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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Transcript of Mike Freitag's statement

The past few days have been emotionally difficult for all of us, and as such, I felt there was a need for leadership to redirect our thoughts forward. It is very unfortunate the things I am reading or hearing in the community and I am concerned with the emotional tone of people’s thoughts. In the interest of the IU Soccer Program, I have called this press conference to rise above the level of debate ongoing regarding the status of our program, and ask for us to collectively channel our energy in a constructive manner.

Let me begin by stating, my family and I are greatly indebted to Indiana University, as it has been a significant part of our lives for many years. My wife, Renee, is the love of my life and has always been there for me through thick or thin. My daughters, Heather and Hanna, have lived IU Soccer almost their entire lives and are sadden by the fact that they will no longer be a part of it. I came to IU as an innocent 18 year old and was fortunate to be selected to the IU Soccer team, and coached by a great coaching staff. I distinctly remember the immense pride I had every time I put on the IU jersey. After many years, I had the privilege of returning to IU as a member of the coaching staff under Jerry Yeagley. We all have great admiration for the successful teams and national championships. I am grateful for being a part of those memorable years.

When I was appointed head coach of the IU Soccer program, my staff and I clearly understood the expectations and standards for IU Soccer. At no time during these six years, was it our desire to not meet these high standards that we associate with IU Soccer, as we ourselves are products of this great program. However, it is also fair to say, sometimes the criticisms were unfair and unwarranted, but today I can safely say, for each criticism, my staff and I replied with dignity and respect as we did not want to be embroiled in negative thoughts. In short, change in any organization or business is never easy and can be difficult for some to accept.

Let me be very clear, our goal every year at IU is to win a national championship and graduate our student athletes in a successful manner. During the past six years, we can be proud to have won one National Championship and several Big Ten Championships as well as advanced to the NCAA tournament each year. Our overall record was 86-32-19, which many universities would be proud of but we understand that success at IU is determined by the College Cup appearances. I am also very proud of my players’ success in the classroom.

This year we raised the standards in our scheduling with the hope of having a successful tournament run. We understood the criticism that would occur due to this scheduling, but felt optimistic in our program direction. As head coach of the program, I am proud of our team’s tournament run and felt we were on the verge of another College Cup appearance. I would like to go on record that I do not agree with my dismissal or that of my assistants. I am especially disturbed with the manner in which the evaluation of my program went down. The timing was truly unprofessional. I sincerely believe our student athletes deserve an apology for the manner in which this transition has all unfolded. I strongly feel as adults, we could have handled this sensitive situation in a much more dignified manner. However, at this time, I ask for all of us who are proudly part of the IU Soccer family (players, students, parents, alumni and fans), to collectively move forward during this transition time. This is not a time for emotion, nor finger pointing, or any type of negative energy, but rather in the interest of safeguarding our program’s national reputation, future aspirations, and current team, I respectfully ask for a stop to the negative behavior which has been circulating around campus. I am proud of the players and thank each and every one of them and their parents for being part of this season. If, for whatever reason, I have offended any player or parent, I apologize and ask for forgiveness. I wish every one of our players the very best next season, and especially those graduating into the real world, and I apologize for the difficult circumstance they were put in late Sunday evening and the last few days.

I am also very humbled and appreciative for the many letters, phone calls and e-mails from friends of IU Soccer during this time, and would like to again thank my wife and kids for their unconditional love and strength during a difficult time. Further, I owe much gratitude to the IU President, AD and athletic staff for allowing myself the opportunity to lead this celebrated program for the past six years. I have to commend my staff for the outstanding job they did this year and in the past. I would like to personally thank my assistants, Phil Presser and Aleksey Korol, for the outstanding job they did. They worked harder than any assistants in the program’s history to help this team reach for their goals. They are outstanding coaches and will be major assets to their future employers. Chay Cain and Mike Sanich were welcomed additions to the staff and did an incredible job with the goalkeepers. IU Soccer has been built around people like Cathy Narey, my secretary, and Joe Lueken, our trainer – hard working, honest people who are the best at what they do. I would also like to thank Tom Morris, our strength coach, and Melanie Schneider, from Sports Information, for their professionalism and a job well done.

To the players, past and present, you are IU Soccer and I am so proud of your efforts and commitment to the program. To future Hoosier stars, know that you will be joining the best soccer program in the country and that Indiana University is a soccer school.

I would like to close by reminding all concerned that during this transition time my intentions, and that of my staff, will be to assist the new incoming coaching staff and offer any support they may require from us. I am confident the administration will make an excellent choice to lead this prestigious program. It is with mixed emotions we are leaving Indiana University, but we thank you all for these wonderful years and the special memories IU Soccer has provided each of us. We ask all supporters of IU Soccer to take an emotional step back, and channel our thoughts to respectfully preserve the great tradition of IU Soccer.

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