It's unclear what, if anything, is going on regarding Bill Lynch's future as IU's football coach. Earlier in the week, Tom Dienhart and other sources reported along these lines:
I hear Indiana is prepared to offer interim head coach Bill Lynch a contract of 3-5 years. Lynch has done a masterful job in the wake of Terry Hoeppner's death, guiding the Hoosiers to a 7-5 mark and a likely bowl appearance.
Meanwhile, the H-T, through its Hoosier Scoop blog, reports:
Despite some rumors to the contrary, sources close to the situation said today that IU officials have not contacted Bill Lynch this week to talk about a longer-term contract.
I would tend to consider the H-T more reliable than Dienhart on IU matters, but again, what Dienhart said has been flying around quite a bit. And, as I've mentioned on many occasions, Rick Greenspan's coaching searches don't leak much, if at all, so there wouldn't necessarily be any good news to be obtained from university sources (of course, the H-T source is "close to the situation," which could mean close to Lynch rather than close to the administration).
The same H-T blog post contains an interview with former IU coach Bill Mallory, who was Lynch's boss in the mid 1990s. Click through to the story for some Mallory quotes, but this gets to the essence:
Mallory, a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year who took IU to six bowl games in eight years during the mid-80s through early 90s, was excited by the Bucket win and the crowd Saturday. He said to hire a new coach - after having four head coaches in 11 years - would set the program back again just as it has momentum three years into the tenure of the current staff.
Earlier this week, former IU great Anthony Thompson announced his support of allowing Lynch to finish what Terry Hoeppner started. I discussed the comments of Harold Mauro, an IU Rose bowl alum who is a long-time athletic department official. And as I will discuss below, Terry Hutchens, the Indianapolis Star's IU beat writer, expressed his surprise that Lynch hasn't been hired already and his belief that Lynch definitely should be hired.
Certainly, public opinion should not be Greenspan's primary concern. Yet, it is becoming clear that if Greenspan does not retain Lynch, he will have some fences to mend with the team, the football alumni, Coach Mallory, and the media. Every coaching change has transition costs, and it is becoming clear that a transition away from Lynch might have more costs that the typical coaching change. That shouldn't be decisive, but it is a factor. Greenspan should make a move if he believes he can hire a candidate so clearly superior to Lynch that he can easily withstand the PR disaster and disgruntlement among current and former players. Does that coach exist? I don't know.
As for the Hutchens piece, like most of Terry's articles, there is plenty to criticize. For instance, Ball State's second fiddle status doesn't strike me as all that different from what every MAC school faces. But here' what really got me:
This isn't Mike Davis all over again. Not even close. Mike Davis had never been a college head coach. He wasn't an Indiana guy. He was in the right place at the right time, and he never looked completely comfortable on the IU sideline. All of that is different with Lynch.
Let's review some of the things Hutchens said back when Davis was actually the coach.
To mock IU fans who dared think of IU as an elite program:
Now, I know Indiana fans want to believe that the Hoosiers are still this great, desirable basketball mecca but do you really think that's the case? And more to the point, do you think it's the case to the point where the Hoosiers can beat out top prospects when the other final choice is Kansas, Duke, Connecticut or North Carolina?
Sometime when I have more time, I'll do a retrospective on all of the ridiculous rationalization that Terry Hutchens did for Mike Davis, his tireless efforts to dumb down IU fans' expectations, his twisting of statistics and other evidence. I'm not opposed to hiring Lynch, but being on the same side as Terry Hutchens on a coaching question is not a good place to be.
As I have said over and over, I don't think Bill Lynch is anything like Mike Davis. But it's strange to read Bob Kravitz and Terry Hutchens assuring us that this isn't a "Mike Davis situation." When Mike Davis was the coach, these guys bent over backwards to try to convince us that there was no "Mike Davis situation." Now that Davis is gone and IU has returned to its rightful place in the top 10, they talk about the Davis years as if they were detached observers rather than his chief enablers.