AL HAMNIK: IU must part ways with underachieving Lynch

2010-11-23T22:00:00Z 2010-11-30T20:20:18Z AL HAMNIK: IU must part ways with underachieving LynchBy Al Hamnik Times Columnist
November 23, 2010 10:00 pm  • 

I wouldn't mind having Bill Lynch as a neighbor, a brother-in-law, a fishing buddy. He's a good man, an honest man.

But he should be fired as Indiana University's football coach after four seasons of futility and empty promises.

Lynch has lost several games he should've won. His players, though talented, can't hold the mouthpiece of blue-chippers at Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, even Northwestern.

Bill Lynch needs to go, yesterday.

Heading into Saturday's Old Oaken Bucket finale at Purdue, here's what Lynch has done for IU fans lately: a 4-7 record, five losses in a row and seven of eight overall, 12 straight losses in Big Ten play, and a defensive average of 34.3 points per game -- ranking 102nd out of 120 programs nationally.

We won't talk about that 83-20 humiliation by Wisconsin or missing a bowl bid for the third consecutive year. Why gang up?

Nice guy, Bill Lynch, but he's got to go.

During Tuesday's final coaches' teleconference, questions from national media were nonexistent, their indifference to IU football so obvious.

I asked Lynch what went wrong in this season of high hopes. His players continually said they'd do anything for him. OK. Win and save his job.

"We played a lot of good football teams," Lynch said. "Every team that beat us is a bowl-eligible team out of the Big Ten and the Big Ten is very, very good this year."

That's a cop out. You might want to try finishing off games.

"We certainly had great opportunities against Michigan and got beat in the last minute," he said. "We had a great opportunity against Northwestern and it came down to a made field goal and a missed field goal.

"We had a great opportunity against Iowa and we dropped the ball in the end zone. We were tied with Penn State going into the fourth quarter. So at some point, you got to realize we came up a play or two short against some really good football teams."

Good teams find ways to win those tight games. Good coaching provides the needed direction. On Lynch's watch, the Hoosiers have lacked both.

You can't blame injuries, which Lynch thankfully didn't, because every team has that. It comes down to execution, the emphasis throughout training camp. By now, the game should be instinctive.

Bill Lynch seems more concerned with his teams playing hard than winning. That's a problem.

"In the last two years, we've had 15 Big Ten games and in 10 of them, we had the lead or were within a score in the fourth quarter," he said. "And we only won one of 'em."

I wouldn't brag about that. It's not much of an endorsement.

The inability to put teams away rests on the coach's shoulders, if you ask most fans. Lynch isn't so sure.

"Every game, every situation, is different. It's about making plays," he said.

In that case, give the Bucket to Purdue and take Saturday off. Indiana hasn't won in West Lafayette since 1996, the very capable Bill Mallory's final season before getting fired.

But don't get me started on that one.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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