Coach Mal: Sign Lynch now


Despite some rumors to the contrary, sources close to the situation said today that IU officials have not contacted Bill Lynch this week to talk about a longer-term contract.

After hearing that news, I talked tonight with former coach Bill Mallory who spoke passionately about the urgency for IU to sign Lynch now for the years ahead. He said it would be a huge mistake to change direction by trying to find a bigger-name coach.

Mallory, a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year who took IU to six bowl games in eight years during the mid-80s through early 90s, was excited by the Bucket win and the crowd Saturday. He said to hire a new coach – after having four head coaches in 11 years – would set the program back again just as it has momentum three years into the tenure of the current staff.

I didn’t have to ask more than a question or two for the story I’ll have tomorrow in the H-T and HoosiersHQ.com. Coach Mallory was fired up and it wasn’t because of the cajun food in Baton Rouge, where he’s visiting this week and will attend the LSU-Arkansas game Friday. I took notes as fast as I could. Here are some of his comments:

“We’ve been through enough and what we need at Indiana is stability. That should be understood.”

“This is a very critical time for recruiting. They need to get this wrapped up. We can’t drag this out.”

“There’s nobody more respected in the state of Indiana among high school coaches than Bill Lynch. And that is so important.”

“I feel very good about where the program is and where it is going. I really think that next year could be a darned good season.”

“Bill Lynch did an excellent job, the way this team came together. I have great respect for him, as a person, as an assistant coach and as a head coach. He just does it right.”

“The players know and understand what is expected in the program. The system of football is well ingrained. And the coaches know the players and what they have to do to get better. I’ve been through coaching transitions. That will be disruptive. We don’t need that now.”

“What we know that what we don’t need is somebody coming in with another type of program. We need to take care of this and go to that bowl game. We don’t need changes.”

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35 comments:

  • Hoosier Hound says:

    What is Greenspan doing?

    I agree wholeheartedly with Coach Mallory. Lynch should have been signed to an extension by the time everyone woke up on Monday. This is downright disrespectful nonsense.

  • Doug says:

    Hoosier Hound, the unofficial word coming out of IU is that this decision is being handled at a level higher than Greenspan. It sounds like Rick wants to retain Bill Lynch and is waiting for approval to do so.

  • Mike P says:

    “There’s nobody more respected in the state of Indiana among high school coaches than Bill Lynch. And that is so important.”

    I wish people would stop using this argument for retaining Lynch. Yes being respected in the state is important, if you only goal is to attract 2 & 3 star recruits with 1 or 2 four and five star players every other year. Minus Warren Central the last couple years, Indiana is very mediocre ratings wise for recruits. In the class of 2008 there is only 2 players ranked in the top 25 for their position, one MarQueis Gray, QB from Ben Davis H.S., the other is Kurt Wermers, G from Crown Point H.S. Wermers and John Goodman, WR from Bishop Dwenger in Fort Wayne are the only two 4 star recruits in Indiana this year, Goodman is going to Notre Dame, Wermers to Michigan.

    So keep Lynch because he can recruit this state is the same as saying “I am ok with getting mediocre players and having mediocre teams”. Personally, I am not ok with it, I expect them to build a program (with or without Lynch) that will top of the conference fighting for a trip to the Rose Bowl.

    Get over the bucket win, and look at the ENTIRE body of work under Lynch. Funny, the majority of people wanted him fired after the Northwestern game, then those numbers switched place after the Bucket win. It was an emotional win.

  • Jim says:

    Put me in the camp of saying I am glad Lynch coached this year to get these kids to a bowl, but I’m not convinced of his ability to recruit. Hep had a recruiting plan and the recruiting chops to execute it. Focusing on an Indiana guy is good for basketball in a state that is tops in basketball talent, but in football you are competing against both Purdue and ND in state for the top recruits, and we are in OSU’s and UM’s back yard for them to poach the top talent. No offense to Mallory, but Hutchens and everyone else going crazy about Lynch not being offered a contract are not thinking this through with their heads.

  • WW says:

    Mike P – Who is on your short list? Another coaching change? I have to agree with Coach Mall. That would be a major hit to the program. I see your point but what is the trade-off for a mass coaching change after a quasi-successful season? How do you feel about a new head guy with Lynch as assistant? That is a messy condition and doubt that will happen. Tough issue…..I just question whether we will ever get the blue chippers away from the big schools that surround us. OSU, Mich, ND, Purdue, etc. No matter how much we pay and who we hire. I am on the fence but tend to lean towards 1-3 more years for Lynch.

  • Mike P says:

    WW – I am not advocating Lynch either way at this point, I am very much on the fence about what should happen with his future.

    My problem is arguing he should stay because of his relationships with Indiana coaches, when the talent pools are Texas, Florida, Ohio, PA, Louisana, Alabama, California, and to some extent Georgia. The top talent in Indiana are not even top 30 in their positions most years.

    There are some people I have been told about, but at this point I am not free to discuss them, they are not public knowledge, and I promised I would not get on the boards and leak what I know to the public.

    I would be all for Lynch and the staff staying on, with Lynch as the assistant head coach, but I don’t see that going to happen. I think Lynch is a great guy, and a good coach, he done excellent for the position he was in this year, but I still have trouble seeing him as a long term answer as head coach.

  • Jerry says:

    My biggest concern about Bill Lynch was his play calling in the fourth quarter against Purdue. IU had a first-and-10 on Purdue’s 15 or 20-yard line with about 11:30 remaining in the game. At that time, the Hoosiers were leading by 14 points.

    In my opinion, all IU had to do was run the next three plays because the Hoosiers already were in field goal range. If the Hoosiers had run the ball, they would have taken valuable minutes off the clock unless Purdue used its timeouts to stop it.

    Instead, IU ran the first down, had an incomplete pass on the second down and Kellen Lewis virtually put the Hoosiers out of field goal range on the third down by getting sacked while attempting a pass. Had IU run all three plays, the Hoosiers would have kicked a field goal and most likely had a 17-point lead with about 9:00 remaining in the game. Instead, they missed the field goal and had a 14-point lead with around 10:30 left in the game.

    A made field goal for a 17-point lead would have stopped Purdue’s momentum and virtually put the game out of reach. The missed field goal, however, gave the Boilermakers momentum and allowed them to eventually tie the game before IU won it in the waning seconds with a 49-yard field goal in heavy night air.

    We cannot afford to have a coach who is incapable of putting away our biggest rival. I would love to hear his rationale for that series of downs.

  • Doug says:

    Mike, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Mallory was saying in-state recruits are the key to success. I think everybody knows they’re not.

    Next year’s IU recruiting class, for instance, has 10 of 15 players that are from out of state and all but a couple of the guys they are still recruiting are from outside Indiana. But I do think Mallory is saying that IU does need to do better with the top in-state players than it has in recent years.

    I don’t think you’ll find anyone – including the coaching staff – that doesn’t think IU needs to do better in its recruiting and the hope is that new facilities, a winning record and a bowl game will help with that.

  • Mike P says:

    My point is the top players in Indiana are 2nd and 3rd string players to those from the states I listed. I know I usually don’t put much on a players rating, but the state of Indiana only has two 4 star recruits this year, no 5 star players, and Wermers is the only player ranked in the top 20 in his position from this state, and he is Michigan bound. The other 4 star player is ranked 33rd. Lynch is not really known outside Indiana except in Big Ten country, and that is mostly because of the situation with Coach Hep.

    Like I said, I am still on the fence with this, and I will support the program no matter what they decide. I would just like to see 1 defenitive reason to keep Lynch on as head coach, just one point to sell me on him as the future of this program, and the Bucket game is not even close to a selling point for me.

  • Jay says:

    Mike, you have some valid concerns. IU has a long suffering history when it comes to football. You are correct, recruiting is a huge priority. My only suggestion to you would be to read Bill Mallory’s statements again. I believe he used the word stability. Now you can take that as a definitve point, or you can choose not to. There is a reason the Big Ten experienced a down year. Think about it, 6 schools have coaches with three years or less Big Ten head coaching experience. That lack of stability severely hurts recruiting.

  • Mike P says:

    Jay – I have trouble with saying a conference that has 10 of 11 teams bowl eligible, when other conferences won’t get enough teams eligible to fill there contracted spots as being a down year. It is even harder for me to say that when the out of conference record is a combined 35-9. Compare that to the SEC, who many believe is the tougest conferenc out there, the have 10 of 12 teams eligible, and are 38-6 out of conference on the season. I can’t and won’t say the Big Ten is down until after bowl season this year.

    Stability is important, but is hiring Bill Lynch a stable move? What happens if he goes 3-9 or worse the next two or 3 years, and then they look at replacing him, but now we are already back in the losing boat, and starting over with a new coach.

    A top coach, someone with name recognition all across the country getting a 5 year contract would show stability as a possibility from the University, and recruiting could be majorly increased.

    Like I said, I am just looking for one solid reason to get me off the fence and behind Lynch 100%, and I just can’t find it.

  • Sam says:

    Having followed IU and college football for years, I am at least aware that most fans do not have sufficient knowledge of what goes on with the 18-22 year old players, the staff and their relationships with others on campus, throughout the state and throughout the nation. I have disagreed with some of the plays called as much as anyone else, but have withheld my thoughts on whether Bill Lynch should be retained until I heard from the one person I most respect related to IU football. If Coach Mallory says he should be offered a contract, I am definitely on board. Offer him a contract.

  • Chet says:

    While I personally think Lynch has earned a new contract, two words make me fearful of awarding the job to the interim coach with one successful season.

    Mike Davis

  • Jay says:

    Sam, I think that I know you. Do you have a new house?

  • Megan M. says:

    I’m going to copy in my post from the non-blog thread of the same ilk.

    I like Lynch. I think he’s done an ok job given the difficulties this team faced this year. But I fail to see where he was sucessful as a head coach. You want continuity, I’m fine with keeping Lynch, especially as an assistant, but a 5 year contract is a horrible idea. Keep him on about a 2 year contract, and lets see if his ambivolence still “wins” (despite the miserable losses we endured based on some horrible play calls and lack of solid leadership) after Hep’s boys are all gone.
    Davis did great his first year, too. I was at the Duke game, where our esteemed leader HID HIS FACE IN THE BENCH. He not only couldn’t lead, he couldn’t even watch. He inherited a talented group who played well together. I don’t want to see us come this far to collapse in a year or two, and then be stuck paying just one more salary to someone not still working for us.
    We lost very winnable games. We sucked out our bowl eligibility in the last game of the season, one that is so emotional for fans and players it’s a toss-up almost every year. We should have been 10-2 or at least 9-3, and we weren’t. I think that’s pretty telling.

    I’m less concerned with “Big Name” and more concerned with getting the job done. Hep was getting there, obviously he inherited a bit of a mess, and wasn’t there yet, but this year was going to be our bowl year. I think, had we not lost him, we would have been at least 9-3. We were forced into a bit of a backslide simply as a function of a tragedy, but to compound it by making poor decisions as a function of emotion is ill-advised.

  • Mike P says:

    Sam – and there are some of us who know kids that have letters from Notre Dame, Big Ten Schools, and SEC schools in their hands, as well as letters from IU that won’t even consider IU if they don’t look towards a bigger name coach than Lynch.

    I said this before, respect from former coaches, fans, and alumni does not win football games, top coaching and athlete’s win football games.

  • Jay says:

    To: Mike and Megan

    From: Jay

    Subject: IU football

    You both seem to be concerned and interested, which is great. Your fears and trepidations are normal. My problem is you don’t have any concrete suggestions.

    Mike you want a deifinitve answer as to why Lynch should be hired. At least two people have given you suggestions. You don’t seem satisfied. There are no definitive answers

    Megan, you want someone concerned with getting the job done. Don’t you think that Pont, Corso, Wyche, Mallory, DiNardo, Hoeppner and Lych want/wanted to get the job done? Forget the emotion, this is a big time business decision that the athletic department and others are contemplating.

    You both seem pretty confident that the team would have been 9-3 or even 10-2. How is it that you have more knowledge than almost anybody else? The coaches and the athletic department are professionals dedicated to their jobs.

    Remember the fans and alumni played a large part in running a couple of pretty good coaches out of town.

    Finally, as for Davis, quite honestly that was a totally different situation.

    I really appreciate your perspective but I question your reasoning.

  • cln says:

    Seeing Coach Mallory endorse Coach Lynch leaves me conflicted as well. I think that Coach Lynch is a great assistant head coach but cannot get behind giving him a long term contract as head coach. For me, clock management was the biggest frustration on Saturday as I watched us continue to run out of bounds while ahead by 14 points in the 4th quarter and (the most painful) punt the ball with 15 seconds left on the clock at the end of the 3rd quarter while the clock was running and there were 20+ seconds on the play clock.

    All year long I’ve watched us mis-manage the clock when we were ahead and I can’t believe it continued through to the last game of the season. I actually am happy Starr missed the first kick because at least we had to play for the win during the last three minutes. If we had been playing with a three point lead, I’m sure we would’ve fumbled again or given the ball back to Purdue with a minute left, which would’ve been plenty of time for them to drive down for a winning TD against our defense which was clearly on it’s heels. If we had managed the clock correctly, we would’ve never been in a position to need to hit that last field goal, we would’ve won by 14+ points.

    I continue to thank Coach Lynch for a great year, but just can’t get behind giving him a contract. I think we are all too emotional about the Purdue win – I agree with Mike that we have to look at the body of work, and I can’t understand why one game that we barely won has made such a difference in popular opinion.

    To me, stability will come from hiring someone that we feel will be here for the next 10 years. Not from hiring someone that has been here for three years, but whose ability we are unsure about. That is a recipe for instability as it increases the chance that we will need to be looking again in 1-2 years.

    Regardless, I’ll be at the bowl game cheering for us to win a bowl game for the first time since ’92 v. Baylor in the Copper Bowl, which, ironically,became the Insight.com Bowl in 1996.

  • Mike P says:

    Jay – I am 32 years old, I have been going to IU football games since I was about 4. I have been there through the good and the bad times. I have played the game, and coached the game, I am still a coach to this day, in youth leagues where I am teaching kids who have no idea how to play the game.

    I have not seen out of Lynch what I believe takes to be successful for the long run here, I am tired of being a middle of the road conference team because we settle.

    When everyone was so upset that Lynch was given the interm job when Hep died, I was one of the people who stood up and said give him a chance, let him do the job this season, he knows the game plan and is the best person for the job at this point.

    That was in June, this is November, I seen a team that almost threw away a game against Western Michigan due to conservatiive second half coaching, a team that got beat twice over not executing the basics (cover the ball when you are going to get hit), a loss to Northwestern that was the result of running the worng game plan and poor play calling, and a last second win against a team we had a 21 point lead on, but then backed off and went conservative on both offense and defense and allowed them back into it.

    Lynch is a fine coach, as an assistant coach, I just am not buying into him as a head coach.

    My suggestion is to be honest with Lynch that he is in the running for the job, but the proper thing to do is look at who is out there, and all possibilities for the future of this team. Remove all emotion from your thought process, and look at it for what it is, a long term business deal.

    If I went just off my emotions of beating Purdue, being 7-5 and going to a bowl game, I would have offered Lynch a 5 year deal about 8:30 Saturday night, but I don’t work off emotion, not when it comes to this game.

  • Steve D. says:

    For all of the “two words Mike Davis”…I’ve got two words for you…Cam Cameron

    Cam Cameron was so busy going toe-to-toe for the nation’s best players, he burned the bridges to Indiana players…and he went “toe-to-toe” with Michigan and Ohio State FIRING BLANKS.

    I want to see a coach with momentum for the first time in 15 years and see if he can build on it…

    Mike Davis had no Head Coaching experience…Lynch has plenty….BIG DIFFERENCE!!! If the staff is retained, it helps immensely….

    So, what names do you think might take the job….

    We fire a coach after winning 7 wins….Would you want the job knowing 7 wins and a bowl (possibly) aren’t good enough???

  • Steve D. says:

    Rick Greenspan has listed the following for all hires…

    1) Competing for In-state recruits and knows the state

    2) An energetic recruiter

    3) A person with Head-coaching experience.

    Considering Hep considered the state of Indiana under control with the names of “Hep, Lynch and Lynch”….Hep always was the finisher with the assistants laying the ground work….So, it looks to me like Lynch fills in ALL Greenspan’s criteria…

    BTW, after Hep passed away, 13 commitments came on board. Sounds like Lynch can recruit to me….

  • Mike P says:

    Steve D. – 13 recruits, all 2 and 3 star recruits that are not getting offers from bigger named schools. Don’t fool yourself.

  • Mike P says:

    Like I have said, if Lynch is picked, I will be 100% behind him and the University and the program. If he is not picked, I will be 100% behind everything also.

    If it is Lynch, give him a 2 year extension, then evaluate where we are after those two years.

  • Mike P says:

    Steve D – you brought up the Cam Cameron situation, that hire to me is the all time greatest screw up this program has ever had. You had Cameron and John Gruden applying for the job back then. Cameron got the nod of Gruden, Cameron is now 0-9 as an NFL head coach, Gruden is a Super Bowl champion coach. We blew it on that call.

  • Steve D. says:

    Mike P…..since when does IU get anything above 3-star recruits???

    As Hep once said, “I’m a recruiting guru, too”….

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