The Indiana Hoosiers have decided to take a page out of the Michigan playbook by tapping former Hoosier and now most recently ex-assistant coach in the NBA Mike Woodson. A native of Indianapolis, Woodson played for legendary IU head coach Bobby Knight from 1976-1980 (an era that, unlike Juwan Howard’s tenure, actually saw a title banner).
Welcome home, Coach Woodson. pic.twitter.com/jrIeKcYawR— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) March 28, 2021
Woodson is reportedly signing a six year contract with Indiana after re-signing last fall as an assistant coach in September with the New York Knicks. He had head coaching roles with the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010, along with the Knicks from 2012-2014.
In addition to his head coaching roles and time with the Hoosiers, Woodson was drafted by the Knicks in the first round in 1980 as the 12th overall pick. He played for a decade in the NBA with the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After his playing career, Woodson started out as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks for three season (1996-1999) before moving onto the Cavs for two seasons (1999-2001) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2001-2003). Woodson was then an assistant with the Detroit Pistons for the 2003-2004 season when they won the championship (as this writer fondly remembers) before taking the head job with the Hawks.
After the time in Atlanta came to an end, Woodson took an assistant job with the Knicks for one season before being promoted to head coach. Then after this time with New York ended as the head man, he spent four season as an assistant with the Clippers.
Woodson becomes the first alum hire by the Hoosiers as head coach since Lou Watson in 1965. Dan Dakich, also a player at IU, was of course the interim coach for seven games in 2008 after Kelvin Sampson was fired. Woodson still ranks fifth all-time at Indiana in career scoring with 2,061 points, and was on a Big Ten conference championship team in his final season in Bloomington, along with a Sweet 16 appearance.
As a head coach in the NBA, Woodson has a 315-365 career record. His hiring has drawn generally wide praise by Hoosier program alums. In addition to Woodson, IU has also hired former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta as Associate Athletic Director for Men’s Basketball Administration. The tandem should prove a tantalizing and skilled duo in IU’s efforts to return to the pinnacle of college hoops.