Ex-Indiana Football Coach Denies Wrongdoing

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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)


At some point, Kevin Wilson was going to have to answer questions about his departure as Indiana's coach.

Wilson, Ohio State's new offensive coordinator, hadn't spoken publicly since his surprising "separation" -- Indiana athletic director Fred Glass's description -- on Dec. 1.

He finally did Thursday, denying allegations that he had been insensitive to injured players as Hoosiers coach. Those came to light in reports that Indiana had commissioned a local law firm to conduct two investigations into the matter.

"We wouldn't be here doing this job if those things were true," he said. "Anyone can have an opinion. I know the department over there looked into everything. I know this school's looked into everything. I know we're very, very comfortable with what we're doing, where we're at, and we're excited to move forward. The athletic director had outside counsel, found no evidence and that's why we're here."

Wilson was also accused of intimidating athletic trainers to get players on the field. Asked about that, he said that a couple of the Indiana trainers were the best he'd been around.

"Those guys handled all the decisions," Wilson said. "You get ridiculed when (star running back) Tevin Coleman would come out of a game. (All-America guard) Dan Feeney missed a bunch of them last year."

After highly successful tenures as offensive coordinator at Miami University, Northwestern and Oklahoma, Wilson took over Indiana in 2011. Wilson didn't have a winning season in six years, but his teams regularly gave top teams such as Ohio State fits.

"I don't think our team and program that was considered, I think, the worst program in college football (would have had) the kind of success it had if it didn't have the love, energy, commitment, unity," Wilson said. "That's why our team competed so well."

Wilson's offenses were credited for being creative and explosive. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has long been an admirer, and he jumped at the chance to hire Wilson to fix Ohio State's inconsistent offense after Wilson's past was vetted.

Meyer said Tuesday that Wilson is doing an "over the top" job.

"We're excited to have him," quarterback J.T. Barrett said. "We're not really changing a lot, but he's bringing some good ideas that we're incorporating."

Indiana had talented players, but not as many as Ohio State. Wilson had a record-breaking offense at Oklahoma with comparable talent that he has here.

"What you did in the past doesn't mean it's going to happen again," Wilson said. "To me it starts with the ability to run the ball and be physical. You have to take care of the ball. You've got to take care of the quarterback. You have to find ways to make big plays and you have to find ways to score. Then you have to do it week after week in what's getting to be probably the best (division) in college football."

Ohio State opens its season at Indiana. The Hoosiers questions are sure to arise again. But Wilson is ready to move on.

"The athletic department -- the athletic director and those guys -- made their decision," Wilson said. "From there, the comments were made. We just go back to how much we loved being there, loved our players (though we) didn't have a chance to kind of see those guys off."

He said he is proud of the way he and his staff recruited and developed Indiana players on and off the field.

"I got a message from a kid the other night who was going through a situation," Wilson said.

"He just said, 'Hey man, I appreciate everything you did. You made me tough as nails. I love ya.' You wish those guys well because they were your guys. But now we're here and you're blessed to be at one of the great programs with great players and great leadership."

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March 14, 2017


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