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DePauw brings Bill Lynch back as head football coach

Friday, December 21, 2012

(Photo)
Bill Lynch
DePauw University announced on Thursday it has hired Bill Lynch as the next head football coach.

Lynch was previously the Tigers' head coach for the 2004 season and he will take over on Jan. 2, 2013.

"I wasn't really looking, but when the DePauw situation came up, that really got me thinking about it because I had such a great experience while I was there in 2004," Lynch told the Banner Graphic. "They want to be successful, and they want to be successful in the right way."

Lynch left DePauw with an 8-2 record in just one season as head coach to become offensive coordinator for Indiana University.

He was faced with the difficult task of replacing his good friend, Terry Hoeppner, as head coach of the Hoosiers when Hoep-pner passed away in June 2007.

Lynch spent four seasons as head coach at IU, reaching a bowl game in his first season and compiling a 19-30 record.

After being fired following the 2010 season, Lynch became the associate athletic director for development at his alma mater, Butler.

His duties included working closely with the football team there. He also has three sons who coach college football.

"I haven't been away from football, I just haven't been on the sideline coaching it," Lynch said. "I've got the same passion and energy that I always have."

DePauw athletic director Stevie Baker-Watson said Thursday that hiring Lynch was the completion of a lengthy process.

"It was something that we've really been working on since Coach Long was fired in September," Baker-Watson said. "The whole process I wanted to complete by the holidays."

Robby Long was fired on Sept. 16, just two weeks into the season, for failing to "take corrective actions in a timely manner" regarding administrative issues under his control.

Long had been DePauw's head coach since August 2009.

The Tigers have had five different coaches since Nick Mourouzis retired after the 2003 season, with Long's three-plus years being the longest span.

Choosing Lynch among the candidates seems to signal that DePauw was looking for a long-term commitment more than an up-and-coming hire.

"He was looking for a landing spot, like I was when I came here," Mourouzis said. "This will give us stability."

Lynch, who still owns a house in Putnam County, said DePauw will likely be the final stop of his coaching career.

"We've been very fortunate, my wife and I, to be able to raise our kids in Indiana," Lynch said. "To be able to end it here is really great for us from a family situation."

DPU sorted through more than 130 applicants, narrowing the field to 40 in the top category, Baker-Watson said.

Ten received phone interviews, and the top four -- Lynch, Monmouth College head coach Steve Bell, DPU graduate and Army running backs coach Tucker Waugh and Dartmouth college special teams coordinator Chris Wilkerson -- were brought in last week for interviews.

Baker-Watson said she has received a tremendous amount of feedback from alumni and community members during the coaching search.

Although the school initially planned to keep the hiring process in-house, she decided it would be best to open it up to a hiring firm to keep the search more transparent.

As the field of candidates narrowed, Baker-Watson said she discussed candidates with people close to the DePauw program that were familiar with them.

After announcing the final four, it was a chance for those people to "hit send, again," Baker-Watson said, and share their final thoughts.

This included Mour-ouzis, who sat in on the final interviews.

"He's the best (candidate) for the situation that we have right now," Mourouzis said. "He's proven leadership. He knows all the coaches and has great respect for all the high school coaches in Indiana and the Midwest.

"Success in Division III all comes down to recruiting. I think that he can recruit a lot of good athletes for us here at DePauw."

Baker-Watson added that although the search came as a result of what she called "terrible circumstances" -- firing the previous head coach in the middle of the season -- it was a good opportunity to get feedback from alumni and reset the football program.

DePauw finished the 2012 season with a 2-8 record, losing the Monon Bell Classic for the fourth straight year.

Defensive coordinator Scott Srnka was named interim head coach after Long was let go, but his future and the rest of the staff is uncertain.

Baker-Watson said she would leave that up to Lynch.

"I knew I needed to hire a leader of the program," she said, "and the rest would work itself out."

Getting the coaching staff settled is priorty No. 1 for Lynch when he starts next month.

"I look forward to meeting them," he said. "The first thing is getting to know the staff that are there, and then it's very important to meet and get to know the players that are in the program right now."

DPU students began their winter break last Friday and will not return to class until Jan. 28, giving Lynch nearly a month on the job to recruit current and future players.

He conceded that he hasn't had a chance to watch the team play in recent years, but he is looking to forward to getting started with recruiting, and that starts with the players he has on campus.

"That's what this time of year is all about," Lynch said. "It's a process. First, getting to know (players) in a one-on-one basis and then you start to develop relationships.

"That's what starts building a team."

Lynch has a 100-97-3 career record as a head coach.

Besides DPU and IU, he has also been the head coach of Ball State University (1995-2002) and his alma mater, Butler (1985-1989).

Ball State was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for outstanding graduation rates from 2000-02.

Lynch has also been an assistant coach at Northern Illinois and the United States Foot-ball League's Orlando Renegades.



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