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Embattled Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson will return to the team for the 2024-25 season, Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star reported on Wednesday. 

The news wasn’t a complete shock; despite the struggles the Hoosiers have gone through, Woodson’s return always seemed likely. Had Indiana fired Woodson, he would have been owed around $12.6 million. Even if they had wanted to clean house, that’s a lot of money to pay someone to not coach.  

There is also no denying that Woodson has done good work at Indiana. He helped the program pull itself out of the grim Archie Miller days, returning the Hoosiers to respectability. He made the NCAA Tournament his first two seasons, getting as far as the 2nd round last year. And as bad as it has been at times this year, the team is currently 17-13 overall, and is now winners of three straight. He is also a beloved figure in Indiana basketball lore from his playing days in Bloomington. 

However, there is legitimate concern that the program has reached its high-water mark under Woodson. Firing a home-grown “IU Guy” would be painful; unfortunately, bringing him back could just be Indiana kicking the can down the road, so to speak. 

During Thursday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, former Hoosier and Big Ten Player of the Year Brian Evans joined the show and shared his reaction to the Hoosiers deciding to bring back Mike Woodson. 

“I was surprised. I said it the last time I was on, I think you asked me the question ‘Do you think he’ll be back next year?’ and I paused, and certainly I don’t know the answer, but my gut feeling was no, and I was wrong…my gut feeling was [that] they don’t like the trajectory of the program, and what we’ve seen this year in a 7-8 game losing streak in the conference. On the flip side, you look at Archie Miller, [who] had no affiliation with the program whatsoever, he was a mid-major flavor of the month. He gets the job, he got four years, and I think he would’ve made the tournament during the Covid year, but there was no tournament, so they never make the tournament under him in four years. Under Mike Woodson, who’s a former All-American and one of our all-time greats, [he] gets three years, and he makes the tournament in his first two…when I look at it like that then maybe it’s tough to let him go after three years.” 

Evans also shared his opinion that Woodson’s status as a former player is giving him more leeway than he deserves. 

“I don’t think he would’ve had the job had he not been a former player, I don’t think he got it based on his coaching resume. I think a big part of him being here was that he had played here. So I would have to say yeah, he’s probably got another year based certainly not on performance but based on the fact that he’s got a 6-year contract, and he was a former All-American here.” 

Check out JMV’s full conversation with Brian Evans and more down below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan! 

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