Archie Miller walked out of the southeast tunnel of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall alongside IU Athletic Director Fred Glass, his wife Morgan and 11-year-old daughter Leah.
Miller, 38, was moments away from officially being introduced as the 29th head coach in IU men’s basketball history March 27, Morgan and Leah sat in the front row on Branch McCracken Court.
When Miller took the podium and spoke about IU and the path he’s taken to get to this point in his career, it was evident he cares deeply about two things — his family and basketball.
“It’s not easy to be a coach’s wife in particular, one that moves around quite a bit,” Miller said. “But this is one opportunity we’re all really, really excited about — joining the community and doing what we can to help any and everyone.”
Miller’s father, John, is a hall of fame high school coach in Pennsylvania with 657 career wins.
Archie called him the best coach he’s ever been around and said his father taught him more about coaching than he ever realized before he wanted to become a coach.
His brother, Sean, is the head coach at Arizona, and Miller said he was the most instrumental person in his life when it comes to basketball.
The new IU coach even touched on the importance of his immediate family and how his mother, father, brother and two sisters have a tight relationship that has helped him on this journey.
John coached the 5-foot-9 Miller at Blackhawk High School in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
Miller went on to play point guard at North Carolina State from 1998-2002 and still is top-10 in Wolfpack history in career free throw percentage, 3-point percentage and made 3-pointers.
Glass said Miller was on his short list from the beginning and the more he learned about the new IU basketball coach, the more Glass was sold on whom to hire.
“Even at a young age, having a very deep and broad coaching experience under a number of significant coaches and major programs, proven winner, proven recruiter, proven player developer, the defense-first mentality, defense travels, defense wins championships,” Glass said. “All that stuff I think propelled him high on my initial list.”
Miller’s lone head coaching job was in the Atlantic-10 at Dayton, but he spent 11 years as an assistant coach before that in the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten.
He began as a coaching intern at his alma mater under Herb Sendek in 2002, just a year removed from being a player.
Miller landed his first assistant coaching job at Western Kentucky for one season then returned to NC State first as director of basketball operations, then as full-time assistant coach.
Miller followed Sendek from North Carolina State to Arizona State in 2006 before moving to the Big Ten and building a relationship with Ohio State head coach Thad Matta as his assistant. Miller said he still takes his advice from Matta to this day.
“I think coach Matta changed my complexion of what college basketball was all about,” Miller said. “His approach was you need to spend all that time on the plays, you need to spend all that time on the players, and that was different. I loved it.”
Archie finished his assistant coaching career with his brother, Sean, at Arizona for two seasons before accepting the head coaching job at Dayton and taking the Flyers to four consecutive NCAA tournaments and one Elite Eight.
Miller has a specific view for IU and talked about his three-level approach to the program: the past, the current and the future.
He wants to pay homage to those who laid the groundwork to make IU the place it is today. He wants the student-athletes who are now his players to gain a degree from the University, and most importantly he wants to recruit starting from Indiana and making his way out.
Miller isn’t flashy. There were no band or cheerleaders on the court awaiting his entrance Monday. He didn’t over-hype IU’s five national championship banners and promise to bring the Hoosiers back to greatness.
Instead, he talked basketball, his family and the plan his program moving forward.
“You know, the state of Indiana in many ways is me,” Miller said. “I’m the son of a coach who sat around all day long with a ball in his hands from about five or six years old, and the only thing that was ever preached to me was, you have to outwork everyone. You have to be the hardest working person or player every day.”