Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
On Tuesday evening the Indiana Hoosiers announced that head strength and conditioning coach Mark Hill had left the program to take another job at a "Power-5" school. Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson had this to say in a release on the subject:
"Mark Hill has resigned and accepted another position with a Power Five program. We appreciate his service and his leadership. Mark was our first staff hire and he did an exceptional job. Under his direction, our strength and athleticism has improved drastically. We will conduct an extensive search and are confident we will find a strong replacement."
Hill came to the Hoosiers in 2011 after stints at Oklahoma (2000-03), Arizona (2004-06), and Minnesota (2007-10). Some of his accomplishments at Indiana include having 16 players drafted or invited to NFL training camps (not including the 2015 season).
So why is the departure of a coach who has never called a play such a big loss for the Hoosiers? In a 2010 article from Pat Forde on ESPN.com, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said this of his strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo.
"It's now become a leadership position. The strength and conditioning coordinator is on parallel with the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. Really, he brings a different perspective than the offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator or position coach. They sometimes only see what their units are doing. He sees the 105 [players on the roster] like I do as a head coach. I can talk to him about the whole program."
Strength coaches are usually also the only coaches that players can interact with in the offseason. These coaches are the head coach's eyes, ears, as well as mouth during the winter months
Needless to say the Hoosiers will be replacing one of their best coaches in a position, that some say, is the second most important to a football program. Indiana has to make finding the replacement to carry on the work that Coach Hill started a top priority as they head into a very important offseason.
It is unclear whether or not Wilson will go outside of the program or promote from within to fill the vacancy.