IU ready to pay up for big-time football coach

September 7, 2010
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Indiana University Athletic Director Fred Glass sees a day when the school’s football and basketball coach make the same salary. And no, Tom Crean isn’t about to take a pay cut.

If you consider the history of IU, and the way the school has treated its honored basketball program and second-thought football team, that’s a mighty big statement.

In this week’s IBJ, Glass makes the relatively obvious observation that the school’s football program must be pumped up to increase the athletic department’s revenue. Glass thinks that’s essential for the Hoosiers to compete with the best of the Big Ten in all sports.

And when you look at the numbers, who can argue? Consider: Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State make more in one home football game than IU makes for an entire football season.

Glass details in the article what he intends to do about the problem (and what he already is doing). He’s got more going on at Memorial Stadium than a three-ring circus.

But Glass says he’s not trying to diminish the importance of winning on the gridiron in Bloomington.

“We’re not trying to create the Roman circus where people aren’t paying attention to what else is going on,” Glass said. “I realize winning is the most critical marketing element.”

So here’s the big question facing Glass; Why does basketball coach Tom Crean make more than $2 million annually, and football coach Bill Lynch make $250,000? Lynch makes $600,000 annually if you throw in his media deal, but he’s still the lowest paid Big Ten football coach.

So I asked Glass, where’s the commitment to football? Why the pay disparity? Especially in light of the revenue generation potential. A school can bring in a lot more money with a good football team than it can with a stellar basketball team. Four times as much isn’t a stretch.

Glass pointed out that he inherited Crean and Lynch—and their contracts. Fair point. Glass also says he likes his coaches and has no intention of making a change—not now anyway.

But Glass vowed to make the same commitment in attaining a high-quality football coach as IU has traditionally done in basketball. No matter what you thought about Mike Davis or Kelvin Sampson (and now Tom Crean), IU has always paid at the top of the market for its basketball coach. It must be pointed out here that Bob Knight never demanded top dollar, and never received it.

Glass’ commitment to football doesn’t mean Lynch is out the door. He still has two years on his contract including this one, and Glass is bent on giving him every opportunity to succeed.

Keeping the low-pay coach is certainly giving Glass time to raise revenue and otherwise get IU’s house in order. IU was one of 14 Division I athletic departments with Division I football programs to make money last year (along with Purdue). But not by a wide margin.

“We have a tight budget, and we have to wonder where the money would come from (to afford a top-notch football coach),” Glass said. “We will pay what we need to pay to get the best quality coach.”

Glass could be following Purdue’s lead.

Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke said he looks for potential, then when a coach proves he can put the Boilers’ football team toward the top of the Big Ten, he pays them accordingly.

“We like to bring [coaches] in and let them prove themselves,” Burke said. “If they produce, then we’ll consider paying them in the top quartile.”

Either way, Glass is headed toward a critical crossroads. Glass says he wants IU to compete in BCS Bowl Games. Those are big words. But big words are easy to profess. Coming through on the promise is the bigger trick.

In less than two years time, Glass is going to show us how much he really believes in Lynch. He’ll have to significantly increase his pay if he proves he can build IU’s program.

Either that, or let IU’s next national search for a big-time coach begin. In the case of the football program, it could be a new frontier.

  • Lynch
    Lowest paid Big 10 Coach - Lynch. As it should be, it's the worst program in the Big 10. Why should they fork out more taxpayer $$ for a big-time coach. So they can sitll suck with more expense?
    • Lynch
      The athletic dept support's itself via TV contracts, advertisements, and tix sales. Your tax dollars don't support it.
    • Lynch
      The athletic dept support's itself via TV contracts, advertisements, and tix sales. Your tax dollars don't support it.
    • Berwick guy worst poster on IBJ
      Berwick guy--- you constantly make comments that are ignorant, misinformed, or worse lies. Educate yourself as to how Indiana college coaches are paid...not ONE taxpayer dollar is used. It is all from revenue OR from donations to the IU Foundation. Tom Crean's $2 mil is the same way...not one taxpayer dollar is used.
      • Mike Leach
        If we struggle this year, HIRE MIKE LEACH!
        • Mike Leach
          If we struggle this year, HIRE MIKE LEACH!
        • IU

          Point not well made, nonetheless, the priorities in college sports are becoming too much like professional sports. It's always a balancing act. If so much of the $$ raised by the program weren't being used for overpaid coaching, those same $$ could be used to offset what taxpayers fund at the university level. It's not a lie, sir, it's merely pointing out the smoke and mirrors that goes on at the college level, making supporters think all is ok.

          Wow, I think I struck a nerve......
        • BerwickGuy

          Rick, I am always amazed we still have people in Indiana like BerwickGuy that far removed from knowledge. He probably uses a drill to open a can of soup.
        • Recruiting
          It's not about coaching compensation, it's about recruiting, and this starts with alumni. Even the best coach in the NCAA can't make a talent-challenged team great.

          If you think it's about coaching dollars, take a look at Chris Peterson's salary history. When Boise State won the Fiesta in 2007, he was making only $850k.
        • big-time coach needed
          Then why is IU paying Crean $2 million a year. Hiring a big-time coach shows a serious commitment to the football team at IU, something the school has never shown before. That gets recruits attention, even more than alumni support or fancy facilities. Going after a big-time coach is a risky move, but you have to take a risk to make a big gain.
          • Recruits
            Hahahaha...yeah, that's what an 18-yr old asks when looking at various college football programs. "Um...how much does the coach make?"

            You can't be serious. Look at at all the storied NCAA programs. It's an active alumni that starts it all. Heck, I was recruited by an alumnus before I even met the coach or knew his name. And I didn't query about his salary either.
          • I bet
            I bet the alum that recruited you knew who the coach was--and how much he made. That's how you get alums involved, you show a commitment from the institution. No commitment from the athletic department and university president, no commitment from the monied alums.
          • Salaries ~
            OK, so here are three of the top 30 coaches in terms of pay:
            Bobby Petrino - Arkansas - $2.9 million
            June Jones - SMU - $2.0 million
            Art Briles - Baylor - $1.8 million

            Pffft....now show me the victories. Heck, Ron Zook of Illinois makes almost $1.4 million, and they have a 12-28 conference record since he arrived.
          • Good Piece
            Good piece Tony. I do not have the facts in front of me but how many of the 14 profitable schools were from the Big Ten? My guess is at least 9 simply due to the shared revenue from the Big Ten Network. IU has invested in the program by adding seats, a state of the art weight room and scoreboard. I believe its a greater risk not to invest in the product on the field (coach) than it is to give that "Ah shucks just 12 plays away" current coach one more year while the facilities depreciate.

            Bowl Games = Party, Party, Party, and $$,$$, $$
          • Mike leach
            Mike leach puts me at mind of THE GENERAL.
          • June Jones
            June Jones, Todd Graham, and/or Mike Leach are exactly the types of guys we need to be looking for. They take struggling programs, and 180 them - quickly.

            Jones took Hawaii to a BCS game, and in year 2 on the hilltop, had SMU back in a bowl game for the first time since the 80's - killing Nevada. Saturday, SMU opened at Tech, a place they typically get rolled 59-2. Despite that, they were in the game until the last possession. They are a team on the rise, and will be bowling again.

            Evidence of Jones' impact at SMU? "Iron Skillet" (SMU-TCU) tics are going for $200 this year, and it ain't purely because of the Frogs.
          • Jones
            Hawaii in the BCS. Oh, you must be referring to the game where they were severely over matched by Georgia, which was itself over rated. A beat down of Nevada? Are you seriously pointing to this game as proof of a rising program?

            Most coaches who "180" a program are able to do it only because of lucking into a good player or two. Like RichRod did at WVU. This doesn't make them turnaround artists, as evidenced by UM's issues the past couple years.

            No, the SMU-TCU game is fetching those ticket prices precisely because of the Frogs and their top 10 ranking. I suspect you're an SMU grad and/or fan?
            • Jones
              Actually, no - I'm an Indiana grad.

              And you'd have to be blind to think that Jones hasn't done a fine job at SMU in a short amount of time. Their first bowl game since the 80's, in his second year...after taking Hawaii to a BCS game...and you're critical of him? Laughable.

              I'll trust my opinion on the TCU-SMU ticket sales specifics over yours, especially since TCU doesn't sell out it's own home games. The demand is coming from the SMU fanbase - a fanbase that before the Jones hire was a sad, and hopeless, as Indiana's currently is. You hire a guy with some skins on the wall, a compelling scheme, a history of winning at unexpected programs, and the whole feeling of the program changes.

              Which is why we should make a run at Leach if we go 6-6 or worse this year.

              The program would instantly become one to watch. We would put a scare in the "marquee programs", instead of being their default Homecoming game. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
            • Jones
              Not critical of him, just wondering if he's worth the $ he's paid. I imagine this is for the university to decide.
              I feel badly for IU's football team, but maybe it's simply not meant to be. Some colleges seemingly never excel at certain sports. Maybe instead of looking for a big-name/big $$ Div I coach, they should find a winner in the Div II bracket. It worked for the Buckeyes.

              I disagree on Leach, however. He's too one-dimensional (offense) and it's been proven over and over again that defense wins the B10 (+2) conference. May have been cool to see him coach Randel El though.
              • Jones and Leach
                I guess at SMU, it might be hard to determine if his salary is worth it with no conference network, or meager BCS prospects, but to their alumni, it's definately worth it.

                I'd be OK with the DII winner....if we could get a proven winner. Lot's of times those guys are close to the vest, conservative old school football guys that win at their schools purely based on talent - not on some out of the box scheme that turns a consistent loser into a winner.

                The guys I mentioned - Jones, Leach, Graham - have all taken bottem of the barrell programs, and turned them into winners, quickly. Some of them have actually done it twice now (Jones, Graham).

                Leach's D prowess may be questionable, but who cares. With the offense he would produce, and the QB's that would LOVE to play for him, our offense would constantly just be reloading. A decent DC would love to work for a team whose offense is consisitently ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. As with Jones, I just can't see how Leach's accomplishments, at an afterthought school, in the middle of nowhere - taking the kids passed over by Texas, A&M, and Oklahoma... and then beating those guys..isn't considered the ideal candidate for a place like Indiana. We NEED a mad scientist that is unpredictable. We can't win "conventional wars". We need to go guerilla, and IMO, Leach is the dream coach for doormats such as us. I'm just amazed we might have the opportunity to get him. If we pass that up, without even a look at him, that's pitiful.

                With our offense this year, and Leach's scheme in place, we would have been up 49-7 against Towson....at half.
                • Towson?
                  You had me until the last sentence. Towson? Who cares if you're up 100-0 at halftime against them? You've yet to win the conference in forever (sorry 'bout the sarcasm) and you're not going to do that with an undersized O-line as compared to UW, UM and OSU. No team with an inability to protect the QB is going to succeed for very long. I recall seeing IU line up against UM several years ago, and was struck by the size difference.

                  And by the way, I don't know of a BCS school that consistently ranks in the top 10 offensively. I guess I need to understand what "consistently" really means. Like over the span of 10 years? I really don't know of one that's done this. At most, I've seen 5-year streaks (the U, FSU, Neb, USC), but none longer than that.
                  • Tech offense

                    Didn't recognize Tech's offense as the most prolific ever since Leach got there? Look up the top passing seasons in NCAA D1 history. 4 of the top 10 are Tech QB's under Leach, and three are different QB's. 7 of the top 34.

                    All time yardage leaders

                    1. BJ Symons 5,833 2003
                    2. G Harrell 5,705 2007
                    7. G Harrell 5,111 2008
                    10.K Kingsbury 5,017 2002
                    12.S Cumbie 4,742 2004
                    18.G Harrell 4,555 2006
                    34.C Hodges 4,268 2005

                    Point is, they just reload QB's into the system, and they produced - every year. Went to bowls every year under Leach.

                    IU would be lucky to get him. If we have the money, and will spend (like Glass alludes), this is a perfect time to get him. We may never have this opportunity again.
                  • IU has basketaball?
                    IU even have a program anymore. People use to know every kid on IU. I have teenage son's and none of them or their friends where any IU clothing or could they same two players on IU's team. It's over and will never reach the heights it was before. They have a following that is a shadow of its former self
                  • http://waittilacommercial.com
                    If you're a football coach or just goofing off with friends, most people like to impress their peers with their athletic prowess. Even more than showing off your skills, sportsmen like to demonstrate neat football tricks they have picked up over the years. Believe it or not, most tricks have nothing at all to do with the sport itself.

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