LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) -New Indiana head basketball coach Mike Woodson knows the X’s and O’s....now he has to go after the Jimmys and Joes.
Woodson, who has never coached at the college level, must now learn the ropes as a recruiter to help turn around IU’s hoop fortunes.
" There will be challenges but I’m going to try to surround myself with people that can help me navigate some of the challenges,” said Woodson at Monday’s press conference in Bloomington.
“At the end of the day I gotta put a product on the floor that Hoosier fans will love from a defensive standpoint and from an offensive standpoint.”
Woodson, an Indianapolis native, starred as an IU player from 1976 through 1980. When his playing days in the NBA were over after 11 seasons, he went into coaching in the league. He does own experience as a head coach, having had stints with the Atlanta Hawks and with the New York Knicks. Woodson left behind an assistant role with the Knicks to become the Hoosiers’ 30th head basketball coach. Besides being with New York and Atlanta, he was a part of several other NBA coaching staffs. He does have a reputation for developing top pro players.
Indiana athletic director, Scott Dolan believes Woodson is a perfect fit for the school’s program.
“Mike’s known as a visionary,” said Dolan. " He’s an X’s and O’s guy. Those folks at the highest level of the game that I spoke with said Mike is a visionary,” he added. “They said there’s no better mind in the NBA than Mike Woodson’s.”
Reflecting on his playing days at Indiana, Woodson paid tribute to his former coach, Bob Knight.
“Indiana basketball will always be Bob Knight,” Woodson said. “He took a chance on a kid many years ago to come here and play ball and it was a journey for Mike Woodson. He taught me how to play the game and how to be a man on and off the floor.”
“ For me , this is now a complete circle. I’ve done pretty much everything I wanted to do in basketball, " he went on to say.