Thursday, August 11, 2011
Taking No Guff – Fiesty Wilson Won’t Turn Other Cheek
Reality TV shows Housewives of New Jersey or Los Angeles or Whatever had nothing on the drama unexpectedly erupting during IU football coach Kevin Wilson’s Thursday morning radio interview with Jack Trudeau and Dominic Zaccagnini on WNDE 1260 AM out of Indianapolis.
Trudeau (a former Illinois quarterback whose kid goes to IU) and Zaccagnini tried to be funny with their introduction -- playing the school fight song while joking about Indiana’s lack of football success -- before putting Wilson on the air. Wilson took that as disrespecting the program, and it was on.
Wilson said Zac and Jack “didn’t have a clue.” He said he’s a busy man with practice to deal with and players to develop, and he didn’t have time to talk with guys who say Indiana doesn’t have any football tradition. In other words, he won’t mess with fools. He said past failures had nothing to do with future successes. He talked about having pride in the programs he’s coached at before (Miami of Ohio, Northwestern and Oklahoma), and pride in an IU program he hopes to turn around.
Trudeau took offense and said he “didn’t appreciate” Wilson’s attitude and that Wilson’s coments were “not fair.” He said he was “shocked” Wilson came on the show “with an attitude.” He said IU’s program “stinks,” that Wilson’s comments were “pathetic” and that he will tell Illinois coach Ron Zook to “pound” the Hoosiers when the teams play in Bloomington on Oct. 8.
In the end, either Wilson hung up on them or they hung up on him. Either way, it rocketed around the digital world.
Isn’t the male ego an amazing thing? Guys get their feelings hurt, feel slighted or disrespected, and WWE breaks out.
Is this bad?
Are you kidding?
Suddenly IU football has another jolt of buzz after things had slowed following the Gunner Kiel commitment. People are talking Hoosier football, and for a perennially struggling program, this is a good thing. It’s EXACTLY what Wilson wanted. He got his message out, promoted his program and generated plenty of publicity.
Of course, August is the time for this kind of stuff. After that, you gotta put up and perform.
Still, can you feel the anticipation build?
As far as the radio war, the manly thing would be for Trudeau and Wilson to settle this via arm wrestling for charity. Or badminton. Or chess. Or one-arm pushups. Or yoddling. Whatever.
Competition is great for the soul, and Wilson is a competitive guy. So is Trudeau. Both speak their minds. This is the perfect recipe for conflict, and as any writer will tell you, conflict fuels drama, drama is the essence of stories, and that’s what people want. There’s a reason why fairy tales end at happily ever after. Nobody wants to see, hear or read about how wonderful everything is.
Right now, wonderful is not part of the Hoosiers’ program. It’s about potential and possibilities. We’ll see if Wilson can get his team to play to its ability, and perhaps just a little more. We’ll see if he can win. IU football history says no, but history won’t play games this season. Teams do, players will, and for now, all things are possible. And if radio drama furthers the Cream ‘n Crimson cause, all the better.
Who needs Housewives of Atlanta when you have Coach vs. Commentators.