The Indiana coaching hot board: Firing day

Here's our first crack at the Indiana coaching hot board following this afternoon's firing of coach Tom Crean.

Archie Miller | Head coach, Dayton (A-10) | Age 38

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Salary: $2 million
Buyout: Undisclosed
College record: Dayton (2011-present) 137-60 (.695) (115-55 before this season)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (4), Elite Eight in 2014, Sweet Sixteen in 2015

Comments: Despite losing a key player or two, Miller has Dayton winning the Atlantic 10 regular season, which would be a second title. He's the hottest mid-major coach and is just over two hours drive from Bloomington. Before being hired at Dayton Miller was seasoned in the Big Ten (Ohio State), ACC ( NC State), and Pac-12 (Arizona).

Some believe Ohio State could be his dream job and he's already turned down overtures from the NC State job that opened up in February. That's significant since that's his alma mater. But many think Indiana would be really hard for him to turn down. 

Tony Bennett | Head coach, Virginia | Age 47

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Salary: $2.1 million. If you include "supplemental compensation" it goes up to roughly $2.4 million per year on average. Then there are "longevity bonuses" that could net Bennett an additional $1.5 million should he remain with the school through contract end in 2021.
Buyout: $3 million.
College record: Overall: 254-114 (.690) 234-105 before this season, Virginia (2009-present) 185-81 (.695) 165-72 before this season, Washington State (2006-09) 69-33 (.676)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (7), Elite Eight (2016), Sweet Sixteens (2008, 2014, 2016)

Comments: Bennett has won at tough places and without the talent of the other teams in his league. Outrecruited Indiana recently for his first ever McDonald's All-American when he nabbed Lawrence Central's Kyle Guy. Known mostly for his stifling defense, Bennett could look upon Indiana as the place where he could recruit at a high level and find the offensive firepower without sacrificing his targeting of players who can be coached to defend well. His sister Kathi once coached the Indiana women's team, resigning in 2005 after five years.

Bennett was approached by Indiana in past coaching searches but declined and has a good situation at Virginia. At the same time he's now been there eight season and could be inching for a place where could win it all. He's from the Midwest and he obviously knows the Big Ten where his father coached Wisconsin and where Tony worked on staff and two seasons under his successor, Bo Ryan. Bennett was an excellent college point guard for his father at UW-Green Bay and spent three seasons in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets.

Sean Miller | Head coach, Arizona | Age 48

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Salary: $2.9 million
Buyout: Has stake in private "retention fund" bonus type arranged that pays out in May 2020. Currently worth over $4 million.
College record: Overall: 333-111 (.750) 308-108 before this season, Arizona (2009-present) 213-64 (.769) 188-61 before this season, Xavier (2004-09) 120-47 (.719)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (9), Elite Eights (4), Sweet Sixteens (6)

Comments: Probably a little less likely to leave for Indiana than his younger brother Archie but insiders tell it's not a far-fetched possibility that he would like to return to the Midwest and Indiana would be the one Midwest place that might not be viewed as a step down. Young enough still to have a long run at somewhere new.

Miller is a proven recruiter who usually avoids early round losses in the NCAA tournament. Hasn't been able to get past the Elite Eight and maybe Indiana is where he could help make that happen. Got his coaching start in the Big Ten as a grad assistant at Wisconsin back in 1992-93 and recently got some international experience as coach of the USA U19 national team.

Steve Alford | Head coach, UCLA | Age 52

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Salary: $2.6 million
Buyout: $7.8 million.
College record: Overall 475-249 (.657), (450-246 before this season), UCLA (2013-present) 91-43 (.679) (65-40 before this season), New Mexico (2007-13) 155-42 (.749), Iowa (1999-2007) 152-106 (.589), Missouri State (1996-99) 78-48 (.619)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (10), Sweet Sixteen in 1999, 2014, 2015

Comments: This time around it there seems to be a different feel around Alford's chances. UCLA has had its best season since 2007-08 when Ben Howland took the Bruins to the Final Four. Yet he's never been embraced there, especially after a couple off years coming into this season (outside of 2015 tourney run). The Pierre Pierce incident is troubling but that is now over 12 years ago.

Alford recently landed the top prep player from Indiana (Kris Wilkes) and has recruited five-star junior Romeo Langford, so you could see an immediate recruiting boost with his hire. While he does have a large buyout clause in his contract, our information is that the actual cost would be so much less that it would not be a factor.


Chris Collins | Head coach, Northwestern | Age 42

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Salary: $2 million (estimated)
Buyout: Undisclosed
College record: Overall: 69-56 (.590) 49-48 before this season
College postseason: None

Comments: Collins has the school on the verge of its first ever NCAA tournament bid. Also have to like all that one can learn during 13 years as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski. Age and long familiarity with the Chicago area and Midwest recruiting should also be attractive.

Questions would be whether he would leave for another school in the same conference and is he seasoned or proven enough for this job? Right now he's yet to even coach a single NCAA tournament game as the head guy. Another question would be the possibility he might be tabbed to replace Mike Krzyzewski when that retirement finally comes about in Durham.


Gregg Marshall | Head coach, Wichita State | Age 53

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Salary: $3.5 million
Buyout: $500,000
College record: Overall 450-172 (.723) 424-168 before this year, Wichita State (2007-present) 256-89 (.742) 230-85 before this year, Winthrop (1998-2007) 194-86 (.700)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (12), Final Four (2013), Sweet Sixteen (2)

Comments: Marshall is obviously a proven coaching commodity. His team's are known for how hard they play, especially on the defensive end. Getting him to leave Wichita State will be tough as the Koch brothers and university already have him one of the highest paid coaches in the game with use of a private jet whenever he needs it.

Many wonder whether Marshall would enjoy the fishbowl environment at Indiana. At the same time if he's not a lifer in Wichita, now is the time for a move, especially if he wants a return trip to the Final Four.


Chris Mack | Head coach, Xavier | Age 47

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Salary: $1.9 million
Buyout: Undisclosed
College record: Overall 180-86 (.677) Xavier (2009-present) 162-77 before this season
College postseason: NCAA appearances (6), Sweet Sixteen (3)

Comments: Mack is a proven coach who has missed the NCAA tourney just once in his seven years on the job. This season isn't quite as good as projected Xavier is always a good sleeper Sweet Sixteen pick. Mack has proven he can outrecruit Indiana for Indy area players like Trevon Bluiett and Paul Scruggs.

Some question whether he'd want the pressure of the Indiana job but it would be a big boost in salary and prestige in a familiar recruiting region.


Chris Holtmann | Head coach, Butler | Age 45

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Salary: Undisclosed
Buyout: Undisclosed
College record: Overall: 110-82 (.573) 89-76 before this season, Butler (2014-present) 66-28 (.627) 45-22 before this season, Gardner-Webb (2010-11) 44-54 (.449)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (2)

Comments: Holtmann has draw high praise since taking over the Butler job. This year he's had the Bulldogs to a second place spot behind Villanova Wildcats and in the AP Top 25 for much of the year. Holtmann's career record is deceiving as he rebuilt the Gardner-Webb program in a 21 game winner then left to join the Butler staff as lead assistant under Brandon Miller. He's got established contacts in Indiana, so he would be up and running with the IU job.

Holtman is still pretty green for the Indiana level with just two NCAA tourney experiences that have ended in the round of 32. Also some question whether he would want to take on the Indiana fishbowl environment.


Billy Donovan | Head coach, OKC Thunder (NBA) | Age 51

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Salary: $6 million
Buyout: N/A
College record: Overall 502-206 (.709), Florida (1995-2015) 467-186 (.715), Marshall (1994-95) 35-20 (.636)
College postseason: NCAA appearances (14), Final Fours (4), NCAA Titles (2006, 2007) NBA record (Oklahoma City) Overall: 2016-17: 32-25, 2015-16: 55-27 (Lost in conference finals)

Comments: Donovan left college for the NBA for a perfect opportunity in Oklahoma City. But that job isn't looking as attractive as it once did due to the departure of Kevin Durant and uncertain long term status of Russell Westbrook. If Donovan wants to jump back to college this would be an ideal spot, mirroring the return of his mentor and former coach Rick Pitino.

Donovan doesn't have some of the baggage of Pitino and would be a fast paced, proven style to Bloomington. Even if he's interested, he's likely to stick with the Thunder till playoff elimination, which won't likely come till at least late April.


Mike White | Head coach, Florida | Age 40

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Salary: $2.4 million (w/$400k retention bonus)
Buyout: $1 million
College record: Overall 146-63 (.699), Florida (2015-present) 45-23 (.662), Louisiana Tech 101-40 (.716)
College postseason: NCAA Appearance - this year will be first

Comments: White is close to getting his four regular season conference championship in just six years as a Division I head coach. Currently has the Gators approaching a top 10 ranking. On the flip side this Marsh will be his first NCAA tourney as a head coach since his LaTech teams were always upset in the postseason conference tournament.

Might be too early for White to consider a move but he's a bit more of a regional focused recruiter and Indiana would be ideal. The son of Duke athletic director Kevin White. Another notable is his top assistant is Dusty May, a former Indiana manager and assistant coach.



Super long shot candidates


Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) - make the call but all indications say he's very happy with the Celtics and wouldn't want to go back to the college and the not so fun recruiting world.

Mark Few (Gonzaga) - Another guy who turned down interest in a prior search but can't hurt to call. If he doesn't get to the Final Four this year then he may think he may never at Gonzaga.



Others on our radar


Greg McDermott ( Creighton),  Dane Fife ( Michigan State/asst.),  Dan Muller (Illinois State), Brad Underwood (Oklahoma State), Randy Wittman (former NBA coach) Top Stories