Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson said Monday it was an “incredible opportunity” to work with former IU coach Archie Miller the past four years, which made the decision to fire Miller that more difficult.
“I have not worked with a coach that has been more collaborative with me and more open with me,” said Dolson. “And just really, if you ask my wife, she would tell you how many times I said that I’ve just never worked with a coach I’ve enjoyed working with as much as Archie.”
Dolson addressed the media just hours after announcing Miller had been fired as head coach of the IU men’s basketball team. He ends his four-year career in Bloomington with a record of 67-58 and 33-44 in Big Ten play.
The announcement follows IU’s 61-50 loss to Rutgers in the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament last week.
“In the final analysis, it’s a results-oriented business. And I really felt that ultimately, we had not made enough progress to continue the program. And under Archie’s leadership, I really felt like we need a new voice, a new direction,” said Dolson.
Dolson says he spent a “great deal of time” evaluating Miller’s ability to recruit, develop student-athletes and playing philosophy, along with results on the court.
“Ultimately, (it) led me to conclude that a change in leadership of our program is warranted at this time. I shared my assessment with Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, and he accepted my recommendation,” said Dolson.
Dolson says he was not approached by donors to fire Miller. “It was not an anti-Archie effort,” emphasized Dolson. But he did say during his press conference, two boosters will handle the $10 million contract buyout. The means the university budget will not feel the loss, which Dolson says is especially important considering the tight financial situation stemming from the pandemic.
“But again, I just want to underscore, because it’s just really, really important to me…I was not approached by any donors. It wasn’t a donor-driven decision at all. Zero,” said Dolson. “And there was no discussion of future candidates at these meetings that I had.”
IU hoped Miller could bring his winning ways from the University of Dayton where his team reached the NCAA tournament four straight years and had a record of 139-63.
“It is one of the things that attracted us to Archie and still commend him for. I think Archie has a plan but unfortunately the results weren’t at the level that I felt at the end of the day that it was in our best interest to move forward.”
Dolson says he will not establish a formal search committee, but he will consult within the university and with “trusted experts” in the state and around the country as I seek out and recruit a new coach.
“The work to find the next leader of Indiana basketball will begin immediately, and I will seek a chief executive that I can partner with to re-establish the brand and national presence of Indiana basketball,” said Dolson.
Dolson says three assistant coaches have been asked to stay on to help with the transition.
Dolson discussed why IU boosters were not part of the discussion to fire Miller, but will help with the buyout.
Dolson explained how the tradition of IU basketball is a factor in finding a new coach.