Indiana Daily Student

How he should be remembered

Thanks, Rick Greenspan.

I know many Hoosier fans count down the days until the current director of athletics is relieved of his duties by Indianapolis attorney Fred Glass in January due to the turbulent events of the Greenspan era. I, too, am looking forward to Greenspan’s departure, but he should be thanked for the improvements he made to IU athletics.

The day Greenspan resigns will mark the end of one of the darkest eras in IU athletics and will finally allow closure for Hoosier fans divided by Greenspan’s leadership.

The Kelvin Sampson fiasco will define the Greenspan era. There are still unanswered questions surrounding the man who ultimately made the decision to hire a coach under investigation by the NCAA, but Greenspan does deserve some of the blame.

The hiring put the program in a bad light nationally, and the NCAA violations committed by Sampson at IU put the program in the worst position in its storied history.

Greenspan was fortunate to get a mulligan on hiring a men’s basketball coach – a mulligan he took full advantage of by getting Tom Crean to rejuvenate the Hoosier basketball tradition.

While Greenspan is to blame for some of the recent problems, I feel sorry for the disproportionate amount of bad luck he faced in his time in Bloomington.

The hiring of Terry Hoeppner invigorated the Hoosier football program in a way few, if any, coaches in America could have. Unfortunately, Hoeppner never had a chance to finish what he started, and now the football program is at another crossroads.

The decision to promote Bill Lynch to head coach is unpopular with fans, especially after the disappointing season after a bowl berth the previous year. Glass said he will retain Lynch, but it is unlikely the coach can survive another 3-9 season.

What’s really unfortunate is that Greenspan has done a lot of good for the athletics department that has been forgotten by fans who are angered about the Sampson/Lynch hires.

The financial situation was vastly improved by Greenspan and allowed for the expansion of athletics facilities, most notably the end zone expansion and the basketball practice facility.

Modern collegiate athletics is a big business requiring continuous capital improvement. Greenspan is the first IU AD to understand this and did an outstanding job raising funds for facilities while the program was strapped with debt and numerous contracts from fired coaches.

The AD also recognized how important football is to the athletics department.
Greenspan has been a fixture at football practices, and the athletics department has put a big effort to get people in the seats. The future of the athletics department will depend in large part on how successful the football team is.

Greenspan also did well by hiring coaches such as women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack, baseball coach Tracy Smith and volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar. These three coaches have started to turn around unsuccessful programs and have brought excitement to the athletics department. Greenspan should be given credit for the hires.

So, for the IU fans out there who will cheer Greenspan’s departure, please remember the good he did and how he has set up the athletics department for success under Glass.

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