The exuberance, passion and tradition for Hoosier sports are unprecedented, while others don’t even compare.
Even though basketball is the dominant sport in Bloomington, football is just as important because of its revenue-generating capacity.
Aside from hiring Tom Crean, IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan’s second-most notable lieutenant is Bill Lynch. Crean might have been the best candidate for the hardwood, but many disagree with his gridiron selection.
For this reason, I often pose this question to students: “Are you satisfied with the current football coaching situation?”
More often than not, the answer is simple: “No.”
I always inquire further: “Why do you feel that way?”
To paraphrase their responses, many students claim Lynch wasn’t the right man for the job.
If you thought students are living off 2007’s Old Oaken Bucket game, you’re wrong.
True, Lynch led the Hoosiers to their first bowl appearance since 1993, but students aren’t looking back.
Rather, one season later, the IU-Purdue clash has escaped their minds. And Lynch’s direction is now an afterthought.
Instead, many students cite Lynch as a failure because of his lackluster time at in-state foe Ball State.
“If he got fired at Ball State, he should not have been hired here,” said junior Brian Smith. “He’s too soft. He doesn’t coach physical football.”
And while Greenspan thought Lynch deserved a second chance, much of the student body didn’t think so.
With the Hoosiers currently sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten, many wonder why Greenspan extended Lynch’s contract.
Lynch is no Terry Hoeppner.
Unlike his predecessor, Lynch isn’t the face of IU football.
You don’t see countless billboards with Lynch as the centerpiece. You don’t see too much interaction with the crowd on Saturdays. And you don’t see the charisma one would want at IU.
Coach Lynch, your recent record isn’t the only reason why the student body opts for the tailgates rather than Memorial Stadium.
Hoeppner didn’t have a record to brag about, but he proved that interacting with the students can draw them back to the stands. Many believe Lynch doesn’t exhibit a close connection with the campus.
“(Lynch) needs to be more like (IU women’s basketball) coach (Felisha Legette) Jack and make public appearances,” said senior Lisa Deligio. “He needs to be more involved on campus. I’ve never seen or met him.”
Hoeppner laid the foundation but, Coach, you’re not building upward. There has not been growth in the football program since Hoeppner died. You might have reached that pivotal 13th game, but you haven’t yet fully lived up to the students’ expectations.
And this season isn’t helping.
Iowa is coming to Bloomington on Saturday and, like the upcoming basketball season, nobody knows what to expect. The Hawkeyes have dropped their last three games, but they might be the favorites coming in.
“I don’t think (Lynch) is the right fit,” said junior Andrew Tuke. “I think it was a mistake to sign him for the long haul. What IU is doing now with the new end zone and rebuilding the program, they should have gone after someone bigger.”
Coach Lynch, the ball is in your hands to save the program.
You might know the X’s and O’s better than the masses on campus, but you have to show the students that coaching at IU is unlike coaching anywhere else.
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