Indiana Daily Student

Glass answers questions on Freitag situation

IU players listen as head coach Mike Freitag talks to his players after IU's loss to North Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
IU players listen as head coach Mike Freitag talks to his players after IU's loss to North Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Indiana Daily Student reporters Kevin Loughery and Stephanie Kuzydym spoke in-depth with IU Athletics Director Fred Glass regarding his decision not to renew IU men's soccer coach Mike Freitag's contract for the upcoming year.

Look below to see what Glass had to say.

IDS: There was a meeting called Sunday night after the North Carolina in which players talked with Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Reynolds about former IU coach Mike Freitag. Did the players call this meeting?

FG: Chris reached out to the players. 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, and we wanted to do that quickly. Also, we wanted to expand that beyond just the seniors.

You always do exit interviews with your seniors after season. Sometimes you do it right after a last game because it is hard to catch up with them later on. Sometimes you do it significantly after the last game.

IDS: Do you think after the players had just lost and they were emotionally upset that the timing of the meeting was right?

FG: I understand that some may suggest that the freshness of the defeat inappropriately colored their comments, and 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.

IDS: A few weeks ago you announced you would be keeping IU coach Bill Lynch with the record he has (14-23) but you didn’t renew Mike Freitag with his record (86-32-19). What set Freitag apart?

FG: That’s really trying to compare apples and oranges. Fair isn’t treating everything the same. Fair is treating like things alike, and these are just different situations in a number of ways.

Number one: Bill Lynch has a four-year contract. He was promised an opportunity four years ago to be given four years to make progress with Indiana’s football program. Mike had an annual contract. We honored his annual contract.

Indiana University soccer is one of our premiere programs, we’ve won seven national championships. Until the last couple years, every class that has gone through Indiana University has made it to a Final Four sometime over the course of their four-year tenure at the University. Unfortunately, football’s tradition hasn’t been as strong.

And then most importantly, I really feel and am convinced that the soccer program was going in the wrong direction, and I believe the football program is going in the right direction. So I think you take into account the record and you don’t ignore the record because, ultimately, all of us are ultimately judged upon the wins and losses, but it’s only part of the puzzle.

If the record was what it was but I felt the soccer program was going in the right direction, then we wouldn’t have made a change.

I think it would be incredible to say that it wouldn’t, but having said that, the record was a factor, but it wasn’t the primary factor. The primary factor was I felt the program was going in the wrong direction and I don’t think you can ignore the record.

Some people want to focus on, ‘Geez, he had one bad year.’ And we did lose 10 games for the first time in the history of the program this year. It was the most losses in the history of the program this year. It was the first time that we had a losing record at home in the regular season in the history of Indiana University soccer. It was a tough year, but last year was the third most losses in program history, and this class was the second senior class to go through Indiana University and not make it to a Final Four.

And while Mike won the national championship in 2004 and that’s great, that’s the last time that Indiana University had been to the Final Four. The sole time we had been there in ’04 we won it and that’s great, but for an elite program like Indiana University soccer, to go that long without getting to the Final Four — and I’m not talking about getting to the Final Four every year, I’m not talking about winning a championship ever year — but I will acknowledge that it was a question, an issue that we hadn’t been back since 2004.

Two senior classes who had come to Indiana University with an expectation that they would be able to be put in a position to play for a national championship hadn’t been to a Final Four, that was a part of the body of work that we judged. So my point there is this wasn’t a one-year reaction. This was an overview of the entire program.

And Mike’s a great guy and I wish him well. I’m fond of him personally, but the tough part of this job is I have to make evaluations like I did, or worse, make the kinds of decisions I had to make (Monday).

IDS: Have you reached out to any schools?

FG: I am very interested in getting an alumnus of Indiana University soccer, and there are three or four at least  coaches — either head coaches or assistant coaches — around the country who have been very successful, who were successful here, and we’ll be reaching out to them.

I think in a program like Indiana University soccer, you go out and get who you want. You don’t sit back and see what resumes flow in over the transom. Having said that, we’re posting the position, we’ll review and entertain people that submit their applications. But I think this is really going to be a situation we’re going to go out and aggressively pursue the handful of people who we think are the preeminent coaches in the country.

There’s no artificial deadline, but I want to do it as fast as possible. I think it’s important that we do it as quickly as we can. It’s more important to get it right than to get it fast. Having said that, I think it’s important that we do it quickly and candidly. I think one of the benefits of being Indiana University soccer is that people will find this to be a very attractive position.

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