Thomas says Indiana hasn't contacted him about coaching job

Updated: March 31, 2008, 9:55 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Embattled New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said he is not a candidate for the Indiana University job.

Thomas, whose Knicks have lost seven of eight and 14 of 16, has a 53-102 record in two seasons with the team. Though he helped Indiana win the 1981 NCAA championship, Thomas has never coached in college.

He indicated the Hoosiers haven't consulted him about becoming their head coach.

"No, I have a job," Thomas said before the Knicks played the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Thomas, also the Knicks' team president, said he hopes interim coach Dan Dakich is named full-time at Indiana.

In February, Dakich replaced Kelvin Sampson, who resigned following the release of an NCAA report that said he committed five "major" violations involving recruiting. Prior to the start of the NCAA tournament, the school appointed a 10-member committee to search for a replacement for Sampson.

After Dakich -- an assistant under Sampson and a former Indiana player and assistant under Bob Knight -- took over, the Hoosiers (25-8) lost four of their final seven games, including a shocking last-second defeat against Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals and an 86-72 loss to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"He's done an excellent job," Thomas said. "He understands the program. He's been intimately involved on the coaching side and also on the playing side."

"Of all the former players, he'd definitely have the support of mine and others. I hope he's someone they do name as the coach of Indiana."

Thomas acknowledged that he might have interest in coaching one day in college.

"You never say never in terms of where you'll end up and who you'll be with," he said. "So you just try to take the day as it comes."

Right now, Thomas is trying to save his position with New York, which has reportedly talked with former Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh about taking charge of the organization.

Walsh hired Thomas as coach of the Pacers in 2000. In three years with Indiana, Thomas led the Pacers to a 131-115 record and three playoff appearances.

When Walsh brought in Larry Bird to run the Pacers in 2003, Thomas was fired.

With the NBA's fifth-worst record at 20-53, Thomas seemed to dislike a question about some of his players calling for a new coaching change.

"That player should put his name on it, if there is such a player," Thomas said. "But I think you have the opportunity and the access to all our players and you can ask them. I think it's safe to say that in any locker room, football, basketball or hockey, I don't think there's a coach coaching today that has 15 happy players. You have some that's unhappy and you have some that's happy. That's coaching."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press