Archie Miller is leaving Dayton to become the next head coach at Indiana. The hire was officially announced on Saturday morning. Miller went 139-63 in six seasons at Dayton and his tenure was highlighted by a pair of Atlantic 10 championships, four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight in 2014.
It goes without saying that Miller’s replacement will have enormous shoes to fill. It will be interesting to see what Dayton prioritizes in its next head coach. Someone with connections to Dayton or the state of Ohio in general would a plus, but not necessarily a necessity. Let’s take a look at some of the possible candidates that could replace Miller as Dayton’s next head coach.
Kevin Kuwik, Tom Ostrom or Allen Griffin (Dayton assistants)
Dayton has three viable options if it wants to promote from within. Kuwik and Ostrom served as assistants under Miller since he was hired in 2011, and Griffin joined the staff a year later. None of these three have head coaching experience at the Division 1 level, but an in-house hire could mean stability for the program. Dayton 2017 commit Nahziah Carter has already expressed concerns about Miller’s departure, so a familiar face at the helm could help weather the recruiting storm in the short term.
Dane Fife (Michigan State assistant)
Fife’s name has been tossed around for several coaching vacancies this off-season. He was reportedly a top candidate for the Duquesne job before Fife ultimately turned it down. Dayton is obviously a much better job than Duquesne, so Fife would probably listen if Dan Sullivan came calling. Fife previously served as the head coach at IPFW from 2005-2011.
James Whitford (Ball State head coach)
Whitford has Ohio connections as he previously served as an assistant at Miami (OH) and Xavier. He has pulled off quite the turnaround during his four-year stint at Ball State, taking them from 5-25 in 2014 to 21-13 this season. If Dayton decides they want someone with head coaching experience, Whitford definitely makes for an interesting candidate. Similar to Fife, he was also considered a candidate for the Duquesne job.
Greg Paulus (Ohio State assistant)
Yes, THAT Greg Paulus. The former Duke guard has served on Thad Matta’s staff at Ohio State since 2011. He was a video coordinator for two years before being promoted to assistant coach in 2013. His six years recruiting in Ohio would certainly serve him well at Dayton. At age 30, Paulus would be the youngest head coach in the country. Hiring a coach that young may scare people, but A-10 rival VCU has experienced success with a pair of coaches in their early-30s over the last few years. It’s also worth noting that Miller was just 32 years old when he was first hired by Dayton.
Jeff Boals (Stony Brook head coach)
Boals has, perhaps, the deepest ties to the Buckeye State of anyone on this list. He served as an assistant at Akron from 2006-2009, and spent the next seven years as Matta’s top assistant at Ohio State. Boals went 18-14 in his first season at Stony Brook and finished second in the America East.
Ron Hunter (Georgia State head coach)
The Dayton native and Miami grad may be a bit of a long shot, but his 22 years of head coaching experience make him an interesting candidate. He coached at IUPUI from 1994-2011 before moving to Georgia State. Hunter has led Georgia State to two Sun Belt championships in the last four years. Hunter gained national prominence after his team pulled off an improbable upset of No. 3 seeded Baylor in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Just kidding, maybe. (Ed note: SOMEBODY PLEASE HIRE HIM!)