Sunday, November 28, 2010
The Search Is On – Glass Seeks Right Indiana Fit
Athletic director Fred Glass is not an impulsive guy. He sees the big picture. He has a vision of where he wants Indiana football to be and it is not a 5-26 Big Ten record.
So Bill Lynch is gone, a new coach is coming and no matter what happens, understand who’s accountable.
“At the end of the day, the buck stops with me,” Glass said.
Glass will be a one-man search committee, which doesn’t mean he won’t have help. The university will spend significant bucks on Neinas Sports Services, a national consulting firm run by Chuck Neinas based out of Boulder, Colorado.
That leads to the obvious question -- who’s Chuck Neinas?
Neinas runs the company. He’s the former commissioner of the Big Eight Conference (it’s now the Big 12), and former executive director of the College Football Association and assistant executive director for the NCAA. He’s negotiated TV contracts and promoted NCAA legislation.
His company evaluates athletic and football programs, assists in future planning and hiring, and helps with TV negotiations. He pushes his ability to conduct confidential personnel searches and provide information others might not have the resources to acquire.
In other words, if there’s dirt, he’ll know about it. If a candidate is a saint, he’ll know that, too. He just won't talk about it publically.
Glass also will consult a variety of people, including former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Colts President Bill Polian. He'll talk with former Hoosier players, current players, the IU Varsity Club, the NCAA, the Big Ten, the American Football Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association.
How long will the search take? Figure a couple of weeks. Glass will certainly want to have someone in place by Christmas to minimize the uncertainty over the program and to try to retain and perhaps add recruits.
Still, as he said, “It is more important that we do it right instead of doing it fast.”
Glass said he began contingency plans a couple of weeks ago as IU’s Big Ten defeats mounted. The 83-20 loss to Wisconsin was an accelerator. He said IU will pay what is necessary to get the coach it wants.
“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.”
Next season will be about perception. The new coach will likely have the same struggling record as Lynch would have had. Why? Because IU will still have an inexperienced quarterback and probably a limited rushing attack unless oft-injured tailback Darius Willis can stay healthy for a full season, and even that might not be enough. Unless the defense confuses itself with Ohio State, that’s not a recipe for success.
However, fans will give the new coach a break. They would have roasted Lynch and, by extension, Glass. He admitted as much while saying he couldn’t see giving Lynch an extension after three straight 1-7 Big Ten records.
“I concluded that wouldn’t serve Bill or the university very well. It would create a scenario of heightened tenseness. Every game, every play, would over analyzed. It’s not an environment that would be positive for Bill or the program.”
Glass said he has a list of candidates and the qualities he wants to see in the next coach. He declined to reveal the list or the qualities, saying, “Anything I would say publicly would be option limiting. People might feel they are out because they don’t perceive they have this or that (trait). I don’t want to say anything that could limit our search.”
Lynch and his staff had 21 commitments for next year’s recruiting class. Glass said the university will honor those scholarship offers. He said the fact he made the decision to fire Lynch (it's offically called not retaining his services) the day after the season ended reflected his understanding of how important getting the search underway was.
Glass said he’s already gotten interest in the job. One name mentioned as a candidate is Brady Hoke, the former Ball State coach and current San Diego State coach. An intriguing option is the fact that basketball coach Tom Crean is the brother-in-law to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, a Michigan graduate with strong Midwestern ties. Given the fact he's built Stanford into a top-5 team, a move to Bloomington would appear EXTREMELY unlikely, but it's okay for Hoosier fans to dream.
Glass said he’s not going to comment on names or speculations. What he is going to do is try to hire the best coach for the job.
“I think it is a fantastic job. Properly understood, it will be highly sought after.”
Let the intrigue begin.