Everybody thinks when your school doesn’t win the conference, or have an outstanding season, that you should just fire the coach.
That’s not always going to fix the problem.
The Indiana Hoosiers last won the Big 10 in 1967 which ended in a Rose Bowl trip and a loss to USC and OJ Simpson. I wrote about that magical season here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/indiana-hoosiers-1967/
A lot of people that might read this post were not even alive in 1967. Think about it. This country has been through 9 Presidents since 1967 and several of those served 8 years each.
Ohio State has won or shared 21 Big 10 Championships since that time. Michigan has also won or shared 21 times.
Wisconsin is next on the championship list with 6 won or shared Big 10 titles. Iowa and Michigan State have 5 each. Illinois, Penn State and Northwestern have 3 a piece. Purdue even has one Big 10 title.
But, there is no Indiana on the list since that 1967 season.
The Hoosiers are a basketball school sitting right in the middle of a basketball state. Football is mostly an afterthought in the state of Indiana.
John Pont was the coach at Indiana when they went to the Rose Bowl and played USC on January
1st, 1968. After that season, Indiana won 6 games and they lost 4. After that, it went downhill really quickly with the Hoosiers posting 4-6, 1-9, 3-8, and 5-6 records.
After Pont was gone, Indiana hired Lee Corso. Fans know Corso as the crazy guy on ESPN Gameday that nearly always picks the wrong team to win at the end of the show. He is funny and entertaining, but he coached the Hoosiers to a 48-68-2 record with his best season coming in 1979 when he led Indiana to an 8-4 record with a win in the Holiday Bowl.
Corso managed to last at Indiana for 10 seasons.
After Corso hit the road, Sam Wyche was hired before the 1983 season. Wyche led the Hoosiers to a rather unimpressive 3-8 record and he only lasted one season. The Hoosiers can’t be blamed for that because the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL whisked Wyche away and he coached them to a Super Bowl.
Bill Mallory was the next and the best of the Indiana Hoosiers football coaches. He coached the Hoosiers for 13 seasons. His best season was in 1988 when the Hoosiers won 8 games and only lost 3, with 1 tie. After that, he had two 8-4 seasons and a couple of 7 win years, mixed in with 0-11, 5-6, 3-8 and 2-9.
He left with a record of 69-77-3 record.
Current LSU Offensive Coordinator, Cam Cameron was next. He only lasted 5 seasons with his best being his last when the Hoosiers finished 5-6. Overall, Cameron had an 18-37 record.
Along came former Notre Dame great Offensive Lineman Gerry DiNardo who had been fired at LSU. Head scratcher here, because he couldn’t win at LSU and it was thought that he could do better at Indiana?
Well, DiNardo didn’t last long either with 3 bad seasons under his belt. His record was 8-27.
Before the 2005 season, the Hoosiers hired Terry Hoeppner away from Miami of Ohio. I suppose somebody at Indiana had gotten a copy of the book about Miami of Ohio being the Cradle of Coaches and thought Hoeppner may be the next big guy out of that program. Since Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler and former Indiana coaches John Pont and Bill Mallory had all coached at Miami of Ohio, that was not a bad idea at all.
Hoeppner posted 4-7 and 5-7 records at Indiana and he may have very well succeeded, but we will never know because he took a leave of absence due to his health before the 2007 season and he would later die of Brain Cancer.
Bill Lynch had take over for Hoeppner and his first season was something of a success with a Bowl game and a 7-6 record. It went quickly downhill from there with a 3-9 record.
After two more poor seasons, Bill Lynch made like the normal Indiana Hoosiers football coach and he was gone.
That’s when we get to Kevin Wilson.
Do you see a pattern here? Coaching football at Indiana is a hard sell. It’s hard to recruit Indiana football players, and there are a few. Most of the best ones leave the state to go to Ohio State, or Michigan. There are even some that wind up in the SEC. Tennessee signed Darrin Kirkland Jr in their last recruiting class. He was a 4 star Linebacker out of Indiana and he is a starter in his freshman season at Tennessee. There are many examples of good players from the state of Indiana playing elsewhere. Michigan has a commitment from this year’s best Indiana player, Brandon Peters from Avon, Indiana. He is a 4 star prospect and very talented, but Indiana will only see him when the Hoosiers take on Michigan on the football field.
Kevin Wilson was an excellent Offensive Coordinator for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, which is the job where Indiana discovered him.
This blog is only in it’s second football season and for this blog I think it’s my duty to watch every game that is broadcast on live Television or shown on replay. Some schools I have seen a lot of and will just watch some of it to get a grasp of the players and the feel for the game. But, some teams I just really enjoy watching for a variety of reasons.
One of those teams is Stanford because I love the way they play. Also, I feel the same way about Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State and a few others.
But, one team I really enjoy watching is Indiana.
The Hoosiers are just 4-5 on the season, but they play hard and they have been in every game until almost the very end other than the Penn State loss.
Ohio State had to bat down a ball of Indiana Hoosier back up Quarterback Zander Diamont in the End Zone as time ran out to preserve a much tougher than expected victory.
They had a tragic loss against Rutgers where they let the Scarlet Knights come from behind and they got blown out only in the closing minutes against Michigan State.
Last week, against undefeated Iowa, the Hoosiers barely lost, 27 – 35, but they kept fighting till the very end.
This Indiana team has some good players. I wrote about the University of Alabama at Birmingham transfer Jordan Howard here: Howard
Jordan Howard was injured against Ohio State and missed two games after that, but he bounced back and has 961 rushing yards on the season including 174 yards against the solid defense of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld should get a good look from NFL teams. But, their best player could be Offensive Guard Dan Feeney who is just a beast up front for the running game.
Left Tackle Jason Spriggs is also one of the best at his position in the country. I know all about the SEC players that get hyped all of the time and the ones in the Big 10 are about the same, including Spriggs, Michigan State’s Jack Conklin and Ohio State’s Taylor Decker.
The defense for the Hoosiers fights hard, but they tend to wear down late in games and they are slightly over matched against most good teams. But, they give outstanding effort and are fun to watch.
If the Hoosiers fire Kevin Wilson, who are they going to hire that is better?
Last time I checked, Vince Lombardi was not available. Neither was Knute Rockne or Bear Bryant, or any of those other legends that have long since passed.
Urban Meyer’s not coming to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosier job and neither is Nick Saban. Steve Spurrier is not coming out of retirement, either, at least not to coach football.
The Hoosiers could take a chance on some young coach out of the MAC which is common for programs to do. The MAC is the Conference that Miami of Ohio plays in, but their coach is not looking so hot right now, either.
There aren’t a lot of other options and there are a lot of good openings out there this season such as the USC Trojan job, or South Carolina, or Miami. That would be the Miami located in Florida that has won 5 national championships since 1983.
Indiana isn’t going to take a coach that is interested in any of those programs.
Why not just keep going with Kevin Wilson? Watch the games. His teams aren’t bad. They are just a break or two, or a few more good players away from being much better.
Firing the coach is not really always the answer and it’s not going to be this time either.
Just keep Kevin Wilson and let him not have to be looking over his shoulder all of the time wondering if he is about to be fired.