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The Fred Glass Era at IU: The Good, the Bad, and the Incomplete

Indiana Director of Athletics Fred Glass announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from his role at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.  His departure in May will end a more than eleven year run in charge of IU Athletics after he became the fifth person to hold the position over the course of eight years (Doninger, McNeely, Clapacs, Greenspan).

Below we take a look back at the best and worst moments of Glass’ tenure at Indiana, as well as the one overarching story that is still being written.

See also:  Watch Glass discuss decision to retire | IU coaches release statements on Glass

THE GOOD

1. Women’s basketball the best it has ever been.  To truly appreciate the story of the rising IU women’s basketball program, you have to go back to the very beginning of the Teri Moren era.  Curt Miller had the program trending in the right direction before leaving suddenly in 2014.  Glass hired Moren, who was able to retain a prized recruiting class that included eventual all-time leading scorer Tyra Buss.

Five years later Moren has the program in uncharted territory, ranked a best ever No. 12 in the country and viewed as one of the favorites in the Big Ten.

“Realizing the potential of women’s basketball at Indiana, I feel a special pride in her and connectivity, because of the way she came in,” Glass said yesterday.

2.  Cementing IU baseball at the next level.  Tracy Smith was hired before Glass arrived, but a series of subsequent hires and major facilities upgrades have firmly established IU baseball as the Big Ten’s best and a truly national program.  The Hoosier baseball program has reached the NCAA regional in six of the last seven years including the 2013 College World Series, and it saw ten players selected in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft alone.

3.  Maintaining the gold standards.  Glass cannot take credit for the rise of IU men’s soccer or the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs, but they all continued to flourish during his tenure.

Glass’ first hire at IU was no doubt his easiest.  Hiring Todd Yeagley to follow in the footsteps of his father Jerry as the head coach of the men’s soccer program was an obvious choice that was soon rewarded with a 2012 national championship.  The soccer program has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of Todd Yeagley’s ten seasons at the helm in Bloomington.

There have been no head coaches to hire for the swimming teams as Ray Looze has been going strong since 2002.  Indiana hired just its third ever diving coach in Drew Johansen in 2013. Both the men’s and women’s squads have been top ten programs in recent years, and both are trending favorably with Olympians such as Lilly King, Jessica Parratto, Cody Miller, Michael Hixon and Blake Pieroni leading the way.

4.  The Tom Allen hiring.  While it may be too soon to put this one firmly in the long-term successful category, when Indiana football achieves an eight win season, it is clearly worth noting.  The details of why Kevin Wilson “resigned” after reaching bowl eligibility for two straight seasons may never be fully told, and Glass’ decision to promote defensive coordinator Tom Allen wasn’t incredibly popular due to his lack of head coaching experience.  But Allen was able to hold the program together and now has people as optimistic as they have been since the Bill Mallory days.

Hiring Allen was a risky move by Glass, but one that now could ultimately go down as his best maneuver.  Interestingly enough, the hiring of Wilson was one of his best as well — at least until it wasn’t.

5.  Sneaky good hires.  They don’t receive as much attention, but Glass’ hiring of softball’s Shonda Stanton, volleyball’s Steve Aird, and wrestling’s Angel Escobedo all have the look of program changing moves.

6.  Facilities upgrades.  Prior to Glass’ arrival, IU Athletics was in many ways still stuck in the 1970’s.  While there is still much more to do just to keep up, there have been major advances over the last decade.  Bart Kaufman Field, Andy Mohr Field and Wilkinson Hall have been built, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been completely renovated, funding for Cook Hall was obtained, Memorial Stadium was fully enclosed with the South end zone project, the golf course was completely renovated, and Bill Armstrong Stadium is currently being renovated.

7.  Fiscally responsible / NCAA compliant.  His predecessor got IU Athletics operating under a balanced budget after years of mismanagement, and Glass has kept it that way, aided in large part by the cash cow Big Ten Network.  IU Athletics also had no meaningful NCAA violations during Glass’ tenure.

THE BAD

1. The Tom Crean buyout.  Announced when Indiana was the preseason No. 1 team leading into the 2012-13 season, the extension and relatively minor pay raise given to head coach Tom Crean felt reasonable.  But a major buyout clause that was as much as $12 million over the first three years of the new deal seemed unnecessary, became a hot-button topic, and ultimately seemed to hover over the direction of the program.

2. Football — names off the jerseys.  Pushed down from the athletic department, removing the names from the back of the football jerseys in 2018 was a wildly unpopular decision within the program that ultimately had to be reversed a year later.  Glass should have done more diligence here, but credit him for righting the wrong rather than being obstinate.

INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN

If you’ve come this far, it should be clear that we believe that the Glass era at Indiana was a success.

But that comes with one major, major footnote, and the label we ultimately apply to his tenure is therefore subject to change.

Whether fair or not, when you are the AD at Indiana you will ultimately be judged by the health of the men’s basketball program.

Glass inherited Tom Crean when he took the job in 2009, extended Crean in 2012, and then fired him in 2017.

The decision by Glass to hire former Dayton head coach Archie Miller in March of 2017 was his most high profile move, and the verdict on that choice is still out.

Miller compiled a 35-31 record over his first two seasons at IU, missing the NCAA Tournament both times.

But seasons three through five will ultimately define the Miller era at Indiana, and thus ultimately in many ways the Glass era as well.


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