Before coaching an official in-season practice, before taking the field, heck, before even winning a game, first-year Indiana Hoosier head football coach has already won the hearts of many fans.
Let's face it. Before Wednesday's major announcement, how many folks actually thought the top QB in the class of 2012, Gunner Kiel (Columbus, IN), would commit to play for the Hoosiers.
Sure, they were on his shortlist, but after years and years of poor seasons and neglect from the top brass in the athletics department, it was expected that he would choose to go south to Alabama, or west to Oklahoma or Missouri, all three being powerhouses in major conferences, and yearly national title contenders.
But the news, which thanks to social media spread like wildfire, has re-ignited a passionate though small Hoosier football fanbase. Bloomington may be a basketball town, but things are beginning to change.
The first catalyst was on November 28, 2010, just a day after beating the rival Purdue Boilermakers, that Athletic Director Fred Glass made the difficult but correct decision to fire Bill Lynch. In his three years as full-time head coach, the Hoosiers won just three Big Ten games (all at home), and were constantly at the bottom of statistical charts, as well as the standings.
Fast-forward nine days later, and at a press conference from the Henke Hall of Champions, in the brand new North End Zone of Memorial Stadium, at Indiana University, Glass introduced Kevin Wilson, formerly offensive coordinator with the Oklahoma Sooners, as the next head coach. Along with a reported seven-year, $8.4 million contract, Wilson spoke of waiting for the right school to open up, and jumping at the opportunity to coach in the Big Ten.
"I was looking for the right place where we could win, where it would be a tremendous challenge and a place where my family could live," Wilson said at the press conference.
That was the second catalyst. And now, eight months after that, a massive shockwave has sent tremors through the college football landscape, alerting coaches, players and fans that the Indiana Hoosiers are on their way up, and the days of old where Indiana was a cellar dweller will soon be a thing of the past.
When Gunner Kiel finally suits up in the fall of 2012 for the Hoosiers, Indiana will be a team on the up. It's then going to be up to Kiel, Wilson and the rest of the squad to take the next step toward greatness.
Hey, if Barry Alvarez could turn around Wisconsin and make it into the powerhouse it is today, whats to say that it cant happen with Indiana?
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