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Indiana Hires Mike Woodson

He might do very well, but certainly not the name hire fans were hoping for

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Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks
ATLANTA - DECEMBER 26: Head Coach Mike Woodson of the Atlanta Hawks smiles after the game against the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena on December 26, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but Indiana fired Archie Miller, gave him $10 million dollars of someone’s (Mark Cuban’s?) money to go away, and then hired Mike Woodson to restore the Hoosier brand?

He might turn out to be a phenomenal coach in Bloomington, but on the downside, he’s 63, he’s not been particularly successful as an NBA coach with a career record of 315-365 (.463), and he’s never coached in college.

On the plus side, he’s a native and a graduate and he was part of the glory years under Bob Knight before things got difficult.

He has a chance to reunite the fan base, which was shattered after Knight was forced out, and for all we know, he could prove to be a great college coach.

And Gregg Doyel posted on Twitter today that IU would also hire Ohio State coach Thad Matta to work with the basketball program as a kind of executive vice president. He’ll provide Woodson some of the guidance that Phil Martelli has given Michigan’s Juwan Howard as he transitioned to the college game.

Our take?

Compare Indiana to UNC.

When Dean Smith retired, he timed it so that UNC really had no choice but to hire Bill Guthridge. After Gut retired, Smith was determined to keep the job in the family and hired Matt Doherty after several other guys turned it down (Larry Brown would have taken it but later described his interview as essentially hostile).

The line that we remember? Michael Jordan telling Doherty that “[I]f you don’t take the job, Coach Smith will probably go outside the family and hire Rick Majerus.”

Not that Smith was the AD but whatever.

In other words, UNC had a chance to hire a brilliant basketball mind but because Smith wanted to keep it in the UNC family, he hired a guy with some real issues who wrecked the program in a few short years.

We’re not comparing Woodson to Doherty. He’s always seemed like a quiet, decent guy, but the basic point of comparison is still valid: Indiana chose an Indiana guy over several other coaches who have already succeeded in college.

Do we need to point out that Smith was not a UNC guy but that he came to Chapel Hill from Kansas?

And Woodson is 63, meaning whatever success he ultimately has will be short-lived. If he does a solid rebuild, his successor will be more likely to extend that success. And if not, Indiana goes back to square one as soon as he’s run out of town done.

Moral of the story: keeping it in the family is great if that means Uncle Roy comes home to mind the store. But if your goofy cousin Matt is hired instead, the family business may not last long.