Indiana Daily Student

After 25 years with IU, Freitag will not return for 2010

Men's soccer head coach Mike Freitag walks off the field after an IU's loss to Ohio State  at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Men's soccer head coach Mike Freitag walks off the field after an IU's loss to Ohio State at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Twenty-five of Mike Freitag’s 51 years have been spent with the IU men’s soccer program, as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

But now, Freitag’s tenure as a Hoosier is done.

Fred Glass, IU vice president and athletics director, told Freitag on Tuesday that his contract will not be renewed for the 2010 season. His contract expires Dec. 31.

“I feel pressure in this job all the time because it’s Indiana soccer, and I put pressure on myself to do the best possible job for this program and I have for all my adult life,” Freitag said. “I felt there were some people that probably wanted me out of the

Freitag served as the second coach during the program’s 36-year history. He played for the Hoosiers from 1976-79, contributed as a graduate assistant from 1983-86, was an assistant from 1993-2003 and won an NCAA Championship as head coach in 2004.

He posted a 86-32-19 record as head coach. He was there when five of the seven national championship trophies were hoisted over his players’ heads. He spent 25 years in all with IU soccer. But none of it was enough.

“I think we could have won a national championship this year and my job still would have been in jeopardy,” Freitag said. “I’m very fortunate because I’ve lived out one of my goals of being the head coach here and help this University win a national championship.”

After IU’s run to a national championship ended on Sunday with a 1-0 loss to North Carolina, players were called into a meeting with Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Reynolds. Freitag called the 11:30 p.m. meeting disturbing.

“You lost a game,” he said. “You’re down and then they call up kids to come to their office at 11:30 at night to get their feelings. Emotions are still high. The way it was done seems like it was all set up.”

However, Glass said IU’s 13-11-1 record was not the sole reason for Freitag’s dismissal. Throughout the season, players also went to Glass with complaints of Freitag.

“It’s traditional at the end, in fact, an NCAA requirement at the end of a season that we conduct interviews with the seniors because of concerns about the program,” Glass said. “Also, we wanted to expand that beyond just the seniors.

“We certainly took into account that they were fresh from that loss, but these comments were not inconsistent with comments that other exit interviews and other things that we have heard from the players over the course of the season, so I reject any suggestion that the input from the players was somehow not credible because it came after that loss.”

Glass also announced Monday that fourth-year assistant Phil Presser and first-year assistant Aleksey Korol will also be let go effective at the end of the month.

The decision will lead to the first coach employed under Glass’ watch, a decision he said he does not take lightly.

“It’s the first hire that I’ll make, and it’s really with our premier program,” Glass said. “I take this responsibility very seriously.”

After a team meeting Monday night, junior midfielder Daniel Kelly said the team is simply looking for someone with whom they can share mutual respect.

Kelly was one of the players interviewed by members of the IU Athletics Administration before Freitag’s dismissal.

“Over my last three years playing for him, it’s always been fun,” Kelly said. “It’s just we haven’t gotten the results so I guess the administrative guys see it as we need to move on. Kind of a fresh start I guess.”

Junior midfielder Andy Adlard said the firing came as a bit of a surprise.

“It all happened so fast, and it hasn’t quite settled in yet,” Adlard said. “I can’t really comment if it was a good decision or not. Things needed to be figured out, apparently, because things happened so quickly, so that was the time it needed to be done.”

Although no decisions have been made in regard to Freitag’s replacement, Glass said “multiple IU alumni” will be considered in the search, a trend that has been true throughout the program’s history.

“For what it’s worth, renewing Mike’s contract would have been the easy thing and the safe thing,” Glass said. “But it would not have been the right thing, and I wasn’t eager to make that change but I’m absolutely convinced that it was the right thing to do and that’s why I did it.”

Sports editor Sean Morrison contributed to this report.

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