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Thursday, February 17, 2011
Kevin Wilson unfazed by staff departures

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Kevin Wilson has no hard feelings.

Wilson knows how it must look: four assistant coaches leaving his Indiana staff for other jobs days after they came aboard. But after living the assistant's life for decades and understanding how the coaching carousel moves, Wilson doesn't harbor any ill will toward those who bolted Bloomington.

Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson understands the offseason coaching carousel is part of the business side of college football.
"I don’t pigeonhole a guy on what he’s got to do," Wilson told ESPN.com on Thursday. "If they can pay [Auburn offensive coordinator] Gus Malzahn $1.3 million, if a guy can get a better deal, more power to him. With the timing, some things came in front of guys' laps that I don’t think they anticipated. I didn’t have a problem with any guy, I didn’t have a problem with any coach.

"That’s the business side of college football. It doesn’t look good maybe, but as an assistant football coach, you do what's best for you."

To recap the staff departures:
Indiana has filled most of the gaps, hiring two offensive coordinators (Kevin Johns and Rod Smith), a new defensive ends coach (Brett Diersen) and a new cornerbacks coach (Brandon Shelby). Wilson will hire his final full-time assistant coach (presumably for the running backs) in the near future.

There are two major periods of activity for coaching changes: following the season and after national signing day. Wilson made his hires following the season but several got swept away in the post-signing day flurry.

"I think we put together a great staff," Wilson said, "and the guys that left, it was unfortunate because they were great fits here. I thought we stole some good ones. We wanted them here. We encouraged them to be here. Unfortunately, when a guy hasn’t moved, hasn’t bought a house, it’s almost like he was a free agent. I think we maybe helped the stock of some young coaches and now they can quote say they were a Big Ten coach although they never coached in a Big Ten game.

"We kind of spiked the guys' stock a little. Maybe that hurt us, but at the same time I've got no ill will against any of those guys or any of those programs."

Wilson points out that his core group of hires -- co-defensive coordinators Mike Ekeler and Doug Mallory, and Johns -- has remained intact. Indiana has committed greater resources to football, which is evident in Wilson's contract (seven years, $8.4 million) and getting coaches like Johns and Ekeler away from good situations at Northwestern and Nebraska, respectively.

"We’ve been presented financially with a good situation where our salaries are going to be extremely competitive," Wilson said. "The bottom line is I don’t think we’re taking a backseat to anyone. These guys felt family wise, career wise, it’s better. We wish them well. But shoot, I think we have a heck of a gig going.

"There are some good people who want to be at Indiana."