Win Today: A Kevin Wilson Story

Kevin Wilson 1.jpg

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Sammy108)

Kevin Wilson rolled into Bloomington in 2010 hoping to change the culture within Indiana football.  From day one Wilson adopted the mantra of "Win Today" for the Hoosier football team.  Coach Wilson has worked his way up to become one of the more respected and successful offensive minds in college football.  He is heading into his third year at the helm in Bloomington in which he will further his goal of trying to mold the Hoosier football program using himself as a model.  

Wilson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina from 1984-1986.  After his time in Chapel Hill, the Carolina native had some bumps in the road, dropping down in level just to gain experience.  He coached at Winston-Salem State and even spent a year as a high school head coach.  From there gained a foothold in the college game as an offensive coordinator at North Carolina A&T.  In 1990 Coach Wilson would venture outside of the Mid-Atlantic region to join the Miami (OH) coaching staff, spending time as the offensive coordinator, offensive line, and quarterbacks coach.  Wilson spent nine years in Oxford, Ohio, known as “The Cradle of Coaches”, where he teamed up with then Miami (OH) head coach Randy Walker.

Randy Walker would ask Wilson to follow him to Northwestern when he was offered the head coaching position in 1999.  As the offensive coordinator at Northwestern he was responsible for some of the top ranked offenses in the Big Ten and even helped bring a conference title to Evanston in 2000.  As part of the impressive turnaround happening at Northwestern, Wilson drew the eye of major programs nationwide.  He decided to accept a position under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma where he would play the role of offensive coordinator for nine more seasons.  During his time in Norman, Wilson oversaw star pupils such was Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, and many other NFL draft picks.  In 2008, Wilson received the Broyles Award, an honor that goes to the top assistant coach in the nation.

In December of 2010, after an exhaustive search, Indiana University named Kevin Wilson their Head Football Coach.  From his opening press conference there was a sentiment that Wilson brought that seemed to be lacking before his arrival.  The 2011 season did not live up to the "Win Today" motto on the field, as Indiana went 1-11 and winless in the Big Ten.  On paper the 2011 season looks like an abject failure, but in reality, there was a weeding out process going on behind the scenes that set the tone for a total program makeover.  Wilson did one thing that his predecessor Bill Lynch was reluctant to do, and that was play freshman.  While this was aided by the departures of veterans that didn’t see eye-to-eye with the new coaches vision, it was nevertheless a refreshing development. 

Wilson has displayed a philosophy of playing the best player at a given position no matter his experience or status.  This thinking led to improvement throughout the 2012 season.  Though the 2012 Hoosiers finished the year with a 4-8 (2-6) record, it was a sizeable jump from where the team was just a year before.  In addition to the four victories, Indiana played four other games to within one possession.  It is rare, but there is reason to be optimistic for the future of the Indiana program.  The Hoosiers led the Big Ten in passing with 311 yards/game and were second in the conference in total offense at 442 yards/game despite starting quarterback Tre Roberson being lost to a knee injury after just 6 quarters of play.  The injury unwittingly opened the door for junior college transfer Cam Coffman and true freshman Nate Sudfeld to see ample playing time.  Coffman took full advantage of his time as the starter to show off his throwing ability in the Kevin Wilson run offense.  This turn of events has made it so that the Hoosiers have three legitimate contenders for the starting quarterback job heading into 2013, an example of the depth and experience that has been developed by Wilson will be a storyline to watch throughout the 2013 season.  While the results may not show it quite yet on in the standings, it looks as if the Hoosiers have found the right coach to lead this program into the future, who is also willing to roll the dice and "Win Today".