IU Coaches Celebrate Hoosier Nation at Huber's Orchard and Winery
May 28, 2009
STARLIGHT, Ind. - Indiana University baseball coach Tracy Smith has a lot of fans right now among the coaches of the Hoosiers' other varsity sports. Smith was on hand with fourth-year women's basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack, third year football coach Bill Lynch and third year volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar, second year men's basketball coach Tom Crean and first year Director of Athletics Fred Glass to speak to more than 800 Hoosier fans at Huber's Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Ind., last night.
Smith is living proof that by following a plan and not taking short cuts, success will soon follow as evidenced by his squad's 2009 Big Ten Tournament Championship and subsequent trip to the NCAA Regional, which begins Friday night at Louisville. He and his squad made a brief visit on their way to the regional and were greeted enthusiastically by the fans.
"We sure hope to see many of you supporting the Hoosiers on Friday night," Smith said. "I'm very proud of the young men in our program and we are hopeful that more great moments lie ahead."
While for years, IU was fortunate to have veteran leadership among its coaching staff like Bill Mallory, Bob Knight, Jerry Yeagley, Doc Counsilman and Sam Bell to name a few, the new crop of Hoosier coaches know how important the history and tradition are to the many in attendance.
"You won't see names on the back of the jerseys and we will always wear the candy stripes," said Crean. "One thing that we needed this year to get us through difficult times was your support. That tells me how important it is that we do things the right way."
Lynch also talked about what it meant to be at Indiana.
"We had a young lady who was a member of our swimming team talk about what it meant to be a Hoosier," said Lynch. "I was born and bred a Hoosier, but when she went back to her home state, she told friends that being a Hoosier is a way of life, and I can't think of a better way to describe it."
Dunbar enjoyed being a part of the group to make the trip.
"Just being here and walking into that room to see that there are that many people in southern Indiana that are family," said Dunbar. "Everybody that loves Indiana and we have that common bond. And just to get them to know a little bit about what our program is about one time. Maybe we come down this way and then they might make a special trip to see us."
Legette-Jack also enjoys making the yearly trip to the orchard.
"It's kind of contagious," she said. "For me with basketball, these kinds of people are coming out to know a little bit about basketball in May - how cool is that? I love the Indiana family and I love that everybody is really starting to stretch themselves to love volleyball and to love women's basketball and jump onboard with football. But to really bond with Coach Crean and basketball and to watch it rise back up again. Our Hoosier family is really going to show what it's like to have a family versus a team."
For everyone on the trip, it was a chance to connect with some of Indiana's most faithful fans. In addition, it gave the program a shot it the arm and brought an enthusiasm that was bolstered by the baseball team's dominant championship performance last weekend.
"To me, it's like hard work paying off," said Dunbar. "There are so many of our programs that are in that process and I think we are all doing the right things. It doesn't happen overnight but it does happen. And they are the light at the end of the tunnel, because we can look and see that baseball did it. They are doing it the right way and they did it."
"They (baseball) allowed us to have a tangible result for the hope that we are trying to sell," added Legette-Jack. "It just allowed us to continue to hang on to your hope because it can come to pass and be something spectacular. For him to do what he is doing in such a short period of time, he believed in them while he had a young team the past couple years. But he was able to do it the right way and not short-change character, and allowed us to feel like our hope is going to become something tangible too."
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