Illinois v Purdue

Surprise! Hoops trumps football in state of Indiana coach salaries


When it comes to the state of Indiana and sports, the first thing that comes to mind is basketball in general and the movie “Hoosiers” specifically.  Not so unexpectedly, the state’s universities have put their hoops money where their mouths are.

The Indianapolis Star compiled a list of the 20 highest-paid public university coaches in the state of Indiana in 2013 and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, a pair of hoops coaches head that compilation.

According to the Star, Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean is the highest-paid in the state at $2.943 million last year.  Next up?  Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter at $2.079 million.

In fairness, the state’s two public, Power Five FBS coaches are at Nos. 3 and 4:  Purdue’s Darrell Hazell ($1.886 million) (pictured) and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson ($1.276 million).  Also in fairness, Wilson’s salary — along with that of his assistant coaches pool — is double that of his predecessor, Bill Lynch.

Conference-wise, Purdue and Indiana were Nos. 11 and 13, respectively, in football coaching pay in the Big Ten.

Of course, on the football side, there’s been little on-the-field justification for exorbitant salaries.

The Hoosiers have played in just one bowl game (2007 Insight Bowl) the past two decades; haven’t won more than eight games in a season since 1967; and have been above .500 just twice since going 8-4 in 1993.  Unbelievably, IU has never won 10 or more games in a season in the program’s 115-year history.

While not nearly as bad as their in-state brethren, the Boilermakers have seen their share of fair-to-middling finishes and, as last season attests, rock-bottom plummets.

Since playing in just its second-ever Rose Bowl following the 2000 season, Purdue has finished above .500 six times, at or below that mark seven times.  The 1-11 record last season in Hazell’s first season in West Lafayette was the worst ever in the 122 years the Boilermakers have competed in college football.

Are the stumbling and bumbling football efforts of the state’s two flagship public universities the result of its refusal to pay top-dollar for football coaches, or are the on-field results a justification for the reticence to pay top-dollar?  It’s a chicken-and-egg thing for two football programs that have laid more than its fair share of late.

One more little note.  Hazell and Wilson are quality football coaches, coaches who are capable of raising their respective programs above the pabulum of some of their predecessors as long as the financial resources are devoted to the effort.  The Big Ten Network money alone says you can, PU and IU.  Put the money back into winning, because you have quality, albeit underpaid, coaches currently leading your teams.

Dalvin Cook returns to practice for FSU

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles runs the ball against the South Florida Bulls in the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State defeated South Florida 34-14 as Cook rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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With each passing day, it appears Miami won’t be able to avoid one of the most talented and productive running backs in the country.

Thursday, Dalvin Cook returned to practice for the first time this week.  Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, and had spent the previous two days of practice riding a bicycle while the rest of his teammates prepped for the in-state and conference rivalry game against The U this Saturday.

The Palm Beach Post wrote that Cook showed “no signs” of the hamstring injury that had some worried about his availability in Week 6.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who said Wednesday he doesn’t “ever count Dalvin out” because of his healing ability, will meet with reporters later this evening and could address Cook’s status for the weekend then.  Or, he could play to keep the Hurricanes guessing, even as most assume the All-ACC back will be on the field.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th.

Gophers down eight starters for game vs. Boilermakers

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 03: at Ryan Field on October 3, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern defeated Minnesota 27-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It would be an understatement of significant proportions to say that the Minnesota football team is banged up.

How banged up?  On his radio show Thursday, head coach Jerry Kill, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, revealed his team will be down a whopping eight starters for Saturday’s game against Purdue.

Kill’s revelation comes one day after he confirmed a total of 20 players donned non-contact jerseys in practice earlier in the day.

The coach didn’t specifically identify which starters would be sidelined, with the Pioneer Press writing “[t]he known injuries to starters include safety Damarius Travis (hamstring), cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), tight end Lincoln Plsek (back) and tackle Ben Lauer (knee/hand).”

One injured starter who will play, Kill confirmed, is quarterback Mitch Leidner. While not detailing any specific injury, Kill said Wednesday that Leidner “hasn’t been healthy. He’s been beat up.”

Overall, though, the Gophers’ health, or lack thereof, is bordering on historic.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 32 years in coaching,” Kill said yesterday. “The toughest thing for me right now is all of these kids that work so hard, and when they get hurt, it kills me. … We are running out of people.”

Coming off an 8-5 season last year, the Gophers are struggling. While they stand at 3-2 after five games, the three wins came by a total of nine points over the likes of Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio. Their second loss — the first was by six to TCU in the opener — was a 27-0 shutout at the hands of Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last weekend.