You think you know Indiana football? Truth is, you don’t know jack about it unless you’ve bled for the Cream ‘n Crimson cause, unless you’ve paid with sweat and effort and sacrifice, unless you’ve endured heartbreaking losses and heart-lifting victories.
So you see the Hoosiers under coach Bill Lynch and figure it’s time for a change, and to hell with the two years remaining on the contract and the instability that has rocked the program since Bill Mallory was coldly shown the door.
You look at the records of 3-9 and 4-8 the last two years and see failure.
Ken Kaczmarek sees opportunity.
Who’s Kaczmarek, you ask? He was Indiana’s first-ever All-America linebacker while part of the 1967 Rose Bowl team and if it didn’t lead to NFL glory (he was cut in training camp by the Minnesota Vikings), it did give him the foundation to have a hugely successful business career on the national and international front.
He’s back in Bloomington now, has been for the past eight years or so, and he’s very much involved with the university as well as the athletic program. He knows IU football misery (3-8-1 in his first two years) and glory (a 9-2 Rose Bowl season). He understands what it takes to build a winner.
Kaczmarek sees the Hoosiers under Lynch and recognizes the improvement and the potential. He understands the improved recruited -– boosted in part by the state-of-the-art North End Zone Facility –- that has enabled Lynch to already have eight verbal commitments.
“I know they are turning the program around,” Kaczmarek says from his Downtown Bloomington investment firm office, “and I’ll tell you why. Lynch is getting better athletes. Look at what we had six years ago and what we have now. There’s no comparison. These kids can play.
“They had some bad breaks last year or they would have had a winning record. This year physically we’re so much better. I don’t know if we’ll win more games, but these are good, solid kids. Young men, really.”
In fact, they’re good, solid kids who need to win because the better the football program is, the healthier the overall athletic department is. Kaczmarek believes Lynch is the right man for this job.
“I think Bill is doing a good job. The program has been down for so long. The last thing we need is another coaching change. If we do that it will be 10 more years before we get it turned around. We need some stability. You’ve got to give a guy a chance to really build this.”
Athletic director Fred Glass understands this. He wants Lynch to succeed. In two years, one way or the other, we’ll know if Lynch is, indeed, the right man for the job.
And then everybody will know jack.