proven himself at the college level and now is in the NBA. The other was a HC at a low level college and is now an assistant at a Power 5 conf school but hasn't proven that he handle a job at this level. Fife is one of my last choices, not because he's not capable but because he has yet to prove he is capable and IU needs someone who has demonstrated ability and can put it into effect on day one.
My question would be which established, proven head coach is IU realistically capable of landing? Matta seems to be out. Beilein's age makes him a non-starter for me. Scott Drew isn't coming. Chris Beard will go to Texas. Stevens is staying in the NBA even if he's let go by the Celtics.
 

MikeHoncho69

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A) What if we have no such options available?

B) Could it be fairly said that Crean and Miller had demonstrated that ability prior to coming to IU?
This is the point I'm trying to make. Archie was viewed as a proven head coach at the time he was hired. At that time, I did not consider just how crucial it is to be a good culture fit at IU. For me, Fife is the culture fit who clearly has the coaching skillset. He was offered a job by Mike Davis at 24 years old, the head coaching job at IPFW at 26 years old and assistant coaching jobs at 31 years old by Matt Painter and Tom Izzo. If that doesn't show you he's qualified, I'm not sure what else will.
 
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uncleter

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After pondering the available and realistic candidates for the job, I've made the determination that Dane Fife should be the next head coach at IU.

Fife played at IU under both Bob Knight and Mike Davis, with his collegiate career spanning from 1998 to 2002. Davis brought him on board as an assistant after a brief stint in the Continental Basketball Association with the Gary Steelheads. After two seasons on the bench in Bloomington, Fife accepted the head coach position with IPFW. Under Fife's leadership, IPFW -- a fledgling D1 program at the time -- saw its win total improve each season until Fife was lured away by Michigan State's Tom Izzo after the 2010-11 season. Fife had also considered a job offer from Purdue's Matt Painter, which is yet another endorsement of Fife's coaching acumen.

As it pertains to Scott Dolson's search for IU's next head coach, Fife seems to be an ideal candidate, as he checks the following boxes:

- Former IU player who played under Bob Knight.
- Former IU assistant coach.
- Has spent the last 10 years learning from one of the best coaches in college basketball in Tom Izzo.
- Knows the Big Ten landscape, particularly as it pertains to recruiting.
- Excellent culture fit at IU due to his history with the program and university.
- Young coach (41 years old) who would be around for the long haul.

Yes, Fife has not been a head coach at a high-major program, but I truly believe this hire needs to be the right fit. Tom Crean was not a good fit. Archie Miller certainly was not a good fit. Dane Fife will certainly be a good fit.
Then why has he not already been hired?
 

go_iu

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I like Matta, Belein, and Fife in that order. The first two have won at a high level in the conference, in the tourney, and can recruit. Fife has been recruiting and coaching under Izzo for 10 years. Like Woodson and Cheney too, but the lack of college coaching experience is a concern. Think Fife may be the safer choice as far as stepping right in and running a big program in the B10 particularly
 

fkfootball

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It’s going to be Porter Moser for no other reason than a serious lack of options. I’m guessing Marquette probably backchanneled him and found out he’s got something else in the works. That’s why they went to Shaka who was basically ran out of Texas.
 
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demunn

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What a dichotomy in coaches (yes, I've been waiting all week to use that word). One has proven himself at the college level and now is in the NBA. The other was a HC at a low level college and is now an assistant at a Power 5 conf school but hasn't proven that he handle a job at this level. Fife is one of my last choices, not because he's not capable but because he has yet to prove he is capable and IU needs someone who has demonstrated ability and can put it into effect on day one.
Mike Davis has a runner-up under his belt and Stevens is on his way to getting fired. Steve Fisher has a NC under his belt. I think Fife did pretty decent at IPFW all things considered and I think you have to give him some credit for MSU's success. He's certainly more of an unknown but Stevens could very well come here and lay an egg as Archie did.
 

MikeHoncho69

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It’s going to be Porter Moser for no other reason than a serious lack of options. I’m guessing Marquette probably backchanneled him and found out he’s got something else in the works. That’s why they went to Shaka who was basically ran out of Texas.
I have the same fear. One would think if it was going to be Beilein, Matta, Beard or Fife, the deal would likely have already been done. Of the coaches remaining in the tournament who have been rumored for the IU job, you can eliminate Scott Drew, which leaves you with Porter Moser and Eric Musselman.
 
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IUHoopster

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A) What if we have no such options available?

B) Could it be fairly said that Crean and Miller had demonstrated that ability prior to coming to IU?
A) Then we are in a sadder state of affairs than we realize.

B) The difference is that IU is in long skid and can't afford another gamble, which Fife would be. The other two had better credentials coming in than he does

What in Fife's experience demonstrates he can do this job at this level?
 
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IUHoopster

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My question would be which established, proven head coach is IU realistically capable of landing? Matta seems to be out. Beilein's age makes him a non-starter for me. Scott Drew isn't coming. Chris Beard will go to Texas. Stevens is staying in the NBA even if he's let go by the Celtics.
There are a lot of assumptions there but you may be right. At the moment only Scott Dolson can answer this question with any certainty.
 
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BayernFan

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It’s going to be Porter Moser for no other reason than a serious lack of options. I’m guessing Marquette probably backchanneled him and found out he’s got something else in the works. That’s why they went to Shaka who was basically ran out of Texas.
I've got a feeling you're right. I think SD has concluded that Moser fits the IU culture and brand of tough defense. The only other possibility imo is Musselman, with the NBA connection. But Moser has that je ne sais quoi that seems to fit better and that I think resonates with SD.
 

Columbus-Boiler

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What a dichotomy in coaches (yes, I've been waiting all week to use that word). One has proven himself at the college level and now is in the NBA. The other was a HC at a low level college and is now an assistant at a Power 5 conf school but hasn't proven that he handle a job at this level. Fife is one of my last choices, not because he's not capable but because he has yet to prove he is capable and IU needs someone who has demonstrated ability and can put it into effect on day one.

I think if IU REALLY opens up the checkbook, and allows a coach like Fife to hire true TOP assistant coaches he can be successful.
 

IUHoopster

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I think if IU REALLY opens up the checkbook, and allows a coach like Fife to hire true TOP assistant coaches he can be successful.
Can be? Sure. Will be? Who knows. I am thinking IU needs someone who has demonstrated it already though nothing is guaranteed. Let's take your scenario...who do you recommend as the assistants in a Dane Fife led staff? (open question to all).
 

Jfats

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You can’t look at the 10mm payout and think “for Fife?” The payout was to stop the tailspin of the sinking program that was destined to continue next season setting the program further back one more year, resulting in fan disinterest and recruit apathy. At least with a new coach, even if we’re going to have an Archie-like season, there is a better narrative: “we’re building a winner” instead of waiting a year to replace Archie.
 
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YOTHN

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I thought Archie was a reasonable hire and wasn't opposed, just wished they would have cut bait earlier. Nobody can predict who is going to pan out but I wouldn't fault Dolson for going with Fife and giving him a shot if it ultimately went south a few years from now. Not sure there are significantly better choices available.

Cut bait earlier? You have lost your mind. This was the first year we could've "cut bait". I was fine with that but you should always give your coach his first full recruiting class the ability to play through. If we had cut him after last season, that would've been an absolute joke.
 

YOTHN

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A) Then we are in a sadder state of affairs than we realize.

B) The difference is that IU is in long skid and can't afford another gamble, which Fife would be. The other two had better credentials coming in than he does

What in Fife's experience demonstrates he can do this job at this level?
Nah, we are in a "sadder state of affairs" than YOU realize. Most of us have been proclaiming we are in this sad state for quite some time. I think this coaching hire is just now forcing those who were hesitant to grasp that concept, to begin accepting their medicine.

You still have this thought process that other top coaches are just sitting on their hands waiting for IU to offer. Come to grips with the fact that those coaches, DON'T want to come to IU. Fife isn't who everyone is clamoring for, but under the circumstances of who IU is today, it may make the most sense.
 
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kmathum

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After pondering the available and realistic candidates for the job, I've made the determination that Dane Fife should be the next head coach at IU.

Fife played at IU under both Bob Knight and Mike Davis, with his collegiate career spanning from 1998 to 2002. Davis brought him on board as an assistant after a brief stint in the Continental Basketball Association with the Gary Steelheads. After two seasons on the bench in Bloomington, Fife accepted the head coach position with IPFW. Under Fife's leadership, IPFW -- a fledgling D1 program at the time -- saw its win total improve each season until Fife was lured away by Michigan State's Tom Izzo after the 2010-11 season. Fife had also considered a job offer from Purdue's Matt Painter, which is yet another endorsement of Fife's coaching acumen.

As it pertains to Scott Dolson's search for IU's next head coach, Fife seems to be an ideal candidate, as he checks the following boxes:

- Former IU player who played under Bob Knight.
- Former IU assistant coach.
- Has spent the last 10 years learning from one of the best coaches in college basketball in Tom Izzo.
- Knows the Big Ten landscape, particularly as it pertains to recruiting.
- Excellent culture fit at IU due to his history with the program and university.
- Young coach (41 years old) who would be around for the long haul.

Yes, Fife has not been a head coach at a high-major program, but I truly believe this hire needs to be the right fit. Tom Crean was not a good fit. Archie Miller certainly was not a good fit. Dane Fife will certainly be a good fit.
loved dane as a player, but as a coach he's down the list aways.
 

mustard_

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Would you be opposed to hiring Beilein as the head coach with Dane as the associate head coach who will take over the program in 4-5 years? Wasn't that what Purdue did with Keady/Painter?
I wonder why Fife would take that over waiting out Izzo since that isn't a rebuild.
 

smurphy1868

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My question would be which established, proven head coach is IU realistically capable of landing? Matta seems to be out. Beilein's age makes him a non-starter for me. Scott Drew isn't coming. Chris Beard will go to Texas. Stevens is staying in the NBA even if he's let go by the Celtics.
Maybe Archie will come back.
 

IUHoopster

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Nah, we are in a "sadder state of affairs" than YOU realize. Most of us have been proclaiming we are in this sad state for quite some time. I think this coaching hire is just now forcing those who were hesitant to grasp that concept, to begin accepting their medicine.

You still have this thought process that other top coaches are just sitting on their hands waiting for IU to offer. Come to grips with the fact that those coaches, DON'T want to come to IU. Fife isn't who everyone is clamoring for, but under the circumstances of who IU is today, it may make the most sense.
What I realize? Maybe. Then again, maybe Dolson is going to announce a bigger hire. Seems like it's a "we can't get anyone so let's hire Fife" consensus before the tournament is even over. IU isn't dead yet.
 

crazed_hoosier2

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Nah, we are in a "sadder state of affairs" than YOU realize. Most of us have been proclaiming we are in this sad state for quite some time. I think this coaching hire is just now forcing those who were hesitant to grasp that concept, to begin accepting their medicine.

You still have this thought process that other top coaches are just sitting on their hands waiting for IU to offer. Come to grips with the fact that those coaches, DON'T want to come to IU. Fife isn't who everyone is clamoring for, but under the circumstances of who IU is today, it may make the most sense.

I was going to post something similar to this. But you said it pretty well.

There are jobs in college basketball that the best coaches would crawl over broken glass to get. The IU job simply isn't one of them -- not anymore, if it ever was. There is intense pressure to win. But, for whatever reasons, it's proven very difficult to do here in the past couple decades -- really, even for 5 or 6 years before RMK was fired. I have some thoughts about why that is. But I'll save them for another thread.

As such, we're sitting in a situation where -- as much as we'd love to see somebody like Stevens or Beard, etal -- we're probably going to have to take a flyer on somebody. That's why names like Fife, Woodson, and Moser are being discussed. They're more likely to be within our reach.
 
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Columbus-Boiler

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Can be? Sure. Will be? Who knows. I am thinking IU needs someone who has demonstrated it already though nothing is guaranteed. Let's take your scenario...who do you recommend as the assistants in a Dane Fife led staff? (open question to all).

It's a guess regardless. Not many coaches available or willing to come that have either long-term success at one school or have been able to duplicate their best runs at a second school. "Demonstrating it" at one place leaves a lot of options, dime a dozen (like Archie or Shaka for example), "demonstrating it" at a second place or for a long time at one place leaves a very short list.
 

crazed_hoosier2

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Cut bait earlier? You have lost your mind. This was the first year we could've "cut bait". I was fine with that but you should always give your coach his first full recruiting class the ability to play through. If we had cut him after last season, that would've been an absolute joke.
Oh, I disagree with you there. Strongly.

By March of 2020, it was probably entirely out of the cards to fire Archie. The buyout was big -- and the impacts of COVID put that much more financial strain on athletic departments. And, besides, Fred Glass had made it all but impossible by scheduling his retirement for May. Whether that was part of his motivation or not, only he could say for sure. I tend to think it was. But who knows.

Anyway, aside from those issues, there was no good reason to retain Archie after the 2019-20 season. Saying that a school should "always give (their) coach his first full recruiting class" is a weak tea argument. If you doubt me on this, ask yourself if you'd still be making that argument if he'd had single digit wins each of his first 3 years. Are we still going to let him get a 4th year so that he can coach a team consisting entirely of his own recruits? If not, then just how firm are you on the insistence that a coach must absolutely get at least 4 years?

It was obvious after that season that Archie was incapable of producing a winner in the Big Ten. His teams were inconsistent and undisciplined. The things that had plagued his team in year 1 were still plaguing them in year 3. There was precious little improvement -- within individual seasons, across multiple seasons.

Again, it's a totally moot discussion now -- and would likely have been academic a year ago. They weren't going to fire Archie. They probably couldn't have.

But he deserved to be.