Football

    Coach Wilson Introductory Press Conference Transcript

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Dec. 7, 2010

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University Athletics introduced Kevin Wilson as the 28th head coach in the history of Indiana Football on Tuesday, December 7. A full transcript of the introductory press conference is below.

    Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass

    "Good afternoon everyone, it's a great day to be a Hoosier. As you might imagine with it barely being a week into the search, Indiana University got our guy. First of all, I would like to thank President McRobbie. When I took this job two years ago, I asked President McRobbie whether his commitment to excellence that he has for teaching, research, internationalism, and infrastructure extends to the athletic department and he assured me that it did, and that's a big reason why I took this job. During the last week he has certainly made good on his commitment. President McRobbie has been personally engaged in this everyday, we talked everyday, multiple times per day about this. He has put us in a position today where we can introduce this outstanding coach. So I want to thank President McRobbie for his involvement and engagement.

    "Kevin Wilson's name kept coming up to the top of the list. We looked at dozens and dozens of resumes and profiles, some we sough out and some were provided to us. I probably have made hundreds of calls, did a lot of due diligence with people whose judgment I greatly admire. I have talked to a handful of finalists and as soon as I met Kevin Wilson, I knew everything I had heard about him was true. As a matter of fact, Scott Dolson and I were dropped off by Coach at the Norman Airport on Friday and as soon as we shut the door I turned to Scott and said `This is our guy.'

    "Now Coach had a big game to focus on and I told him on Friday that I would leave him alone. Even though I knew it, I'm not quite sure he knew I knew it and I told him I would leave him alone until Sunday and not be a distraction. Hopefully we weren't because he went out and beat Nebraska in the big game on Saturday for the Big 12 Championship. So we moved quickly there after, and I knew he was my guy. Talked on Sunday, closed late yesterday and we are here today.

     

     

    "Why is he our guy? You guys have seen the objective pedigree, he's Randy Walker's guy in the same way Walker was Bill Mallory's guy. For a long time with Coach Walker, he was successful at Miami and Northwestern, won the Big Ten Championship in their second year there, nine years with the great coaching tree there with Bob Stoops and his family, literally and figuratively in football coaching, Frank Boyles Award finalist twice, won it once, three of the most high-powered offenses in the history of college football, Heisman Trophy candidate development. The list goes on and on. But what goes beyond that, is what I have learned about Coach Wilson, which is his commitment to compliance, his committment to academics, his commitment to character and his commitment to winning. He does that by being mentally tough, disciplined, and innovative. He's a winner and we are awfully glad he is here. Ladies and Gentleman it is my great pleasure to introduce for the first time the head coach of Indiana football, Kevin Wilson.

    Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson

    "Thank you very much. I'm very honored to be here and very humbled to be here. I would first like to start by throwing some multiple thanks out. First to President McRobbie for the commitment to our football program and to make a strong push to get ourselves to being a competitive and strong force in the Big Ten. I think he has taken a great push on his part but also taken a strong leap of faith with a guy who has just been a coordinator and an assistant guy. The same with our athletic director here, Mr. Glass. It's good to be on the radar but it's really great to be someone's guy and to become a part of a team, a part of a family. I'm excited to be a part of the Indiana family and it wouldn't have been possible without those two guys.

    "I also need to thank the people at Oklahoma. President Boren, Joe Castiglione our Athletic Director, they have been extremely supportive throughout my time there. Coach Stoops, nine years with him, one, if not the best in the profession. Tremendous environment, family environment, competitive environment, winning environment, and it was just so special to be a part of that.

    "I would be remiss, a place over there a couple hours, Miami. I'm not a Miami alum, and Miami takes a great deal of pride in their alumni and their football tradition, but nine years over there. Of course my nine years with Coach Walker, and his ties directly with Coach Mallory. His view of Miami and with his time playing for Coach Mallory in Oxford.

    "Of course at the time we were there, Coach Mallory was over here, rolling and had to play him a couple of times and got our butt beat by him every time. My view of Miami and through Coach Walker and through Coach Mallory and nine years working with Terry Heppner, and Jane (Hoeppner) is here today. Last time I was in Oxford I played golf with John Pont, so I've got a lot of feelings and connections over there that I'm grateful for. Tracy Smith and his wife here and got some Oxford folks.

    "I need to thank my family. They have always been very supportive; a lot has been going on at the Wilson household. We've got a couple dogs, couple cats, five kids, and a bunch of practices, lot of activity. There's a lot of love and we've got great, great family there.

    "This is a great opportunity here in front of us. This is a tremendous institution and an awesome community. That is why some of you are here and have been here for so long. This is a great place to live and a great place to be a part of. It is great to be a part of Big Ten football and be back here.

    "Like I said, I think I've got some indirect ties to Indiana, having recruited this region for 12 years, mainly more over in Cincinnati and Dayton, but my time at Northwestern and my time over at Miami with Randy was a lot of time passing through Indiana, recruiting kids, competing against Indiana and the Big Ten.

    "Randy was my guy, and what Coach Walker meant to me, Coach Mallory meant to him, and probably indirectly Coach (Bo) Schembechler and Coach (Woody) Hayes because there is a little bit of tree there that kind of filtered down and we're all direct descendents of that. I knew this was a great place and I knew this was a place that I could be a part of and was excited to be a part of.

    "I think I understand the Big Ten. I've been around the league and recruited it on a daily basis, competed against it. I think I understand the region, the environment and what it takes to build a successful program. We're ready to build our program. We're ready to build something special. It is a process. It is a daily process; it is a winning process. You don't win some of the time. We're not winning next year if we're not winning today. That will be one of our slogans, one of our themes is `Win today.' What we're doing and how we're attacking the class, how we're attacking the offseason, practices, summer workouts, Tuesday, Wednesday. The place I'm coming from, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days. It is attack, it is competitive. We're going to learn how to win on a daily basis.

    "But, to build something special, to do it with energy, to do it with excitement, we're going to do that with our building and it starts with me. In time we'll place a staff together, and those guys will be guys with character, commitment and loyalty, but they'll be guys with energy and guys with excitement, because to get our state and get our program excited, it starts with us. It starts internally with our eyes, the way we look, the way we act and the way we carry ourselves.

    "We're going to be tough, we're going to be physical. I'm an offensive guy that has put up a boatload of points, but nine years of going up against Coach Stoops everyday you learn that you've got to play great defense and you win the Big Ten and you win championships by being able to play `D'. We're going to play some great defense. We're going to be a team that plays hard, a team that plays smart, a team that plays disciplined. That doesn't take a lot of talent, but that is the talent of winning, and that is what it is going to take to win.

    "Last thing before we open it for questions, I would just like to say, I think it is a natural transition for me. From this region, wife is from Cincinnati. Nine years with Coach Stoops, 12 with Coach Walker. I think it is a natural transition and we're excited and we're ready to get rolling. We're ready to give you guys a football program you'll take a lot of pride in, and go out there and play with the passion and the excitement and the energy it takes on a daily basis to build a winning program and a championship program here at IU. So, we're excited, we're looking forward to it and we're ready to roll."

    On how he will balance the next month with Oklahoma's bowl game:
    "One, initially kind of stay here and get a feel for our team. We need to give those guys some direction and we're getting ready to go on break. I know internally, within our league, we've got eight teams playing in bowls, so they're not sitting around eating sweet potato pie. So we'll give our team some direction this next month. One-twelfth of our calendar year, preparations these next four weeks, so we'll get with our kids and give them some direction and try to touch some of the recruits.

    "I'll visit with coach. It'll be Coach Stoops' call on the bowl game. Right now, we just finished, our kids got an off week. Coach will make his decision on staffing and he'll make the decision on my part in the bowl. Coach Stoops is going to do what's best for Oklahoma and for those guys to win that bowl game."

    On how important the defensive coordinator hire will be:
    "I'm going to take some time because I do have time and I need to get it right. I need to get the right guy. The right guy is a very open-ended process. There's no one set at any position except me. We're going to evaluate what we have, what we need, what we're looking for, and try to get the right fit. The place I work right now, Coach Stoops is our head coach, but he's also a defensive coach. He's part of that planning and prep. I'm an offensive guy, so to have a strong person there will be a key hire. There are going to be several key hires. If you want to speculate and name drop you can, but I don't have a clue. I'm going to take some time and get the right guy. It is a huge hire and we're going to get someone good."

    On who will handle play-calling duties:
    "I'm going round and round and round. From the field it's a little different and I've done it a couple years on the field. I'm sure I'll have a great deal of input, but we'll see who we get as a guy directing the offense. I know I will have a strong direction of that. A couple of thoughts defensively, structures, three-man front, four-man front, philosophical, got to stop the run.

    "Offensively, no matter who our play-caller is, I think we have a strong thought process on what works on offense. We've been pretty wide open, scored a boatload of points, but our best teams are teams that don't' turn it over. We were one of the fewest penalized teams in the country this year. Until we had three picks at Oklahoma State, we were doing a great job in that capacity. There's a fine line. It's no different than Coach Crean playing basketball. We don't want to play so up-tempo that you throw it away. I've been pretty flexible in my offensive background, but I do believe there are some things that work and I think I'll be a part of it, but I don't have a clue yet if I'll call plays. I'll wait to see who we hire and wait to see how it fits, but I don't know if I'm comfortable with being a play-caller from the sideline so we'll we see how that goes."

    On what made him feel like he can have great success at Indiana:
    "I think, one, I embrace the toughness and the attitude that some of those Miami guys have. I think Coach Hoeppner was going to have some success. I think I know the league and what it takes to win this league. I think we saw that while we were at Northwestern. I think they've been able to keep that thing going in a reasonably positive way. I didn't come here on a hope or a whim. We've got a process for how to prepare through 12 months, to go out there for those 12 opportunities to get number 13 and hopefully get 14. We're going to go through the process and I think it's a process that's proven it's going to win, it's going to work."

    On how the contact with Indiana began and why he's a great fit:
    "The initial conversation was through one of the search firms. They said, hey we might want to talk with you, but then we got into the championship game so there were some talks scheduled that we backed off. We didn't want to wait until after a game, but it was a very important game on Saturday. That game Saturday was huge. It was Oklahoma and Nebraska for the last time. The whole state of Oklahoma was at that game.

    "I know Mr. Glass wanted to get rolling with it, but he was kind enough. It was a game we desperately needed to win. I appreciate the administration here giving me a chance to do my job because the most critical thing through Saturday night was winning that football game. I'm proud that our defense played well, Andrew Jones made enough plays, and we popped a couple of kicks in so that we could get it done and that was huge win."

    On his impressions with the team after meeting them:
    "I had a quick meeting, just to try to set a positive attitude, some energy, some excitement, some enthusiasm, a brand of toughness, a brand of doing things the right way, a brand of being a man. It's a man's game. You have to work and act like a man.

    "We'll certainly make some judgments on what we have, but it's more about, here's where we're starting, here's where we're going, and let's get this ball rolling forward so we can put it together. We've got some seniors that aren't looking for a three and four year process. They're looking to be as good as they can. In fairness to them and in fairness to you guys, we're going to put as strong of a product as we can as fast as we can."

    On his message to recruits that have committed:
    "They picked a great school in the first place and I think they've now picked a school that's also hopefully going in a direction that's going to make the football team, no disrespect, stronger than it was. If they liked it in the first place I think they're going to love it once they get to know me and our staff and what we'll put together. That's their right and commitments are no different than getting engaged. We can all bail out when you want to until you walk down that aisle. In the end, they picked a great school. They picked a great Big Ten environment and I think they'll be excited about what we're putting on the field, the kind of offense we're going to play, the competitiveness, I mean we're going to max it out. We're going to max those kids out. We're going to play some great football."

    On if he agreed to the job before seeing the campus and facilities:
    "I've been here a bunch. I spent seven years in Chapel Hill, nine in Oxford, then nine in Norman and I knew this was equally as good, if not a better college town and a great place to raise our family. I've had some chances at other opportunities, but the one thing for me is `hey can we win, but yeah can I raise my kids there.' I've got five kids, a couple getting ready for that high school age of getting them through school, so I just knew this was a place where we could live, a place they can be happy. Books are books and buildings are buildings, what makes a place special is the people. Bloomington and this campus have got a lot of great people and you don't have to go walking around to see that."

    On how current players will adapt to his offensive style:
    "Well we're pretty flexible so we'll see what we've got. We'll play to what we can block and we'll play to what the quarterback can handle. If he can't do it or we can't block then it doesn't matter. So we'll start there. We've been flexible. We were an I-formation team at Miami and at Northwestern we went to the spread by default. We didn't have tight ends or fullbacks. Coach Walker used to come in and say, `I can't believe we're doing this,' and he'd slam the door and walk out. Then the next year we had a share of the Big Ten title with Purdue and Michigan. At Oklahoma, our spread's different there. I got hired at Oklahoma to run the quarterback run game. Jason White blew out his knee in the second game against Alabama and we really haven't run since. The quarterbacks we've had are drop-back guys. Sammy Bradford's a drop-back guy. Andrew Jones is a drop-back guy. We've been different. We've had big tight ends. We've had little receivers. We've got a pretty good fullback now.

    "We're going to play to the strength of what we can do. We're going to be physical. We're going to take care of the ball. It'd be nice to incorporate some quarterback run. I don't know if we have that, but I do think we've learned how to throw the ball at very good clip without putting stress on the offense and on the defense. I don't know if we're spread at Oklahoma, we're multiple and we just play to the talent that we have."

    On what it takes to make a successful transition from coordinator to head coach:
    "I've been pretty blessed as a football guy. I've been blessed to be under some great head guys. I think it's time. I think it's been time. It just hasn't been the right place. I think for years it's been time. My job got so good it was hard to leave because you don't walk from Oklahoma to some places. It's a tremendous job. It's a great place to live, great people to work for, great players you coach. It is a special, special place so for me to leave, it was tough to leave. I was looking for the right place, a place where I felt like I could win, a place that would be a tremendous challenge, but also be a great place for our family to live.

    "I'm not a good enough coach to do everything by myself, so it's going to be these next three or four weeks and it's going to come in and take some time and piecing the core of the staff that we can have a lot of confidence in the group because we will win as a group. At Oklahoma, like coach says all the time, he gets more credit because it's a total group deal. It'll be interesting to see the staff. If we put together the right staff, I'll look like I'm doing a good job."

    On what made him feel like he could make the transition:
    GLASS: "I really hate to say anything because the more he talks the better I look. Everything I heard from people whose judgments I valued, but one of you guys told me that you don't hire a resumé and I needed to go out and take the measure of whether I thought he had `it' and not in this context, but I've hired people in important positions before and it was clear to me that he had `it' to the point where almost as soon as I rode over with him in his car to his house, it felt like he had it. I spent time with him, his wife, his dogs and his cat. I felt comfortable in the environment of home. I think he has it. We go back on pedigree and the tutelage that he's worked under and I think the fact that he's been on the big stage.

    "We shared with you all the profile that I set out before I got into this process of what I wanted and one of the things was head coaching experience or the sense that this person can be a head coach and it's not always a tradeoff, but there's some traits between guys that have done it on the big stage and guys that haven't. They may, they may step up and a lot of them have done it, but I focused on guys who have done it on the big stage, done it in the Big Ten, done it at a place like Oklahoma and I'm very confident and I think he's ready to have the top job."

    On how Coach Wilson ended up at the top of the list:
    GLASS: "This demonstrates part of the value of hiring Chuck Neinas. I thought it was important to have a scout, you know, somebody that has been there before. I wasn't going to delegate the search to them but I needed that expertise. He was the first person to bring Kevin's name to my attention. (Wilson) wasn't on any of the lists that people were circulating out there but then as I called around people would go `Oh yeah, that's a good one.'

    "It was kind of a crazy week because last Monday I met with the team and the (former) assistant coaches and all the staff involved with football - it was kind of a transition day. Tuesday I met with some guys. Wednesday and Thursday were kind of homework days and then Friday I met with some guys. Saturday I cheered for Sherri Dunbar and the volleyball Hoosiers and I cheered like crazy for Oklahoma because I thought a win for Oklahoma would make it easier for Kevin to leave what is a very positive situation for him. Then we started talking in earnest on Sunday because I had promised to leave him alone. I was about to burst because when I left that meeting with him I really knew he was the guy. I came in yesterday and met with the president and faculty representatives because I feel like that was very important before an offer was extended. We didn't call this press conference on purpose because in the past I think some things have been a little boxed up and I wanted to make sure that everything went according to Hoyle. The president's involvement and the faculty's stamp of approval is critical. So we got down to business yesterday and got the deal done and we are here today.

    "I give you that background because we honed in on one guy pretty quickly and I am thrilled to death that we got him."

    On whether he was on the list last Sunday:
    "He had come up before Sunday. Like I had said, I had gotten involved with Chuck Neinas before Sunday in a contingency planning situation and he was one of the first guys that Chuck identified."

    On the importance of the contract being seven years:
    GLASS: "For me, I thought it was very, very important. We gave Tom Crean 10 years to rebuild a program that had been strong for a long time and had dipped down. It seemed to me that we needed to give a substantial amount of time and I think four or five years is standard but we went to seven because I wanted Kevin to have time to do things right. He referenced the length of his contract with the players. He is not going anywhere. And I think Indiana needs to give continuity a try in its football program. For reasons in its control, for reasons out of control, for predictable reasons and for tragic reasons, we haven't stuck with anybody since coach (Bill) Mallory. I think that is a very important thing to do. I think it is an important thing for Kevin to know and it's important that we proclaim to the world that we are going to do it right and we are going to give him time to get it to where we want it to by."

    WILSON: "From my perspective, a chance with a true commitment, that we can show that the university is committed to me, to building this thing and to building it right and to building it special. And to the guys on the team now, I am going to be here, whether you are here or not, I am going to be here. And the guys that we are getting ready to go recruit, I am here. So if you buy me, you buy IU, and you want to be part of something special. I'm here so let's get it rockin' and rolling.

    "It is very strong for Fred and President McRobbie to go that direction. To me, I think it gives us the commitment that this school has to building something special and I think that will help with going through things with an "unproven guy" as we build this daily process of building a champion here."

    On thinking that he was done with playing Nebraska but now Nebraska is joining the Big Ten:
    "They are not on the schedule the next two years? Then I am not worried about it. I think it is Ball State up at Lucas Oil right?

    "Now we can play them in the championship game right, so if they are good enough to win their division we could see them the next two years. So we'll see if they can get there."

    On coaching in the bowl game with Oklahoma and if they will not let you, what are your plans here:
    "It would just give me a chance during the holiday period to be here if someone need to physically see the place as a candidate. But I think this place has a strong reputation and a lot of people know the community across the country. So I don't know how many guys would feel they need themselves or their wives to see the place. There could be some hiring done just through conversations. So we will figure that out.

    "The real deal with me and their bowl game will truly be what coach (Bob) Stoops feels is best for Oklahoma. That is a bowl game. We are getting some monkey's off the back down there because one of them was that we couldn't win on the road or we couldn't win tough games or we couldn't come from behind to win. But we have done that all down the stretch (at Oklahoma). Next is that we can't win a BCS game because we have lost the last three. Of course I called a coach that won eight straight bowl games and asked how he had done it and he said `we played eight crappy teams.' When you are playing a BCS team, sometimes you are playing a pretty good team. I know coach Stoops at Oklahoma needs to win that bowl game so he is going to do what he wants to do. If I am a part of that, we will make it work both ways. I know it's not an issue for me and he is going to do what's best for Oklahoma."

    On the initial meeting with the players:
    "I think it went well, I don't know. I was trying to give them some energy, some juice, some confidence and a little of what they are looking at and what we want to do.

    "Short term, you have a couple days the week prior to exams and then you go home for a break. Most of the Big Ten is still playing football after exams are over. So what are we going to do during that period because we don't want to come back January 10, 11 or 12, whatever that magic day is that we start and we are a train wreck and we are not ready to start an off-season that is going to be a competitive off-season. I just want to give them some direction and then also, no guarantees, but a sense of commitment that we want to build something that is a daily process. It starts now, and in fairness to the seniors, we need to make it as strong as we can for them right now.

    "We are also looking to build something special. Something that will last over time and something that will repeat itself. A good player makes a play because he has talent but a great player does it over and over and it repeats itself. Well anybody can get lucky and have a good year. But when you get really good is when you have the foundation and structure to repeat it. And we want to build a program that can repeat it but more than anything we want to get started now.

    "I don't have a staff in place but we will get with those guys in the next few days and try to reach out and get a direction for them so they can have a positive winter break. And that way we can hit January with a lot of positive momentum and get the ball rolling."

    On where the money is coming from for Coach Wilson's salary and how that might effect other programs within the department:
    GLASS: "I'm glad you asked that. When we had that press conference last Sunday, I said that money wouldn't be an obstacle to getting the guy that we wanted to get and getting a staff that we wanted to get. So we will give Kevin the kind of tools he needs to hire the kind of staff he needs to go where we want to go.

    "There are really two sources on that. It is not that we are wishing or betting that it will come with more ticket sales or anything like that, although with the success that I anticipate that will happen. But that would be irresponsible to bet on it to come that way. What we are going to do is we have re-negotiated our deal with Learfield Sports, our marketing partner, and that is going to provide a bunch more guaranteed money for the university that we will dedicate to supporting our football program. And then there will be some additional monies coming to the university through expanded revenues from the Big Ten Network and we are going to dedicate substantial amounts of that to the football program. That is one of the reasons, of many, that I wanted to thank President McRobbie because ultimately the allocation of those funds goes through the university. And while I think the university will appropriately retain some of those for non-athletic purposes, they will let us have enough to do the things that we need to do to show our commitment to the football program."

    On looking back at IU's past to gauge moving forward:
    "I'm sure I'll look at some tape just to judge some of our talent and get a feel for some of the flow of games if there's maybe issues in certain areas of execution or where we're deficient. I'm kind of more concerned about today moving forward and what we're going to get started. We can learn, but are we deficient in kicking or other areas, are we weak in the secondary, is our offensive line an issue. There will be some things to at least gauge so we can try to identify and we'll do some of that now because we can maybe help ourselves in the short term with maybe some of the final recruiting thoughts. But also, we can start concentrating the offseason that if we aren't strong enough in the offensive line, if we don't have enough athleticism on the back end in what we're doing in a running program to try to enhance that a little bit. So we'll look at that some, but more than anything we are looking forward."

    On what his base will be for recruiting:
    "Well we're a state institution. And so we have to have some strong ties. There are a lot of coaches, administrators, alumni in every town there are IU alums, IU strong. We need to have a strong presence, we are the state school. I went to my state school and recruited part of Oklahoma to Oklahoma, we're your school. We're the university of (the state of) Indiana, so we're going to be as strong as we can with Indiana first, but we're going to be smart with it too.

    "We're going to make sure those guys are Big Ten caliber players. We're going to bring to the table what we're looking for athletically and character people and academically fit us. I'm pretty strong in Cincinnati and Dayton, strong ties to Columbus, Ohio, recruited there personally for 12 years. It's good football, got some strong ties, so we should be able to do well over there. The surrounding states, Illinois, Chicago, Michigan, right across the river with Louisville and Lexington. From there, we'll branch some, but I don't know how much living we'll make.

    "We'll look some in Florida and south Florida. I have some pretty solid ties into Texas with all the Oklahoma background. But we're not going to go camp out down there, we're going to get the right guys and try to target the right guys to try to compliment this region, our state and the surrounding areas. Then we'll look to compliment with a couple of the speed states.

    "Maybe every once in a while, a junior college player. If we're looking at a junior college player, we've got an immediate need and we need help right now. We aren't going to make a living going in that direction. We're a four-year school and a great school, this a four or five year process to put players through with what we're looking to do. If we go junior college, it's because we feel there's a deficiency we're trying to get."

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