At the end of Indiana’s post-game press conference after its NCAA Tournament loss to Arkansas, Dan Dakich was asked if he wanted to make his case on why he should remain Indiana’s head coach. Here is his lengthy reply:
“There’s no question I should be. I understand there’s a culture at Indiana, given the timing of all this. There’s a lot of things transpiring behind the scenes with where the program has to go, and it has to be somebody that understands it. Or else you’re going to get yourself in a situation, just like we are.
“You know, the basketball part of this, this was a difficult situation to be in in the basketball part of it. But then you know what, that’s life. People are in far more difficult situations that I am.
“And just because you understand the culture doesn’t mean that you should be the head coach at Indiana University, but the passion, the desire to do things right, academically, socially, on the court, style of play, all are things that are absolutely what would happen if I become the head basketball coach at Indiana over the course of time. It’s just the way it is. When I was at Bowling Green, we won more in my first four years than since the guy they named the gym after was playing triple-headers in the same day I think against two women’s teams and a CYO team; and then injury and a variety of things kind of curtailed things.
But that’s what needs to happen here. This needs to be built. This needs to be built with a foundation of discipline and accountability. This needs to be built back to where there is a real pride among the people that know everything that’s going on in the basketball program; where there are former players that come and have pride in what is happening here in the program. And that can certainly happen with a lot of people, but I’m just telling you, given the climate, the culture, what’s happening right now, it has to be somebody that understands it, or else you’re going to face — I’m just telling you.
This is something I don’t wonder about. This something I know, period. At this particular time, there’s a lot of things that need to be done to make Indiana an elite program in all areas.
And that has begun. I mean a lot of that has begun right now over the last three weeks, and it’s going to continue as long as I’m the basketball coach. And I’m sure people can write a thousands reasons given record here over the last month why there’s somebody else, biggest name, whatever.
But what I’m telling you is a fact. I mean, it’s not conjecture. It’s not something drawn up by somebody that doesn’t know. I’m just telling you the culture right now lends itself to exactly what is going on here to get this right for the way Indiana people, Indiana fans, the Indiana nation wants it done right; where there’s no embarrassment; there nothing but pride in all areas. And that’s something that has to happen at IU. It doesn’t have to happen everywhere, but it has to happen at Indiana University. That’s how Indiana University conducts its business, especially in the basketball program.
Criticize it, say it’s wrong, criticize individuals, say it’s wrong all you want, but that’s certainly part of being an Indiana coach and an Indiana basketball player. But I’m just telling you, there is a pride and a way that’s bigger than whether you win or lose games, and that takes care of itself at IU but you have to do things in a certain way, you have to do them right and you have to do them with people that care and you have to bring in former players — the whole environment of what made it great, whether it was the ’40 National Championship, the ’53 National Championship, the ’76 National Championship, but this is one of the programs where it absolutely has to be. It’s not a program where maybe yes, maybe no; it has to be here at Indiana, and that’s what makes it great.
(Smile) I don’t know if that answers your question.
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