Why Mike Woodson Left the NBA to Be Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers

Published 05/08/2021, 11:58 AM EDT


The Indiana Hoosiers parted ways with head coach Archie Miller following a disappointing 2020-21 season. They tried to splash the cash to bring in Celtics coach Brad Stevens as a replacement, but he rejected it. Finally, they hired one of their own, Mike Woodson, who played for the Hoosiers back in the 1970s.

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Woodson was working as an assistant coach with the Knicks when the Hoosiers rang him up. Although he was having a good season in New York, few can say no to their alma mater. During a recent interview, Woodson explained what drew him back to the Hoosiers.

He said, “Timing had a lot to do with it. Somebody believing in Mike Woodson…that probably meant more to me than anything. I wanted somebody to believe in me that I can get the job done. And Scott Dawson believed. President McRobbie, after talking with him, he believed. I had a lot of support cast in Bloomington. To be able to circle back is like a dream come true.”

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Woodson first joined Indiana back in 1976 and played four seasons with them. And now he returns to Bloomington, 41 years after he initially left.

Coach Mike Woodson off to a busy start with the Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers haven’t won the NCAA tournament since 1987. They haven’t qualified for the tournament since five seasons, which was also the last time they won the Conference Regular Season. They are yet to win a Conference Tournament as well. So Woodson has a huge responsibility to help the Hoosiers return to the top.

Within 12 days of joining, Woodson convinced four of the six players who entered the transfer portal to stay. Convincing All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis to stay is the biggest move he has made so far. Woodson also orchestrated the transfer of Xavier Johnson from Pittsburgh.

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Jan 4, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) celebrates after a basket against the Maryland Terrapins in the second half at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Hoosiers have already brought in Tamar Bates and Logan Duncomb. And now Woodson is targeting Vince Iwuchukwu, who is ranked No. 25 overall in the class of 2022. Not only is he improving the current roster, but Woodson is also building for the next few years.

If the players can also show similar commitment to the program as Woodson, the Hoosiers will be a feared team in the Big Ten Conference.

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DIVE DEEPER

‘World Class Coach’- NCAA Analyst Reacts To Mike Woodson Joining Indiana Hoosiers

3 months ago

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Aaron Mathew

1645 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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