Checking in with Indiana's Fred Glass, Part II
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here's the second half of my interview with Indiana's new athletic director, Fred Glass. Part I is here.
You obviously have a lot of sports to oversee. Where do you put football in your list of priorities?
Fred Glass: I guess right at the top. Like in all programs, you've really got to look at the revenue sports, basketball and football. And at Indiana, I'm not telling any secrets when I say that basketball has been the franchise and the flagship and we've got to pay attention to our strength. So basketball is very high on our list, but I'd say football is right there as well, and [it] provides the greatest opportunity for us. We aren't selling out that stadium, and trying to compete in the Big Ten without a successful football program is like trying to fight with both hands tied behind your back because obviously, it doesn't create the resources that we need to be successful in our 23 other sports. So football is right there with basketball. They're the two top priorities because of their importance to the overall program. That's not to disrespect the other 22 sports. It's just a reality for them to be successful, football and basketball have to be successful.
You mentioned the tragedy with coach [Terry] Hoeppner passing away, but it seemed like you built some momentum with the bowl season in '07. Did you feel the momentum was lost last fall, and is this coming year crucial, given the stadium renovations, to get that momentum back?
FG: Yeah, we absolutely lost momentum. Everybody from coach Lynch on down would say it was disappointing we didn't build on a really emotional year. I don't think [the 2007] team has gotten the appreciation it ought to, the circumstances they fought through and the way they stuck together. This year was very disappointing. It's not what we expect, it's not what coach [Bill] Lynch expects. Coach Lynch is looking for improvement, and so am I.
What's your relationship like with coach Lynch? He's been around the state for a long time and now several years at Indiana. How well do you know him?
FG: We didn't have a personal relationship until I became his AD, but he grew up in Indianapolis and so did I. He was a Catholic school kid and so was I. He was a star in Catholic football and basketball circles when I was a kid. He went to Butler and starred there. I grew up in the shadows of Hinkle Fieldhouse, actually was a ball boy over there and a close follower of Butler athletics. So I have a great deal of respect for coach Lynch's abilities, the kind of person he is. I'm excited that he's at Indiana and I'm really looking forward to working with him.
You came out and publicly supported him before you officially took the job. There were some questions about his job. Why did you feel the need to speak out and reiterate your support?
FG: It truly was a recruiting issue because it was a real awkward time. I was the athletic director designate, but Rick Greenspan was staying in till the end of the calendar year. There were these rumblings because of the disappointing season that there might be a coaching change or something like that, and that might have been used as a negative recruiting tool by some of our competitors. And so even though it was awkward that I wasn't yet the athletic director, I really thought it was important to get out in front of that because I thought I was really the only person who could speak definitively about it. Rick was a lame duck, and if the president [of the university] said something about it, people might say, 'Well, that's him saying it. What happens when the new AD gets in?' So I thought it was really important to clear the air early so there was no misunderstanding that coach Lynch was going to be the football coach at Indiana.
Bill didn't really change his coaching staff this year while a lot of other coaches did. Does that go along with the continuity aspect you mentioned needs to be in place at Indiana?FG: I'm going to leave that in coach Lynch's department because I think it's very valuable to have the same head coach and the same system. I'm not a micro manager by nature, and I certainly would be out of my element because I wasn't a D-1 football player or a D-1 coach or whatever. It's coach Lynch's team. He owns it. And his judgment about whether he wants to keep people in place or do something else is really his decision. I look to him to make those choices."
And just lastly, what are your expectations for 2009, for Bill and the team and everything around the program?
FG: I'm real optimistic. Very few things change last year, and we're bowl eligible, so there's some things to build upon. I think coach Lynch is excited. There's a lot of enthusiasm around the recruiting class and that sort of thing. So I don't have any kind of litmus test of, 'This many games will be a success and this many games will not be successful,' because there's a lot of ways to measure performance. But ultimately, it's going to be win-loss [record] and we're looking to be better there.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
1:52 3rd Qtr Minnesota 24 Illinois 21 5:14 3rd Qtr Maryland 0 Wisconsin 31 2:34 3rd Qtr Rutgers 10 16 Nebraska 35 3:30 PM ET Michigan 8 Michigan State 8:00 PM ET 13 Ohio State Penn State