BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana filled out its men’s basketball coaching staff with one of its own, hiring a former IU big man with a bright defensive mind and a reputation for toughness and intensity.
Mike Roberts, who played for the Hoosiers from 2000-05 as a 6-foot-9 forward before starting a 13-year coaching career, was hired as IU’s assistant coach Thursday. Roberts replaces Ed Schilling, who left the team in June to pursue other opportunities.
Roberts has spent the last eight seasons as an associate coach at UNC-Greensboro under head coach and former prep school teammate Wes Miller. He handled most of the defensive calls off the bench for the Spartans, helping lead a defense that ranked in the top 75 in the nation (74th) in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency. UNCG has reached 20 or more wins in each of the last three seasons with Roberts on the bench, including last season’s 29-win campaign. UNCG has reached either the NCAA Tournament or NIT in each of those three seasons.
“Mike is someone who I think can have a great impact on our program,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “He has played an important role in establishing a championship culture at UNCG, and his love for Indiana basketball is very evident.
“I think he brings outstanding qualities to every facet of what we were looking for in this position. If you look at his track record, he identifies great people and players who have achieved success in their development. Mike helps them reach their maximum potential.”
A Terre Haute native, Roberts played in 64 games at IU, averaging 1.4 points in his career. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree and served as team captain during the 2004-05 season. Roberts moved to Eugene, Ore., from Indiana when he was in eighth grade and finished his high school career at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire before coming to IU.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to come back to my home state and the city of Bloomington and appreciate that Coach Miller would like me to return to be a part of the IU family,” Roberts said. “Without a doubt, IU was a place that helped shape me, and I’m honored to be able to give back to this basketball program and university.”
Former IU guard Tom Coverdale, who was Roberts’ roommate for two years, said Roberts is a high character guy who coaches big men well and is a strong recruiter.
“He is definitely going to bring that fire, and I think he is a guy that can’t really contain it, either,” Coverdale said in an interview on the Indiana Sports Beat with Jim Coyle on Thursday. “So you’re going to see that on the bench as well, his intensity and how into the game he is and how much it means to him.”
Before UNCG, Roberts spent four years as an assistant coach at Rice under Ben Braun from 2008-12. Roberts also served on Braun’s staff at California from 2006-08. Roberts got his start in coaching when Bob Knight, who recruited him to IU, hired him as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech in 2005.
In addition to his coaching acumen, Roberts has developed recruiting ties in California, Texas, North Carolina and overseas throughout his coaching career.