By Earl Health
Contributing Sports Writer
Former LA Clipper assistant Coach Mike Woodson has taken the job at Indiana University. Woodson had spent his entire career in the NBA.
“I’ve never coached in college, but I like to think I’ve coached at the highest level and I’ve coached some of the greatest that ever graced the basketball court,” Woodson said Monday during a video call. “Yes, there are going to be some challenges for me. But at the end of the day, coaching is coaching and I’ve got to get players, recruit quality student-athletes and get players who can come in here and help this program move in the right direction.
Woodson, 63, is an Indianapolis native who played for the Hoosiers and coach Bob Knight from 1976 to 1980. Woodson has spent his entire coaching career in the NBA, with 25 years of experience as an assistant and a head coach. He was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks for six seasons and the Knicks for three.
“I have spoken with numerous individuals at the college and NBA levels, and they were unanimous in their support of and respect for Mike,” Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson said Sunday. “From his ability in terms of X’s and O’s to his skill at building relationships and developing players, his reputation is outstanding. As a coach, he’s succeeded at the highest levels of the NBA, and he’s mentored some of the game’s all-time great players.”
Woodson becomes the first Indiana alum hired as head coach since Lou Watson replaced Branch McCracken in 1965. Dan Dakich, who also played for Knight and is now a radio personality and color commentator on ESPN, was interim head coach at Indiana for seven games in 2008 after Kelvin Sampson was fired.