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Monday, December 6, 2010

IU - A Coaches Second Worst Nightmare

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to go to IU for college.  I remember the first time I saw a last second shot in an IU game when I was little.  The shot seemed to float through the air and took an hour to come down.  Eventually it did.  At the horn IU wins!  I don't remember who they were playing.  The only thing I remember is the reaction of the crowd, the team, and the people around me.  That was the first time I really wanted to go to IU.  And so I made that dream a reality and attended IU for college.

One reason I don't remember who they were playing was because I was 4. 

My friends will tell you that I am a very big and loyal IU fan.  I have been to every home football game since my freshman year in 2000, with the exception of 5 games.  Weddings have been the cause of  4 of the 5 missed games.  I have gone to an IU football game over a Notre Dame game when I was offered a ticket once, if that tells you anything.  If I could afford them right now, I would have season basketball tickets.  I guess that's the price you pay for starting an insurance agency at my young age.  But I watch the games on tv each night.  As well as the Pacers and Colts.

So why is it that IU is a coaches second worst nightmare?  To me it would be the dream job.  But to others it could be a way to get the ax after 2 seasons.  This is the reason it is the second worst and not the worst nightmare for a coach because you get 2 seasons.  Notre Dame I think takes the cake at number one in my opinion because you really only get 1.  If you don't perform right out of the gate at ND, they're calling for your head.  It even seems this way if you are 7-5 or 8-4 and going to Bowl Games.  This is why I would say Notre Dame is #1.  Especially when one example I can think of is when you have the most wins since the Lou Holtz era and are responsible for ending a 9 game bowl losing streak.  Which ironically started in the Holtz era.  At Notre Dame you are constantly under the microscope no matter what.

At IU, they at least give you 2-3 years.  Oh and by the way, we will still pay you after we fire you because that's what we do.  I thought Fred Glass, when he became athletic director, said that contracts are going to mean something at IU again.  Well, Bill Lynch probably would disagree with him here.  Now while I understand that Lynch had only one year left on his contract after this season, I thought we were still going to finish out our contracts like we said we were going to in the begining?  IU has had 4 different coaches in each basketball and football since 2000.  That's 8 for you math majors.  How can you build a program with this turnover?  I know that it would have been to either finish out the contract without an extension or to extend the contract because you think Bill Lynch is the man to help position yourself a top the Big Ten.

If you can't tell, I'm not a big fan of the firing of Bill Lynch as the football coach of the Hoosiers.  This is for 3 different reasons.

1.  I have never seen the team play as hard and tough as they have the past couple years in football since Bill Mallory was coach in the 80's and early 90's.  Now they did play this hard the two years that Hoeppner was here.  However, they had a mental toughness about them that I had not seen before.  Also Bill Lynch had an exciting attitude on the sidelines.  He really enjoyed coaching the Hoosiers.  The other coaches since the late 90's just went about their business on the sidelines not showing any excitement for their team.  The only two that I felt had the excitement and were fun to watch on the sidelines were Lynch and Hoeppner.  (By the way, did you know that Terry Hoeppner said that his dream job was to coach at IU?)

2.  IU has hired 4 different coaches in both basketball and football since 2000.  That's an average of 2 1/2 years as coach.  Again I ask, how can you build a program if you are not given time to do so in the first place.  It takes years to build a program.  It is not something that can just happen over night.  Look at any sports program.  They have 5 to 10 years of success followed by 10-20 years of down seasons or struggling.  (With the exception of Ohio State who seems to have only 1 or 2 down seasons every 10 - 15 years.  They are what we call a freak of nature.)

And 3.  IU won't spend the money to get a coach anyway.  Why is this you ask?  Well I don't necessarily think that it because they don't care about the football program.  Because they do.  It's their largest revenue earner.  But rather, they might not have the money to spend because we are too busy still paying off the other coaches that we fired who were still under contract the last 10 years.  The only way to change a program over night is to spend millions of dollars on a very big name coach, that all you have to do is say his name and recruits will sign on the dotted line no matter what school it is.  Again, it takes time to build.

IU really was playing well the last 2 years under Bill Lynch.  I felt the program was going in the right direction.  Granted the wins were not there.  But the last 2 years they have lost 7 games by a total of 33 points (largest was 11 against Penn State).  This is an average of 4.7 points per loss.  Of which, all 7 of those games they were leading in the 4th quarter.  All of these loses were to Big Ten schools.  Schools that before in the past they didn't even compete.  And most of those games were on the road as well.  Before losing to Iowa last year 42-24, they lead 24-21 in the 4th.  Now also they have not been able to finish the past 2 seasons, but they are improving.  This will come with time.  Yes I know the Wisconsin game this year was bad, but every team has a really bad game like that every now and then.  (Ohio State lost to USC in 2008 35-3.)  And Lynch had a great recruiting class coming in too.

That's really all I have to say right now on this matter.  I don't have enough time to go into detail on it further because I have to go here in a minute.  So I just hope that whoever they hire next is given at least 5 or more years to build the program.  I just hope they don't let Tom Crean go anytime soon.  He's doing a great job with the team. 

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