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2020-21 Indiana Athletics thread

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  • Sollozzo
    replied
    Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post

    Recruiting is definitely not a solely Woodson thing, Kenya Hunter is here exclusively because of how good he is on the recruiting trail and his connections.

    A major part of Fife's hiring was that he represented he could be the guy who could recruit in Indiana again because of his connections in state.

    Of course whe we start to think about this, it really doesn't add up either as MSU lost plenty of guys to Purdue while Fife was there.

    Bottom line, regardless of what happened, it seems like this was not a good fit from the jump that somebody tried to force because of the IU connection.
    Because Purdue is a great program in its own right with a ton of stability? Why would anyone choosing Purdue over another Big 10 school be a surprise?

    A one year sample size just seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

    Some people you mesh with. Some you don’t. It happens. But the whole “Fife was 100% to blame” angle is just laughable to me when he spent 10 years doing fine at a better and far more successful program.

    Last edited by Sollozzo; 03-24-2022, 12:07 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    Originally posted by Bball View Post

    I don't know... I'd think could NW have been turned into a win, it keeps IU out of the play-in game. Which then gives them more rest heading into a Thurs or Fri game. And prep time for them to study their opponent. And maybe a better seeding.

    Of course... butterfly effect... Maybe with a NW win, they feel less pressure to win in the BTT and would've gotten bounced quicker and who knows how it plays out.

    But given my druthers, I'd rather have had a win against NW.
    Hmm, interesting scenario, but I think I'd go against you and say, winning the UM game and Illinois game is way more important than the NW game and if they had gotten a false sense of security going into the BTT and maybe been bounced, I don't know that they make the tourney at all.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    Originally posted by Sollozzo View Post

    This is where some of this seems as though IU is just dumping stuff in the media to make him look bad.

    Blaming an assistant who has only been here one year for recruiting seems far-fetched to me. Recruiting falls almost exclusively on Woodson. Weren’t him and Matta brought in because they are supposed to be such good living room guys?
    Recruiting is definitely not a solely Woodson thing, Kenya Hunter is here exclusively because of how good he is on the recruiting trail and his connections.

    A major part of Fife's hiring was that he represented he could be the guy who could recruit in Indiana again because of his connections in state.

    Of course whe we start to think about this, it really doesn't add up either as MSU lost plenty of guys to Purdue while Fife was there.

    Bottom line, regardless of what happened, it seems like this was not a good fit from the jump that somebody tried to force because of the IU connection.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sollozzo
    replied
    Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
    and apparently didn't have the recruiting connection in state that he had represented.

    .
    This is where some of this seems as though IU is just dumping stuff in the media to make him look bad.

    Blaming an assistant who has only been here one year for recruiting seems far-fetched to me. Recruiting falls almost exclusively on Woodson. Weren’t him and Matta brought in because they are supposed to be such good living room guys?

    Leave a comment:


  • Bball
    replied
    Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
    Say what you will about Woody but he obviously has some massive balls. I didn't agree with the NW decision at all, though I guess in the end it didn't matter much, but I do agree with this one based on everything that I've heard.
    I don't know... I'd think could NW have been turned into a win, it keeps IU out of the play-in game. Which then gives them more rest heading into a Thurs or Fri game. And prep time for them to study their opponent. And maybe a better seeding.

    Of course... butterfly effect... Maybe with a NW win, they feel less pressure to win in the BTT and would've gotten bounced quicker and who knows how it plays out.

    But given my druthers, I'd rather have had a win against NW.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    Originally posted by Bball View Post

    Until all of this went down, I assumed Fife turned down any offers while at MSU. Not that he never got any. I think, like many, I was shocked he left MSU for an assistant gig at IU. ...Unless, of course, it was as the coach-in-waiting role at IU. Especially given Woodson's age.

    I would have more expected Fife to be the main assistant, if not given the title of assistant HC or something, than being fired.

    Fife's hiring, much like Matta's, only made sense (from the outside looking in) in bringing in experienced coaches to help guide Woodson thru his first foray into coaching college basketball. And in Fife's case, with the assumption if not promise he was the heir apparent. As said, especially given Woodson's age.

    If we were to assume Fife was damaged goods and no program was interested in him during his 10 years at MSU, then that doesn't answer this question:
    Why did Izzo keep him around?
    I didn't say he's damaged goods, I'm just suggesting he may not have the easiest personality to work with. MSU may have been the right fit for him all along.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bball
    replied
    Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post

    Did you ever wonder to yourself why Fife who was pretty successful at a very small program at a very young age, never got offered a job in 10 years on Izzo's bench?

    He was never even the clear HC in waiting at MSU and yet he never got another job and even more strangely was very rarely even mentioned in interview searches.

    Not saying there's any legs to that, but it's a thought I had last night as I was thinking about all of this.
    Until all of this went down, I assumed Fife turned down any offers while at MSU. Not that he never got any. I think, like many, I was shocked he left MSU for an assistant gig at IU. ...Unless, of course, it was as the coach-in-waiting role at IU. Especially given Woodson's age.

    I would have more expected Fife to be the main assistant, if not given the title of assistant HC or something, than being fired.

    Fife's hiring, much like Matta's, only made sense (from the outside looking in) in bringing in experienced coaches to help guide Woodson thru his first foray into coaching college basketball. And in Fife's case, with the assumption if not promise he was the heir apparent. As said, especially given Woodson's age.

    If we were to assume Fife was damaged goods and no program was interested in him during his 10 years at MSU, then that doesn't answer this question:
    Why did Izzo keep him around?

    Leave a comment:


  • Sollozzo
    replied
    I’d be surprised if this was all one sided (I.e. 100% blame on Fife). That would be believable if this was Fife’s first stint as an assistant at a large program, but it’s a bit hard for me to believe that he could do fine with Izzo at a superior program, yet morph into someone that no one wants to be around as soon as he came to IU.

    Of course people connected to Woodson/IU are going to immediately put things in the media that makes them look better. That’s par for the course on any story like this.

    At the end of the day I don’t really care who our assistants are and am not losing sleep over Fife leaving. But one thing is clear - this is clearly Woodson’s program. At the end of the day he has to win.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    Originally posted by Bball View Post
    It's hard to understand how Fife could have these issues and baggage at IU, but coached and lasted on Izzo's bench for 10 years until his alma mater came calling.
    Did you ever wonder to yourself why Fife who was pretty successful at a very small program at a very young age, never got offered a job in 10 years on Izzo's bench?

    He was never even the clear HC in waiting at MSU and yet he never got another job and even more strangely was very rarely even mentioned in interview searches.

    Not saying there's any legs to that, but it's a thought I had last night as I was thinking about all of this.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    One interesting thing is that about two-three weeks ago, there were rumors that Kenya Hunter would be leaving the program. Those have quieted a bit and I am hoping that the reason we heard those was that Hunter was tired of working with Fife and basically told the program him or me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    Say what you will about Woody but he obviously has some massive balls. I didn't agree with the NW decision at all, though I guess in the end it didn't matter much, but I do agree with this one based on everything that I've heard.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trader Joe
    replied
    LOL Fife sounds like a ****ing train wreck according to what Rabjohns wrote on Peegs and what I've heard elsewhere.

    Was upstaging Woodson in the locker room, privately telling people Woody wouldn't last and that it was his job, wouldn't return phone calls to people, was talking about how bad NIL was to recruits and apparently didn't have the recruiting connection in state that he had represented.

    It also sounds like he has some ....interesting....political beliefs that he was very vocal about and that may have played a role as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sollozzo
    replied
    Originally posted by Bball View Post
    It's hard to understand how Fife could have these issues and baggage at IU, but coached and lasted on Izzo's bench for 10 years until his alma mater came calling.
    Yeah that was my thought. He lasted a decade under Izzo at a vastly superior MSU program. So my gut reaction was to think IU is the problem here since IU has such a poor track record over the last quarter century.

    Bottom line: Woodson’s his way or the Highway style better win. Simple as that. If he wins, no one will have problems with decisions like this. If not.......

    Between this and the Northwestern debacle, Woodson definitely gives off a “my way or the Highway” vibe. Again, fine if you win...

    Fife should have stayed with the proven college coach at the much better program.
    Last edited by Sollozzo; 03-24-2022, 09:47 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bball
    replied
    It's hard to understand how Fife could have these issues and baggage at IU, but coached and lasted on Izzo's bench for 10 years until his alma mater came calling.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bball
    replied
    Some more context here. No real answers though. It does explain where some of the leaks have come from that have now permeated social media discussions about this and how some of the early spin favored Fife and later spin is now favoring Woodson in this fiasco.
    About the only thing contradicted here versus the Rabjohn interview that I see is this says Woodson did have input on Fife's hiring.
    But if we back it up a notch, both views could be correct. Knowing Woodson met with Fife before he was hired (which is what Brew appears to be basing that statement on) doesn't mean that Dolson didn't strongly suggest he be hired, or that Woodson wasn't or didn't feel pressured into accepting the Fife hire by Dolson.

    https://www.si.com/college/indiana/b...cLI1uC7toTKjW0

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It all sounded good at first. While new Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson was busy sweeping away all the stench from the Archie Miller debacle and all that had preceded it, he kept talking about how important it was to rebuild the Indiana basketball family with Indiana basketball people.

    That's why he talked to Mike Woodson and Keith Smart and Dane Fife, all former Indiana legends from slightly different generations, during his quick search for a new head coach. Woodson was always his first choice, and Dolson got the deal done swiftly with Woodson, who is still the No. 5 all-time leading scorer in school history and a Bob Knight favorite.

    And then it got even better.

    Not long after Woodson was hired, he yanked Fife away from Michigan State, where he had been a fiercely loyal — and very successful — assistant to Tom Izzo for 10 years. First Woodson was coming home, and now Fife was, too.

    Two of the most favorite shiny apples from the Bob Knight tree, sitting side by side.

    But Fife didn't even last a year working for Woodson. Hired on April 5 a year ago, Fife was fired by Woodson on Wednesday. Indiana's news release didn't use that word "fired,'' just saying that Fife ''would not return.''

    But let's be clear about this: Woodson, once reaching the conclusion that he couldn't work with Fife for a variety of reasons — and that list is pretty long, according to some reports — fired him.

    "Would not return?'' Come on.

    If it's not a firing and Indiana wanted to save some face, they simply would have remained mum and told Fife to go find another job first before anything was released. That happens all the time. They could have let this modern-day Hoosier hero leave with some dignity.

    It did NOT happen here.

    Fife won't have a hard time finding a job, because his resume is solid. We all know that. That's why we were so glad he came back to Bloomington in the first place, with wife and young kids in tow. And that's why it's hard when things don't work out with your own legends.

    It is a generational thing, after all. If you're an Indiana fan in your 60s, for many of you, Mike Woodson is your all-time favorite Indiana player. In your 40s, that same phrase might be used for Fife, the 2002 Defensive Player of the year who made it to a national championship game.

    Fife was also that last bridge to Bob Knight, which means a hell of a lot to this fan base. Probably too much, to be honest. But that's what is fact. And, facts are facts.

    Indiana fans love Mike Woodson, and they love Dane Fife, too. And Wednesday's news of Fife's firing — I'm going to continue to call it that — forced a lot of people to take sides.

    First reactions to the news favored Fife, with many wondering if the old man Woodson, who turned 64 years old on Wednesday, had lost it. This was supposed to be a marriage made in Hoosier heaven. Woodson was supposed to turn around the IU program and then hand over the reins to Fife three or four years down the road.

    Dolson never said that Fife was the heir apparent, but that sure looked like the plan. And now it's blown up in Indiana's face. This is not a good look, and there's no good way to spin it, because someone has to be thrown under the bus for a failure that didn't even last 12 months.

    As the night wore on, it was Fife who got thrown under the bus by the folks at 247Sports. It wasn't in their ''stories'' on the Fife dismissal, but on message boards, their lead Indiana basketball writer accused Fife of being disloyal, stabbing Woodson in the back with people outside of the program, failing in his recruiting responsibilities for the program, and talking repeatedly about his NIL and political beliefs that ran counter to the program's policies.

    There was always very little interaction between Woodson and Fife on the bench on game nights. Fife was often further down the bench, talking mostly with the players than with Woodson.

    That's not really all that uncommon in college benches, to be honest. There is often some good cop/bad cop stuff going on, but that doesn't look like the case here. Now that we know the outcome, it's likely that Woodson simply didn't want to hear anything that Fife wanted to say. He'd rather do things with Kenya Hunter and Yasir Rosemond, his two other assistants.

    On a couple of cases during the regular season, I tried to engage Woodson into conversations about what he was learning about the college game from his assistants. After all, Woodson has been in the NBA for four decades, as a long-time player and then coach. The college game was all new to him.

    He never really answered those questions with any specifics, always spoke in generalities and never mentioned Fife, Hunter or Rosemond by name.

    Woodson also uses ''I'' instead of ''we'' when talking about coaching decisions. This is his program, and he's always very clear about that. That's why you never heard from any of the three assistants in the media all season. They don't talk about what's going on — Woodson does.

    And that's the way it goes.

    That's an NBA thing, and Woodson certainly has brought that philosophy along with him. That was part of the reason behind my line of questioning during the season, because I remember back from five or six years ago, when I was writing our IU basketball book ''Missing Banners'' with my friend Terry Hutchens.

    I was doing the 1980 chapters in the book. I have talked with Woodson about those years many times — we were classmates, both 1980 grads, and I covered his college career for two-plus years. But I wanted a fresh interview. Woodson was an assistant coach to Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers at the time, and I went through the Clippers to set up an interview.

    I was told no, that Rivers doesn't allow his assistants to talk to the media. It didn't matter that I simply wanted to talk about a college basketball season that took place more than 35 years ago.

    But those were the rules.

    In this case, there is surely plenty of blame to go around. If those rumors about Fife are true — I cannot confirm them, but also have no reason to not believe them — then Fife is certainly to blame for this divorce. This IU ''brotherhood'' truly does go only so far.

    Maybe Woodson could have handled the issues better, too, at least along the way. What's very clear by the firing — there's that word again — was that Woodson is true to his convictions in wanting to do this the right way, his way.

    If it doesn't work, then fix it. Woodson has said repeatedly that this all isn't about him. It's about the players, he's always saying, and it's about restoring this Indiana program that he loves so much to the glory that we've all seen before.

    If Fife was getting in the way of that, then bye-bye.

    There were some people on Wednesday who wanted to accuse Dolson of forcing Fife on Woodson, but that wasn't the case. Woodson spent time with Fife before he hired him, had many long conversations and even said he liked the idea of Dane coming home, too.

    Hiring Fife was a great idea in April. The fact that it didn't work out now doesn't change that. You don't re-write history. You just make the move, and move on. But it will be interesting to see the role that Dolson played in dealing with this Woodson-Fife dynamic during the year. He is, after all, the boss to BOTH of them.

    If he could have fixed this along the way, he would have. But with how things played out on Wednesday, it's clear that fixing this fractured relationship was never an option. It had gone too far beyond fixing.

    Woodson and Fife are both Hoosier legends, both massive fan favorites, so this is hard to watch. It's like watching twin brothers brawling in a fistfight. It's just not a good look.

    I really thought that Dane Fife would be the head coach at Indiana when Woodson was ready to hang it up, whenever that might be.

    There's no way that happens now. None.

    So life goes on, and we move forward. It's going to be interesting to see who Woodson hires next. It will be even more interesting to see where Fife lands. He will have plenty of options, to be sure.

    I'm on record for being thrilled that Woodson came back home. Same with Fife. I thoroughly enjoyed being around both of them all season.

    It's a shame it didn't work.

    It's a real shame that is was so bad that it led to this ugly break-up. They are Hoosiers. They are beloved Hoosiers.

    And now it's done. Just like that.

    And that's too bad.

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