Archie Miller was on the short list that Indiana athletic director Fred Glass had from the start of his process in finding a new IU basketball coach.
As talk swirled about whether or not Indiana need to land an “IU guy,” a conversation with IU legend Quinn Buckner, one of the stars of Indiana’s 1976 unbeaten national title team, helped clarify the picture.
Miller, introduced Monday as IU’s 29th men’s basketball coach, made it clear he embraces Indiana’s history and goals for the future and wants to make in-state recruiting a staple of his program.
After the press conference, Glass discussed the key conversation with Buckner.
“He’s embracing the high expectations and he has an Indiana focus,” Glass said of Miller. “Quinn Buckner said the same thing to me.
“He said, ‘Look Fred, he’s not from Indiana, but he’s OKP. He’s our kind of people.’
“Scott May was from Ohio. Quinn Buckner was from Illinois. But these are Indiana dudes. I think over time our fans will come to feel that about (Miller) as well.”
On Monday, Miller had his first meeting with the current IU players.
“He was real with guys,” Glass said. “He was succinct in his presentation. The (IU) president talked to him on the phone, and I asked him what he thought and he said, ‘My goodness he’s quite precise in his lexicon, isn’t he?’
“I thought that was pretty perceptive because he is. He says it, and he doesn’t need to say it again and he communicates in a way I think the guys will really respond to.”
Miller’s contract with Indiana is for seven years with an average of $3.35 million per year, Glass said.
The Dayton head basketball coaching position is one of the top 10 best compensated jobs in the country, Glass said, regardless of conference affiliation.
“This wasn’t a financial windfall for Archie,” Glass said. “He came here for the opportunity, not the money.”
Indiana hired a search firm, Parker Executive Search, to assist in thorough background checks.
That was a part of IU’s process, as well as phone and in person interviews.
“That confirmed the basics, first the givens we talked about,” Glass said of the background. “He had a reputation as a good guy. There weren’t any compliance issues. There weren’t any player abuse issues.
“He was all about the wellness of his players. He didn’t screw around with disciplinary issues. He’s handled those very effectively and quickly at Dayton. All those givens were confirmed.
“And then the basics about, he is committed to a style of play. He can recruit. It’s not easy to recruit to Dayton compared to some of the more branded programs, if you will, but he was successful with that. Xs and Os, he’s a game tactician, even demeanor. All those pieces were important.
“Then, what you guys heard today I heard in phase three, the telephone conversation first and then the meeting with him, not being afraid of the expectations but embracing them, seeing the opportunity as I see it with all the things I espoused at the search about this being an excellent job and a job where we can get back to where we want to be on a very consistent basis.
“And a personal connection about how real the guy is, which is good for our relationship but more importantly will translate into how he interacts with our former players, our fans, our players and recruits.”