BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Jan. 13, 2016)– When Kevin Wilson arrived at Indiana, his slogan for his team was rather straight forward: “Win today.”
However, his first season hardly reflected that. The Hoosiers went an abysmal 1-11 in 2011.
“That first year was hard,” Coach Wilson said Wednesday afternoon, after signing a six-year contract extension with Indiana.
“It was hard because I’m not a really good liar and it was tough to be positive when the team wasn’t working right or as good as you wanted it to be.”
But gradually (emphasis on gradual), the improvement came.
“Since I’ve been here I think people thought we were either going to fail and not be here or we were going to win and not be here,” Wilson said. “All we wanted to do was build a program to match a great school.”
And after a one-win first season, that’s exactly what Kevin Wilson began to do.
The following year, in 2012, the Hoosiers won four games, two of those were conference wins.
The next year, in 2013– five wins.
2014 wasn’t as kind, as Indiana saw only one Big Ten victory. But the season that convinced us Kevin Wilson should stay?
Indiana went toe-to-toe with three ranked opponents, nearly pulling off the upset of #1, #9 and #14. Yes, I realize “nearly” doesn’t quite cut it in college football, but those “almost” wins would have never been possible in the previous four seasons.
In 2015, Indiana made their first bowl game appearance since 2007. The Hoosiers lost a close game to Duke at Yankee Stadium, but the fact that they were eligible to “go bowling” is enough of an accomplishment for an IU football fan base, who has been subject to losing season after losing season.
As Kevin Wilson embarks on a six-year extension with the team, he hopes that their appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl, has set a standard for his program.
“Competing is one thing but it needs to start being winning football,” Wilson said.
“We’ve made some strides but it’s not where it needs to be, but I think it means a lot that our administration has the confidence in us.”
Wilson fully understands the question surrounding this program in 2016: can they be truly competitive in the Big Ten? Not just “win a game or two” competitive…can they be a legitimate threat in the conference and get over the hump?
“It’ll be interesting to see, are we good enough to be consistent?” Coach Wilson questioned.
“To play that kind of competitive football, we’ve got to make some defensive strides to be a competitive team. I’m pleased for the stability but excited for the future and ready to roll.”
So there you have it IU football fans, your head coach is ready to roll, for at least the next six years.