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Column: Decision to fire Lynch proves Glass is right guy for IU Athletics

POSTED AT 12:32 AM ON Nov. 29, 2010 

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Bill Lynch was not the right guy for his job.

Fred Glass is the right guy for his.

The IU Athletics Director made the right decision by firing Lynch, no matter how difficult that decision might have been.

This move is a real sign Glass is committed to making this football program relevant. Three Big Ten wins in the last three years was not acceptable in any way, and Glass recognized it.

“A lot of times, the right thing to do is also the hardest thing to do,” he said Sunday. “For me, this is one of those times.

“Given the circumstances of the last three seasons, extending (Lynch’s) contract was not a viable option. It would send the wrong signal of what merited an extension at Indiana University.”

This should be a bright day for Hoosier Nation.

Glass, even after an emotional overtime win in the Old Oaken Bucket game on Saturday, fired a guy who wasn’t getting the job done.

I have to admit, I didn’t think Glass would pull the trigger after Saturday’s win. I thought he would try to sell the improvement in record from 4-8 to 5-7. I thought he would say the team was one Damarlo Belcher dropped catch away from a bowl game.

But he went in the opposite direction. And by doing so, he proved he’s willing to do whatever it takes to build a winner — even reach deep into the athletics department’s budget to provide the necessary funds.

“We’re prepared to make the resources available to get the group that we want,” Glass said. “We understand that will probably be significantly more expensive than what we are spending now.”

With that in mind, the obvious question now is, “What’s next?”

Glass admitted he has a list of candidates in mind, but he would not elaborate as to who those guys might be. One has to believe, though, that with the funds now available and the facilities in place, Glass should be able to find a decent replacement.

After all, Lynch’s salary of  just more than $660,000 was the lowest in the Big Ten this season.

Two potential candidates for the IU job — and I am only speculating — would be San Diego State’s Brady Hoke and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Leach was fired from Texas Tech after mistreating a player with a concussion and hasn’t been in coaching since. He’s a great offensive mind, and he helped turn the Red Raiders’ program around. A player I spoke with Sunday said Leach would be “tight,” but he didn’t see him coming to IU as coach next season.

I don’t either.

Glass can’t afford to take a chance on a guy with a checkered past because of what happened with Kelvin Sampson and Bob Knight in the men’s basketball program.

Plus, Leach is going to be tied up in what could be a lengthy lawsuit with ESPN.

Hoke, in my mind, should be one of Glass’ main targets. Hoke coached Ball State to a 12-1 season in 2008 and helped San Diego State to an 8-4 finish this season, a year after the team went 4-8.

But would Hoke accept Glass’ offer if it was made? Only time will tell.

Glass needs to move quickly on this search because a group of recruits is awaiting the direction of the program.

Something tells me, however, it will take several weeks — or months — for Glass to find the guy he wants.

Either way, though, Glass proved a lot with his decision  Sunday. He proved he’s willing to do what it takes to win. He proved he’s not afraid to make a tough, emotional decision.

And by doing those things, he proved he’s the right guy for the IU athletics director position.

Now, though, comes what may be an even more difficult task: the search.


E-mail: jmalbers@indiana.edu

 

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