Longtime MSU assistant Dane Fife to join Indiana coaching staff

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Michigan State expected to see some changes to its roster over the summer, but it will also now be dealing with a shakeup to the coaching staff.

Associate head coach Dane Fife will join Mike Woodson’s coaching staff at Indiana, the Hoosiers announced Monday, allowing Fife to return to his alma mater after 10 seasons on Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State. 

Dane Fife

"Today is my last day at Michigan State University as my family and I will be heading back to Bloomington, Indiana," Fife wrote in a post on Twitter. "I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Coach Mike Woodson’s staff and I intend to help him bring home number six. To be an Indiana Hoosier, as I’ve always said, was my dream as a little boy growing up in Clarkson, Michigan. Now, once more, I’m going to be a Hoosier.

"Michigan State will forever hold a place in my heart as one of the great experiences of my lifetime. My family and I are forever grateful for the love and support shown us by the Spartan community.”

Woodson, a former Indiana player and longtime NBA coach, was hired a week ago to replace Archie Miller, who was fired by the Hoosiers after four seasons at Indiana.

"Dane is someone who I have always had the utmost respect for," Woodson said in a statement. "His knowledge of the Big Ten and his success as a recruiter will be an invaluable asset as we look to continue building a staff that will help elevate this program to the highest levels. I know his love for the for the Hoosiers and this University comes across the moment you talk to him and we are excited to welcome back Dane, his wife Blair, and daughters Quinnly and Reagan back to Bloomington."

Fife, a former Hoosier, led Indiana to the 2002 national championship game as a senior. The Hoosiers won a share of the Big Ten title that season and Fife was named the co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. After graduating, Fife was an administrative assistant at Indiana for three seasons before becoming the head coach at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.

He spent six seasons leading IPFW before joining Michigan State’s staff in 2011, earning a promotion to associate head coach in 2018.

"I’m thrilled for Dane to get this opportunity at Indiana," Izzo said in a statement. "He is getting the chance to go back to his alma mater and it’s an opportunity to return to a place that he and his wife have considered a second home. Dane has been a tremendous asset to our program over the last 10 years and been a big part of the success we’ve had. He is a born coach, has been a hard worker and committed to Michigan State from the second he arrived here. We will obviously miss him, Blair and their daughters, Quinnly and Reagan, but wish him all the best as he takes this next step in his career and returns to his alma mater."

The Clarkston native was Michigan’s Mr. Basketball in 1998 and went on to play four seasons at Indiana. He is the Indiana career leader in steals with 180 and made 99 career 3-pointers, which ranks among the top 20 in school history. The 37 games he started as a senior established the Indiana single-season mark, while the 131 games he played over the course of his career rank tied for sixth all-time at IU.

Where Michigan State turns from here will be the next big move for Izzo and the rest of his staff, which includes associate head coach Dwayne Stephens and assistant coach Mike Garland.

The Spartans might not have to look far, with two solid candidates already on staff, including director of recruiting Doug Wojcik and director of basketball operations David Thomas. Wojcik was an assistant at MSU from 2003-05 and had head coaching stints at Tulsa and College of Charleston before returning to Michigan State in 2018. Thomas, a member of the 2000 national championship team, is lighter on experience, having served as the director of operations for the MSU women's team in 2014-15 before joining the men the next year.

Another pair of names to consider with Michigan State ties include Mark Montgomery and Thomas Kelley. Montgomery, a former Spartan and MSU assistant under Izzo for 10 seasons, was the head coach at Northern Illinois until he was fired during the 2020-21 season, his 10th at NIU. He joined Mike Davis' staff at Detroit Mercy as an assistant midway through the year. Kelley is another former Spartan who was a graduate assistant at MSU for two seasons before serving as an assistant at Western Michigan the past three seasons.


Twitter: @mattcharboneau