During a recent appearance on Indiana Sports Beat, Vitale praised the program for their hire of longtime NBA coach Mike Woodson.
The former Hoosiers star player was hired to replace Archie Miller, who was fired following the 2020-21 campaign.
“I think it was certainly a good hire, no question. When you look at it on paper, it’s a terrific hire,” Vitale said, per Saturday Tradition. “However, to be honest with you, when Archie Miller got hired, I was a big fan of that. I thought he did such an amazing job everywhere he was, including Dayton. I thought he was going to be a home run, I really did.
“Mike brings that Indiana love for the fans. He brings that unbelievable feeling. They loved him there as a player, he was a great player, he’s done well as a coach wherever he’s been. I think he’ll adjust (to the college game). One of the best things he did, right away, was hire Dan Fife. I think that was a terrific move.”
Indiana was once a college basketball powerhouse — but in recent years, that distinction has faded away. The Hoosiers have now failed to make the NCAA Tournament on five straight attempts going back to 2015-16.
Vitale says it’s Woodson’s duty to bring IU back to what it once was.
“Indiana’s not a blue blood program right now. It’s not. It’s not because it hasn’t had the kind of success lately that would put them in that category like you can Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Michigan State,” Vitale said. “You can’t do that right now with Indiana because they’ve really lost that edge.”
Woodson was a four-year star at Indiana, averaging 19.8 points per game during his time in Bloomington. From there, he went on to be selected by New York Knicks — tipping off his 11-year NBA career.
He first joined the NBA coaching ranks in 1996 as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks. The former Hoosier then landed his first heading coaching job with the Hawks — serving there for six seasons. After that, he took over at the helm for the Knicks where he spent three more seasons as a head coach. His most recent gig was as an assistant for New York in 2020-21.
The 2021-22 season will be Woodson’s first year of coaching at the collegiate level.