Mon Dec 06 08:39pm EST
The diligent watchdogs in Bloomington and Norman spent the day tracking planes, pounding the pavement and putting two and two together: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will be named Indiana's new head coach on Tuesday, according to the Indianapolis Star, just nine days after the Hoosiers gave Bill Lynch the boot. A television station in Oklahoma is reporting Wilson is gone, as well.
Wilson's is one of those names that's repeatedly turned up in coaching searches over the last few years (most notably at Clemson in 2008), especially since he won the Broyles Award as the nation's best assistant in '08 for guiding the highest-scoring offense in college football history to the Big 12 title and the BCS Championship Game. The latest edition of the Sooner offense finished in the top 20 in total and scoring offense this year, averaging 36 points per game en route to another Big 12 championship – OU's sixth since Wilson joined the staff as offensive line coach in 2002.
He'll be returning to his roots in the Midwest, where he got his start under the late Randy Walker at Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern. Wilson was at the forefront of the spread revolution in Evanston, where the Wildcats unveiled the exotic read option in 2000, stunned Wisconsin and then Michigan in one of the seminal shootouts of the decade, led the Big Ten in total and scoring offense and finished with a share of the conference championship. Running back Damien Anderson led the nation that season with over 2,000 yards on the ground, and Bob Stoops soon came calling on Wilson to replace departed offensive line coach/coordinator Mark Mangino.
Now, the hard part. Indiana hasn't put together back-to-back winning seasons since 1993-94, hasn't finished in the AP poll since 1988 and hasn't so much as shared a Big Ten title since 1967. This is the school that decided it was better off by just going ahead and selling a conference home game and pocketing the difference. And as ugly as Lynch's 19-30 mark may look, it's still better than Indiana's overall winning percentage since World War II, collectively achieved by eleven consecutive head coaches who left Bloomington with sub-.500 tenures before him. Lynch's exit makes 12 straight losers in the job since Bo McMillin went 63-48-11 from 1934-47.
In other words, it's the sort of job that can either set your career back a decade or make you one of the hottest names in America if you turn out to be the one guy who actually held Hoosier fans' interest into basketball season. Lose like everyone else, and it's back to the mines as an assistant for the foreseeable future. Get them into a bowl game, and suddenly you're the next Dan Mullen, suitors at your feet.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.