Saturday, June 16, 2007

Indiana's Difficult but Necessary Decision

If Indiana finally gets that 13th date on its schedule, it will have to do it without Terry Hoeppner. Three months of uncertainty ended Friday when the school announced that Hoeppner, above, had been hospitalized for reasons related to cancer and would not coach the team this fall. Assistant Bill Lynch, below left, was named interim coach, and athletic director Rick Greenspan said he would re-evaluate the coaching situation at the end of the season.

Although the move was not unexpected, it was not easy. Hoeppner, in two seasons as coach, is only 9-14, but the Hoosiers have shown marked improvement and were on the verge of making a postseason appearance last year.

Hoeppner's wife, Jane, addressed the team Friday morning. "She was strong, she really was," Lynch told the Indianapolis Star. "She gave a really appropriate message about life, and the challenges that go with it every day, and don't take anything for granted and give it your all every day. She's a lot like Terry. There was a little Terry in [the speech]."

Lynch, who has been Indiana's offensive coordinator the past two seasons, was interim coach for two games last season when Hoeppner was recovering from brain surgery. The Hoosiers lost both games.

Lynch previously was head coach at Ball State from 1995-2002 and won a Mid-American Conference title. Indiana recruits say they are united behind Lynch and pulling for Hoeppner's complete recovery.

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