Thursday, February 10, 2011

Memo to IU Football – Pick Coaches Who WANT To Be There

It’s a joke, right? Somebody is playing with the Hoosier Nation.

There is no way, NO WAY, IU loses a fourth assistant football coach in less than two months.

And yet, here it is. Jemal Singleton, who was just hired to be the Hoosiers’ running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, is heading to Oklahoma State to coach, well, who cares. He’s leaving the Hoosiers after barely having time to have eaten a meal in Bloomington.

The actual time is eight days, not that we’re counting.

Singleton joins Brent Pease (returned to Boise State), Corey Raymond to Nebraska and Jerry Montgomery to Michigan as assistants who have moved on fast.

That leads to the obvious question -- who’s next?

Sure, you can put another spin on this that new coach Kevin Wilson brings in guys other schools wants, so at least he’s hiring good coaches. Hopefully he’s this good in recognizing player talent.

But the retention rate stinks. There's no way to know if this is unprecedented, but it's certainly unusual.

Maybe Wilson picks guys who can’t honor their word. Or, maybe he’s so demanding that guys run for safety before the pressure really ratchets up.

At some point you start wondering if maybe the assistant coaches who are staying aren’t that good. Otherwise, they’d have left, too.

Perception becomes reality and when you have coaches bolting before they’ve even coached a practice, it’s a huge negative for a program trying to prove its Big Ten and national relevance.

Here’s the deal. Wilson can’t win at IU unless he gets guys who WANT to be at Indiana, who appreciate what the university has to offer. That’s true of players as well as coaches. You need guys who are are loyal to the program; passionate about it; committed to it. If you get coaches who can’t wait to go somewhere else, whether that’s in a week or a month or a year, you’re in trouble.

IU needs continuity in its head coach. It also needs continuity in its staff. That’s crucial for recruiting and for developing players already in the program. Heck, it's crucial for team morale. What are the players supposed to think when coaches keep running out on them.

Let’s repeat this -- the Hoosiers need good coaches who want to be at Indiana. It’s that simple.

But, as is true of so many things around IU athletics these days, nothing is simple.

Guys will leave for better offers and opportunities (it’s part of the profession), but it’s important to make Indiana a destination program and not just a stop over to somewhere else.

Sure, the Hoosiers have struggled in football over the years, but this looms as an unwanted first. It can’t continue. IU athletic director Fred Glass told the Bloomington Herald Times he’s “tired” of it, but that he doesn’t see a bigger problem.

Still, this wasn’t what school officials meant when referring to a new era in Indiana football.

Former coach Bill Lynch took heat about the quality of his staff, but at least those guys stuck around.

Before Wilson hires a new running backs coach, or any other coach from now on, he needs to make sure the guy is committed. If he’s not, move on. In fact, Wilson should have that conversation with the remaining assistant coaches. This revolving door stuff is, to be diplomatic, not helpful. To be frank, it’s a disaster and an embarrassment. It has to stop.

It has to stop now.


  1. Absolutely unbelievable. How can this be? One new assistant leaving is a bump in the road, but one that could be perceived objectively as "oh well, one of those things." But, this is just plain ridiculous. Usually today's players are deemed to be the golden boys who don't like it when coaches "yell at them". Makes me want to puke. I don't sense that at all with our existing or new players. Instead, now its the (assistant) coaches who are presenting a clear "there is an "I" in team" mentality. Get offered a nice, ripe gig and then turn and run to something perceived as better before the ink on their contracts are even dry. This demonstrates significant "iffy'ness" to begin with. I echo the sentiments of this fine article. Please, future asst. coach selections, don't accept this job if you have any trepidations whatsoever. Integrity, it strikes me, ought to enter this equation at some point. Enough already. Go Hoosiers. Ken Marshall '81 alum. and lifelong Hoosier football fan. Still Waiting to smell roses.

  2. Alas, more evidence of what is ailing college sports these days, as neither coaches nor players seem to understand the meaning of the words commitment and honesty. When so many take advantage of an opportunity and essentially lie to get what they think they really want it speaks volumes of where we are as a nation. What few seem to understand is that when a person's actions defy their words it simply makes it harder to believe in anyone who is trying to do the right thing. Pathetic!

  3. Just saw where it was 31 below in Oklahoma...coincidence or karma??