Indiana University Announces Search For A New Head Football Coach And Thanks Bill Lynch For His Dedicated Service
Nov. 28, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass announced today that Bill Lynch will be replaced as the head coach of the Indiana University football team. A search for Coach Lynch's successor is underway.
Lynch had been head coach at IU for four years: starting in 2007 after the untimely death of Terry Hoeppner and three years (2008 - 2010) pursuant to the four-year contract entered into by former Athletic Director Rick Greenspan with Lynch after he led the Hoosiers to the 2007 Insight Bowl.
Glass noted that it was his sincere and oft-stated desire for Coach Lynch to coach the football Hoosiers through the full four years of his contract and beyond. Still, after evaluating the state of the program and his options with Coach Lynch entering the last year of his contract --- to either extend Coach Lynch's contract, have him coach the final year of his contract without committing to an extension (or non-extension), or making a coaching change now -- Glass concluded that he needed to make the change.
"Bill Lynch is often described as a `nice guy' and he absolutely is, but it is important to recognize he is much more than that," Glass observed. "People should know that Bill is also smart, talented, passionate, perceptive, committed to his players, a great teacher, and a very good football coach. That I have concluded we need a new coach at this point in time does not change any of that.
"The tremendous job he did in rallying and leading the grief-stricken 2007 Hoosiers to the Insight Bowl will remain an Indiana University football milestone forever. On behalf of myself and all of Hoosier Nation, I thank Bill for his selfless commitment to Indiana University football and in particular to the student-athletes under his care," Glass concluded.
Glass noted that he will be personally leading the search for IU's next football coach with the assistance of his staff and the nationally recognized intercollegiate athletics consulting firm Neinas Sports Services. He will also consult with appropriate representatives of: the IU Bloomington faculty; current and former IU football players; the IU Varsity Club; Tony Dungy, Bill Polian, and others in the national football community; the Big Ten Conference; the National Collegiate Athletic Association; the American Football Coaches Association; Black Coaches and Administrators; and many others.
In noting that there would be no formal "search committee", Glass said: "While I look forward to soliciting and receiving input from a variety of diverse sources, I think it is important for people to know that selecting this coach will ultimately be my decision, particularly given some of the past confusion in that regard. The buck stops with me."
Pending the appointment of a new head coach, Glass has organized a transition team to help oversee the football program comprised of the following: Deputy Athletic Director Scott Dolson (Chair); Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations Kevin Clark; Assistant Athletic Director for Student Engagement Services Mattie White; Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations Mark Deal; Assistant Athletic Director for Strength and Conditioning Mark Wateska; and Assistant Director for Development and IU football legend Anthony Thompson.
Any expressions of interest in the vacant head football position should be sent to the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations Kevin Clark at 1001 East 17th Street, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN 47408-1590 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a full transcript of Glass' press conference on Sunday:
"My experience is that sometimes the right thing to do is also the hardest thing to do, and for me this is one of those times. I met with Bill this morning in his office, and during that conversation, I let him know that we were going to be going in a new direction with our football program. As everyone here would suspect, Bill's response was typically classy. He only wanted to know how we were going to take care of his assistant coaches and the other people on the support staff. He wasn't worried about himself. It is typical Bill Lynch-fashion that he received the news as a professional and a class act.
"I really found myself in my view with three options at this point. Given that we were going to be entering the fourth year of a four-year contract, either we could extend the contract, we could not extend the contract and have him go through the final year, leaving open the issue of whether it would be renewed or not, or we could go in a new direction. My view was that given the circumstances of the last three seasons, that extending the contract was not a viable option. It would send the wrong signal of what merited an extension at Indiana University, and in my view was not the right thing to do. It was the thing that I wanted to do the most, but the thing I concluded ought not be done.
"The next option from my perspective was to have Bill finish the fourth year of the contract and hope that there was more tangible evidence of improvement. I ultimately concluded that wouldn't serve Bill or Indiana University very well. It is not hard to imagine a scenario of heightened tenseness. Every play, every game, every look, every change would get overanalyzed and blown out of proportion and I didn't think that would positive for Bill or the university or the football program. So, that really led me to the third option, making a change.
"I don't enter into that naively. I think any change at least results in one or two steps back. I don't pretend that a case couldn't be made for the other two options, which I've chosen not to pursue, but it is my responsibility and role for better or worse to make those judgments, and my judgment is that the university is better served by making a coaching change. The bottom line is three Big Ten wins in three years isn't the basis for an extension, and while it is a very tough decision, I'm very confident that it is the right one.
"Bill is often described as a nice guy, and he absolutely is in every meaning of that word. But, I feel that sometimes that is used as a left-handed compliment for him. There is often a but after that, and I think that is really unfair because beyond being a nice guy, Bill is a really smart guy. He is a passionate guy. He is a good football coach, a great teacher and always has the best interests of the student-athlete in mind, even if those conflict with his immediate self interests. Bill is a nice guy. He is a fabulous guy, and the fact that we've made this change because of the circumstances we find ourselves in doesn't mean that he is not a great football coach, because I think that he is.
"This a very hard day for me personally. It is a hard day for the football program, the athletic department, the university. I take no joy in this at all, but yet I'm confident that it is the right thing to do.
"We are going to have a national search. I'll do that personally. There is not going to be a search committee. I think it is important that people understand, including not only potential candidates, that this decision will be my decision. That is not to say that we won't seek input from a variety of sources. We will do that. We have done that. We will have the assistance of a nationally respected athletics consulting firm, Chuck Neinas at Neinas Sports Services. My own staff will be involved. We will consult with the faculty, of course. I've already contacted the faculty representatives about their engagement in the search process. Current and former football players will be involved. The Varsity Club folks. I'll rely on people that I've gotten to know in the national football community, including Tony Dungy and Bill Polian, who I've talked to at some length already and will continue to talk to. Representatives of the Big Ten Conference, the NCAA, the American Football Coaches Association, the Black Coaches and Administrators and many, many others. We will reach out. I have a very diverse input of opinion, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with me and I think that is very important to underscore given that in the past sometimes it has been a little unclear who was making the choices of coaches.
"We will have a transition team to assist with the oversight and involvement with the football program pending the selection of a new coach. That team is going to be chaired by my Deputy Athletic Director Scott Dolson. It will include Senior Associate Athletic Director Kevin Clark, Mark Deal, Director of Football Operations, Mark Wateska, Director of Strength and Conditioning, Mattie White from academic support and current IU legend Anthony Thompson. I appreciate their willingness to be supportive. The transition team will focus on a number of things. Most primarily, in my view, they will focus on engaging with our current student athletes. I think one of Bill's great legacies, one of his many great legacies, is attracting great kids to our program. Great football players, great character kids, kids that want to get their education, mature kids. I think that was reflected in a lot of the resiliency they demonstrated this year, so the current student-athletes on the football team will be the focal point of the transition. Not only to keep them connected with Indiana University, because I very much hope that we do, but regardless of what their futures hold, I want to make sure that they have all the support that they need to put them in a position to have as many options as possible moving forward.
"I'm going to take each and every question today, and I'm not going to leave until I answer every question, but then I'm going to go back to work on the search. I will generally not be available, because I think it is important that I focus on the most important thing, which is finding our next football coach who is a good fit for Indiana University. I understand the stakes are high. I understand that it will be a major part of whatever legacy I leave here and all that. If you've got a meeting with me, it has probably been cancelled because this is going to be the focal point of my involvement.
"In that regard, since I'm not going to be talking much about it, I would just like to point out something from my political days which is, `The people that are doing the talking don't know, and the people that know aren't talking.' I'm ultimately going to be responsible for this. If you haven't taken it from me, I would take it with a huge grain of salt. My observation of these from afar is you have all kinds of people taking themselves out of searches they were never in and declining jobs they were never offered and so forth and so on. I'm not going to comment on those as we go along because where does that end? The fact that I'm not commenting doesn't mean there is particular truth to it. It is because I'm not commenting."
Question and Answer
On the timetable moving forward:
"It is more important that we do it right instead of doing it fast."
On when the decision was made:
"Today. I think any good athletic director has some general contingency plans. They accelerated over the past couple weeks and started playing through some what-ifs and that sort of thing. But I thought it was important to discipline myself to whatever happened in the Bucket game and sleep on that and make a final decision this morning, and that is what I did."
On why he moved quickly:
"I thought I was important that whatever way this went, not to have Bill (Lynch) twisted in the breeze. In fact, he and I have had some pretty candid conversations over the past two or three weeks about what-ifs and what I perceived as my options, which I described to him. I would say this was more of a conversation than a declaration. I told him a couple of weeks ago that I thought it was important, one way or the other, that this was resolved the day after the Bucket game, and I think he thought that was the right idea. I think he thought we should go the other way (with the decision), but I think he thought it was right in terms of timing. It made sense to get it clarified promptly."
On the salary for the next coach being increased:
"I do agree with that notion and we are prepared to make available the financial resources to get the person or persons that we want."
On the status of the coaching staff:
"We will meet with them tomorrow. There are the nine contracted assistant coaches that are the big focus. We also have some hourly folks that are associated with the program and our general support staff that have different status relationships with the university. I will be meeting with them, along with the transition team, to try to make sure they are as well taken care of as they can be, consistent with the university's obligation and our ability to help them.
"Now we are not marching them out the door with a security guard. I don't think that is the way you handle that and I don' t think that's the way you handle it with this staff. This is a great group of guys that have worked above and beyond the call under very trying circumstances. We are going to try to hold faith with that and I think it will be even more of a iterative process where they work with the transition team consistent with their own desires. Some may want to be around more than others, so we won't take it one as `one size fits all', but we will work through it a true evolution of transition with them."
On whether he has a list of possible candidates:
"I do. And I also have an outline of the kind of traits that I would like to see and would like to flesh out more when we talk with the faculty representatives, current and former players and other interested persons. So we will continue to identify a profile, if you will, which I think is important to do independently of identifying any particular candidates. And then we will compare those folks to the traits we feel we would like to have."
On what he wants to see in the next coach:
"Anything I would say publicly would be option-limiting. People might feel like they are out because they don't perceive that they have this or that. Or there is a number of ways that a person can demonstrate a particular trait that a potential candidate may not perceive. So I don't want to say anything that would artificially limit our search."
On the influence of Bill Polian and Tony Dungy:
"I have been fortunate to establish a relationship with those two. That doesn't mean that they will be the only two that I search out. It is probably comforting to you all to have some tried and true football people engaged in the process. While I have learned a lot since I have been involved, it is nice to have people like Chuck Nienas involved and Bill Polian and Tony Dungy.
"If I were to sit back and think about one guy that I would want to be advised by in the whole country, in terms of quality coaches in the national football level and college football level, it would be Bill Polian. I am fortunate in that I have a good relationship with him. He has been helpful and I'm sure he will continue to be helpful, and Tony Dungy as well."
On why going with transition team and not keep a couple coaches:
"I don't want to create a misimpression. This is going to evolve over time. This has happened rather quickly. It is not to say that they are all out and they want them to darken the door. It is quite the contrary. I look forward to meeting with them tomorrow to see what their interests are and what their desires are. I would expect them to be in place and in their offices. It would be inappropriate and presumptive to ask them to be actively involved and doing work after they got the news they did today. Having said that, there may be some guys that want to be more engaged than others and I am more than open to that. My sense and preference is that they not just be gone, but they be part of the transition and as we kind of sort this out. It will be come more clear as we identify a successor. My view is that the successor be open to interviewing those guys and retaining any of the ones that he would view desirable."
On whether he has met with the players:
"I have not. I plan to meet with them tomorrow. I asked Bill (Lynch) to have some time with them at their next regularly scheduled meeting. I am confident that they are unhappy. I think these guys were Bill Lynch guys. They were recruited by him and his staff. They believed in him and they wanted to win for him. He treated them like we would all want them to be treated and like we would want our sons to be treated. So I have no doubt that they are going to be unhappy and sad about it. I am unhappy and sad about it. But we will reach out to them and try to help them understand why this decision was made and that Indiana University remains committed to them."
On how the loss at Wisconsin impacted his decision:
"I wouldn't say that's when this day would come, but I would acknowledge that we accelerated the contingency plans. I would underscore that is what that was. I continued to hope and believe that we would be in a position to extend the contract. But I also thought it was important to look at then entire body of work and not just one game to save a job. I always thought that was kind of silly. But at the same time, I thought it was important to wait until the season was done before a final decision was made."
On his statement that "contracts need to mean something at Indiana":
"I wasn't concerned about being viewed as going back on that. I was concerned about making sure that we try to hold faith on that. I will leave it up to other to decide whether we did or didn't do that. Now I do believe that contracts are important and they need to mean something. I would like to think that this is an example of that being true.
"It first came out when I was first named and he had three years left and the calls were to "fire Bill Lynch." I think it was before I had actually taken over that I said contracts needed to mean something, let's give this guy a chance. Then last year there was quite a chorus of that again and I felt the need to come out at the middle of the year and repeat that. I will leave it to you guys to conclude whether this is right or wrong, but I don't think anyone has been more supportive of this football coach or program than I have, outside of the coaches themselves. I try to give them the full measure of the opportunity to succeed. Entering the final year of a contract is a different kettle of fish. Some people said you shouldn't go into the final two years and I did that because I thought it was the right thing to do. Going into the last year, I had a decision to make one of three things, which I have described. And for the reasons I described, I concluded it was time to make a change. Is that losing faith with the contract principle? I am not sure it is but I am sure there will be plenty of people that want to weigh in on that."
On what would have merited an extension for Bill Lynch:
"I have often said there isn't a litmus test. So I didn't sit down and thing this and that and what-if. But it is one of those things that one way or the other, you know it when you see it. But three Big Ten wins in three years isn't what we want to have perceived as meriting an extension here."
On the impact of the recruiting classes coming up:
"I think the fact that we are here today on a Sunday afternoon reflects that I understand the importance of moving out once you move out. In terms of the kids, and I have to be a little careful here, my message is that Indiana University is committed to them and any pending verbal scholarship offers will stand. I think they are a great group and I think that one of Bill's legacy's will be that he started to attract, with not only this one but with two or three of the guys that are on the team now, a really quality group of kids."
On allowing Bill Lynch to be part of athletic department if he was interested:
"Well I would not want to put Bill in a spot on that. I have a very high regard for him and frankly, if that is something that he is interested in I would be very open to it. I think there are a whole bunch of reasons, understandably, that he might not want to do that."
On any assistance in helping the staff move on to new jobs:
"We will do anything possible to help the current guys. I think they are a great group of guys. For example, I think the national football convention is coming up with is an opportunity to network and we will pay for their expenses to do that. If there are other things that we can do to be helpful to them we will."
On any interest in the position prior to today:
"Yes, there have been a few things fall over the transom so we will include those in what we look at."
On what the university requires in a job search like this:
"I think the folks from the university are interested in the same things we are and that is an open process. I think not having a search committee will, at first blush, be problematic. But given the fact that we are opening the input across the board and, as in our release today, the Black Coaches and Administrators, I will be reaching out to the leadership there. The engagement of Tony Dungy speaks to our interest in looking at African-American and other minority candidates. I think Tony will be helpful in identifying such candidates as well as other candidates as well. I have personally read the documentation of how you conduct a search that is as open as possible and we will be doing those things like having job descriptions, having it posted and having it as open as possible."
On how hard this process has been on him:
"The levels of contingency planning have increased and I was always hoping for the best and planning for the worst and hoped this wouldn't come because I am very fond of Bill, but more importantly, really believe in how he tried to approach everything. The lack of tangible success is what pushed me in the direction that I went. It has been really hard on me. This is hard. But boo-hoo for me, it is part of being an athletic director. It is part of what I need to do and is a decision I need to make. It is my decision and was not pushed by forces inside or outside the university. I stepped up to it and it is what I needed to do. It wasn't fun but I am confident it is the right decision for the institution."
On how he sells the position to potential candidates:
"I think it is a fantastic job. Certainly, properly understood, it will be highly sought after. First, Indiana University is clearly committed to the football program. The facilities that were started under Rick Greenspan and Terry Hoeppner's legacy speak for themselves. We have a $60 million facility, the largest strength center in the country, an academic center physically connected to that is 28,000 square feet, two outdoor practice facilities, an indoor practice field - a complex that is the envy of not only a lot of college programs but professional teams as well. We are prepared to pay the coaches a competitive amount. I don't think salary will be a challenge for getting the people we want to get. The academic support is outstanding - the academic center that I mentioned, the added academic advisors that takes us from ninth to third in the Big Ten in terms of academic support, and frankly enthusiasm for IU football and the attendance. Last year (2009) we had the highest attendance we have had since 1992 or something like that and the third-largest increase in college football. This year, without Ohio State and Purdue on the schedule, we bested that attendance number so there is a lot of support. I think the university is committed and the fans and students are hungry for a winner. I think leadership is important. President McRobbie has a long-term commitment - I believe he is locked in through at least 2017. I am his A.D. - he hired me - and I think coaches are looking for that kind of stability. I have stated this is the last year so I hope I'm good for about 15 more years.
"The cupboard is not bare. One of Bill's legacy's is he has left the kind of foundation that has not been left in previous transitions. Two recruiting classes ago, 18 of 18 of those kids are still in the program and all but one was redshirted. This past year we had a few more junior college guys, but 22 out of 25 are still in the program and 18 of 19 high school kids were redshirted. WE have a fantastic receiving corps and some great guys coming back on defense and Darius Willis coming back (from injury). So I think it is a job where you can step in and not look around and wonder where everybody went. We have some really talented players on the team.
"I have sometimes heard it said "well, I don't want to go to a basketball school." But I think our basketball team is a huge plus. These kids they like basketball. They come in and see Assembly Hall rocking on an official visit. It is a positive thing. And our basketball coach knows an awful lot about football with the Harbaugh brothers as his brothers-in-law. His strength and conditioning coach was a defensive backfield coach at Kansas University for several years and he is very well known for being supportive of the recruiting efforts of other coaches. Just ask (IU head baseball coach) Tracy Smith about some of the studs he has gotten and what Tom (Crean) has done to make that happen. I think that is a plus.
"You eluded to the Big Ten Conference. I think that is huge. Not only because it is a prestigious conference and the most academic conference in the BCS, but also with the Big Ten Network and all the exposure that provides. The Big Ten also has the deepest and most lucrative set of bowl games of any conference in the country. So the exposure that the conference offers is something that people will really be interested in.
"IU, I could go on and on about - and will with the appropriate people. We have a beautiful campus, great degree-granting programs and lots of choices. And then finally, something that is also different from some coaching changes years ago and that is that Indiana high school football is on the map now. Better and better athletes are choosing to play football and I think the Colts have something to do with that. There is a lot of interest in high school football. So as a recruiting base and for a coach to be successful, they are going to have to be successful recruiting Indiana kids. It is a much more target-rich environment than it ever has before. I think there are an awful lot of reasons for this to be an attractive job."
On using Chuck Neinas' company in the search:
"He was recommended to me by someone whose judgment I really value. We had contingency conversations before that did not include retaining (Neinas). Any retention of him was contingent on a coaching change."
On how much the Big Ten Network has impacted this decision:
"It is crazy. The Big Ten Network is the best thing since sliced bread for Indiana University in particular as well as the Big Ten in general, because we take an equal share of the "booty" as it were. The $15 million we get is a lot more on our $52 million base than Ohio State's $15 million on their $110 million base. If you look around here, a lot of the things we have been able to do have been a result of the Big Ten Network. Candidly, the resources we are going to need to put into attracting the kind of coaching staff that we want will largely based on improving revenue streams from the Big Ten Network."
Check back soon