Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson has resigned during his sixth season, as officially announced by Indiana Thursday evening. An IU source confirmed the news to SB Nation earlier on Thursday. Administration objected to multiple issues regarding player treatment, per the source.
During a press conference on Thursday night, IU athletic director Fred Glass made the news official, and stated that Wilson’s departure from the program was a “resignation” due to “philosophical differences in how to run a football team.”
"I appreciate Coach Wilson's many positive contributions to our football program," Glass said via an IU official release. "This has nothing to do with the performance of the football team, which I view as quite positive and very much heading in the right direction."
Glass added that no NCAA compliance issues are involved in the matters giving rise to Wilson's resignation.
Wilson was informed Thursday morning, and coaches on recruiting assignments were ordered back to Bloomington. Defensive coordinator Tom Allen has been named the head coach moving forward.
BREAKING: Tom Allen is Kevin Wilson's permanent replacement. #iufb— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) December 1, 2016
The source also referenced “repeated clashes with administration.” There were multiple reports on Thursday regarding Wilson’s treatment of his players, which were not addressed during Glass’ press conference.
“There’s no smoking gun or single precipitating event that led to where we are today. I think it’s really a realization by myself and Kevin that we’re not on the same page about what I view as key ways to how the program needs to be led.
“We don’t have any outstanding claims of medical issues, I have complete confidence that the medical care has been outstanding by our really terrific athletic training staff.
“I understand that the philosophical differences may be an unsatisfying meal full of empty calories, but I think from the institution’s perspective, and the football team’s perspective, and Kevin Wilson’s perspective and our ability to move forward to have an agreed, mutual separation based on his resignation is highly desirable, and frankly I’m pleased to get that accomplished today.”
Below are some of the reports that surfaced Thursday afternoon, none of which were specifically addressed by Glass.
Former IU player Laray Smith tells the IDS that Wilson forced players to play through injuries #iufb— Brody Miller (@byBrodyMiller) December 1, 2016
Former Indiana player told ESPN on Thursday that he & at least 5 other IU players interviewed about Wilson's treatment of players— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2016
Former IU player suffered concussion in practice b4 '15 season. His father said son was rushed back to workouts & symptoms went "haywire"— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2016
Newser from Mark Schlabach and myself is coming re: IU. But, this is going to feel like deja vu in Big Ten land.— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) December 1, 2016
“Deja vu” likely refers to Illinois’ 2015 firing of Tim Beckman for his handling of player injuries.
From a former IU quarterback who stepped away from football last week due to concerns over head injuries:
From a player who was a freshman during Wilson’s last year at Oklahoma:
Kevin Wilson once ripped my buckled helmet off my head, spit on my jersey, & punched me in chest during practice.— Gabe Ikard (@GabeIkard) December 1, 2016
But the guy could coach.
Here’s why this firing feels like a surprise.
Under Wilson, the Hoosiers have qualified for bowls two years in a row, the program’s first such streak since 1990 and 1991. Last winter, Wilson signed a six-year extension worth $15.3 million over the deal’s life. Indiana will compensate Wilson $542,000 in base salary.
Glass said Wilson will be paid $542,000 in base salary, equal to one year's base salary in payments over 12 months— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2016
IU would've owed remaining base salary, approx. $2.5 million. But mitigation clause said any new salary Wilson obtained would subtract from. https://t.co/A0691TPCet— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) December 1, 2016
The Hoosiers are 6-6 this year and slated to get a bowl bid on Sunday. The year was good by program standards, and it was close to being really good. Indiana missed out on a couple of upset bids against top-10 Penn State and Michigan, in a snow game in Ann Arbor.
Wilson took over at IU before the 2011 season. He’d previously been Bob Stoops’ offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, where he coached Adrian Peterson, Sam Bradford, and DeMarco Murray and helped get OU to the 2009 BCS Championship. Wilson’s 2008 offense in Norman scored 51 points per game, best in the sport.
At IU, he replaced Bill Lynch, after Lynch went 19-30 over four years. Wilson was 26-47 in his six years, but he went a great-for-Indiana 12-13 over the last two. His win-loss record is marred by a 1-11 debut in 2011 and three four- and five- wins seasons immediately afterward.
No Indiana coach has had consistent, long-term success since Bill Mallory got on a run of six bowls in eight years from 1986 to 1993. The Hoosiers are now in a brutal Big Ten East.
Indiana’s offense had been churning well, and while it declined this year, the defense got better to the point where Urban Meyer compared it favorably to Oklahoma’s.