Indiana basketball fans must consider it inevitable that their Hoosiers need a coaching change during every season; that has been their operating principle since 2000. Hoosiers fans need food, air, shelter, and an ongoing list of candidates to survive the transition process. The big man they want to be on campus now is Duty May. He took Florida Atlantic to the Final Four, and in some deranged Hoosier minds, that means he would win a Natty in his first year in Bloomington. They probably think they win it all yearly with good Ole Dusty May!
But wait Hoosier fanatics; there is this. As reported in August, they gave their men’s coach, Mike Woodson, a one-million-dollar per year raise, making his annual compensation up until 2027 estimated to be $4.2 million annually based on reports. Woodson signed his original contract in 2021 – so his buyout before April 1, 2025, should equal 100 per cent of what’s left on it if anything changes with it – Indiana made two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and won one game last spring in the tourney. While Kel’El Ware went from being virtually lost at Oregon to being very much an NBA prospect thanks to his development, is Indiana like Louisville and Depaul, and does the coaching need to be changed now? No Hoosier fans, it’s not that bad.
Even if it is that bad, the administration is not firing Coach Woodson until after next season at the earliest; that’s a lot of money to eat. Woodson’s first two seasons were twenty-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament berths. Is that so bad? That was coming off multiple seasons with no NCAA Tournament berths. The previous coach, Archie Miller, did not recruit well enough and had one twenty-win season that resulted in zero March Madness trips, so I ask again, is what we are seeing now that bad?
Coach Woodson has recruited better than Archie did, and that’s obvious when you look at the overall health of the program; the Hoosiers are in better shape than they were four years ago, and with recruits like Liam McNeely coming in the future, maybe bright with this program.
I understand why Hoosier fans are not happy at the moment, as this team has had no leadership, and they do not seem to be playing with the intensity needed to win at a high level. History has shown us that switching Head Coaches quickly can lead to bigger problems. It’s not like coaches are being changed all that quickly, anyway. Archie Miller got four years, and Tom Crean got nine years. That, to me, does not mean the plug is being pulled too quickly.
With Coach Woodson, we are at year three, and I thought his first two years were solid. Should he be fired right now? No! That would be stupid; I know fans are frustrated, and no, the NCAA Tournament seems like it won’t happen this season. This team has the talent to make an end-of-season run, so why will we, as fans, destroy them now? I know you are upset with the offense and the defense and Xavier Johnson and the flagrant foul situation, but is there a coach that could come in right now and save the season?
I have never been impressed with Coach Woodson’s in-game moves, and I don’t think this team has any leadership, but that can be fixed. Let’s face it: saying they have many new faces is true. That is not an excuse to use, as other teams have had similar turnovers, and they are not struggling. Coach Woodson trusted Xavier Johnson and should not have even brought him back for this season. The coach was trying to help Xavier, and so far, that has backfired. Xavier has not been starting, so that has been his punishment. Maybe you think that punishment is not tough enough, and I would agree with you.
If the flagrant fouls continue and the team continues its listless play through the end of the season, then maybe you could talk about a coaching change. But it would be best if you gave Woody a chance here; with Illinois up next, a win at Illinois can turn this season around. Coach Woodson has recruited well so far, and one more class should give him the weapons he needs to win. If next year, at this time, this team is having the same issues, then Woody will be on the hot seat, but so far in his first three years, the Hoosiers are more competitive than they were. I know we are Indiana, and that’s not good enough.
But as a Hoosier fan, you must realize this is no longer the 1980s, and we are NOT a blue blood program anymore! The Hoosiers are barely relevant. Things have changed, and that change happened in 1995, and Bob Knight was still the coach. The only way to fix this is to get a coach and give him time to build a program, and the time that takes is at least four years after the first two seasons; the program looked headed in the right direction.
These aren’t the good old days anymore, and we may never see days like we had in the past again, but the possibility exists that we will. Most fans wanted a former Hoosier to be the Head Coach. Will you got it? Mike Woodson is not Bob Knight, and playing for Knight does not mean you can Coach like Knight. It just means you played for Knight.
In reality, the fans are the biggest issue at Indiana; the fans were spoiled for years. All fan bases bitch, complain and overreact, but Hoosier fans are taking this to levels beyond most programs. Will Mike Woodson get this fixed before the year is up? Will he fix it in the off-season with recruiting? I have no idea about these two questions. Still, I am willing to give him a chance because finding the right man is hard and if you let Woodson go, you are throwing away a ton of money, and you have no idea that the next Coach will be any better and as Archie Miller has shown it can get worse. So calm down Hoosier Nation and give Woody a chance, changing coaches like underwear rarely works.
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