Kevin Wilson is buying into this Indiana tradition stuff. Yeah, maybe football hasn’t been a dynasty at the school, but that doesn’t mean the program hasn’t had its share of standouts in the century-plus it’s been around.
Case in point is Mark Hagen, who was very much a linebacker stud for the Hoosiers back in the Bill Mallory era. Now he’s a veteran coach, a strong recruiter and the latest to join Wilson’s rebuilding team.
Hagen, who has spent the last 11 years coaching at Purdue, will handle defensive tackles and special teams. He joins Corey Raymond, a former NFL player who spent the last two years coaching cornerbacks at Utah State. Raymond will coach cornerbacks for the Hoosiers.
That’s four defensive coaches hired by Wilson. The others were co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler. Figure Wilson to hire one more defensive coach to handle defensive ends.
He has yet to hire an offensive coach, although his No. 1 priority on that side of the ball is the offensive coordinator.
Hagen thrived during his time at Purdue, which wasn’t surprising considering how good he was as a player. He was a two-time All-Big Ten choice as a linebacker, and a three-time academic all-conference player. He also was an administrative assistant at IU from 1992-95. During that time he worked with Doug Mallory, the Hoosiers’ secondary coach.
Hagen coached linebackers and defensive tackles during his time at IU. In fact, he was assistant head coach under Joe Tiller from 2005-2008. Rivals.com named him one of the Big Ten’s top recruiters and one of the nation’s top-25 recruiters. He coached 10 players who went on to play in the NFL. He made a big difference on special teams, an area the Boilers struggled in until he took charge in 2004. That included 19 blocked kicks from 2003 to 2008.
Hagen also coached defensive tackles for three years at Northern Iowa.
He has a lot of contacts in the state and around the Midwest. He knows the university and the Big Ten. And he likely will be able to provide some key insight into Purdue’s strategy under coach Danny Hope.
As far as rumors that Hagen used negative recruiting against Indiana and former coach Terry Hoeppner, forget them. He’s too good a recruiter to resort to that, especially against his alma mater.
“I’ve known Mark since my days and Northwestern and competing against his defensive fronts,” Wilson said in a university release. “His track record speaks for itself. Mark has developed a number of NFL players. His defensive linemen have always been excellent and he has great experience with special teams.”
Added Hagen: “Coach Wilson is in the process of putting a great staff together. There is a lot of talent in place. I have a lot of great memories from my time as a player and working with Coach (Bill) Mallory. One other highlight is the opportunity to work with Doug Mallory, who is like a brother to me. I think it is going to be a real special situation.”
Raymond played seven years as a cornerback in the NFL –- with the New York Giants from 1992-95 and the Detroit Lions from 1995-98. He had 279 career tackles with 11 interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.
He worked with cornerbacks and the strength and conditioning program for three years at LSU. The Tigers were 3-0 in bowls while he was there. During that time he worked with Doug Mallory and Ekeler.
“Corey came highly recommended,” Wilson said. “He was an excellent college player and he spent seven year in the NFL. He’s off to a great start in his college coaching career. He’s one of the great defensive backfield technicians in the country.”
Added Raymond: “We are ready to build a program that will compete week in and week out in the Big Ten. I can’t wait to get going.”
Indiana lost its chance to win a basketball championship because it hasn’t yet figured out how to finish a close game.
Three times it’s gone into the closing minutes of games only to lose. The latest example came with the 67-61 loss to Northern Iowa in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Classic.
The score was tied with 2:30 to play. Then the Panthers (8-3) scored five straight points to take control.
That negated strong performances from Christian Watford (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Derek Elston (19 points). The result was a lack of production from guards Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones (2-for-18, 11 points).
IU (9-3) is 0-3 away from Assembly Hall. It lost its chance to play New Mexico (coached by former Hoosier All-American Steve Alford) in the Las Vegas title game. Instead, it gets Colorado tonight. A victory would be crucial for momentum entering Monday night's Big Ten opener against Penn State.