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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Hoosier fans contemplate new direction

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Former IU player and Bob Knight assistant Dan Dakich has taken over the reins from Kelvin Sampson, who stepped down Friday amid a cloud of NCAA allegations.

While many IU supporters agree Sampson needed to go, they harbor diverse opinions about what direction the program should go in the near future.

Rob Yates likes Dakich and sees him as a good fit.

“I’m excited about Dan getting the opportunity,” he explained. “As a former player and assistant, Dan knows the IU system. This is one of our best teams in years, and I hope the players can stay focused.”

Don Henderson sees the Hoosiers steering a different direction at the conclusion of the season.

“I liked Sampson,” he said. “I liked that he fielded a basketball team based on talent and athletic ability. It was exciting to watch.

“But he didn’t observe the rules governing proper contact with recruits. He had to go, and his loss leaves a big void in the program.

“The team needs to treat this like a time-out, get behind Dan and get back into the game. I hope the university finds the right coach. They need to make a national search for a proven winner and go out and hire that winner.”

Vince Blendowski also perceives Dakich as an interim coach, not the ultimate solution.

“I am not happy with the state of the program at IU,” he said. “I am disappointed Kelvin Sampson was hired under the conditions he left Oklahoma. I think the IU leadership at that time wanted to win at all costs.

“I watched the Northwestern game and really give Dakich a lot of credit. He gave all the credit to the kids and Kelvin, and took none himself. But I think the IU program needs to go completely outside. I would clean house at the end of the year and go after Bruce Pearl at Tennessee.”

Tom Harrell likes Dakich, but believes IU should launch an extensive search for a new head coach.

Jackie Mowry said the Hoosiers are on the road to recovery.

“We all need to heal from the disappointment of this situation,” she explained. “First and foremost, we need to bring the highest of integrity back to the program. We don’t have to pick one of the most ‘renowned’ coaches out there. I don’t want IU winning at all costs. I think IU should take its time in the decision process. There will be many who want to fix IU.”

“I remember watching IU play on WTTV Channel 4,” she explained. “Honestly, for me, those were the good ole’ days. IU needs to get back to the simplest of times in order for our program to move forward. We need a true Hoosier to step up and put this program back where it belongs. We need a coach that realizes and strongly believes in what Indiana University and Hoosier Hysteria are all about. We need someone who believes in it, embraces it, teaches it, and professes it to the team.”

Is Dakich that guy?

“I like Dan,” she said. “He is a true Hoosier.

“Only time will tell. I have no reservations about Dan. But, at this point, my main focus is keeping all of the team members present and eager to play. They deserve good things, especially D.J. White. They didn’t come to IU for all this controversy.”

Times-Mail Staff Writer Bob Bridge welcomes comments at (812) 277-7282 or by e-mail at bob@tmnews.com.

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