Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Win Baby!!!

At this year's Big Ten Media day, Indiana Coach, Bill Lynch spoke of his new community outreach program in Bloomington. You see, Coach Lynch had decided that he was going to do something about the apathetic Hoosier fan base. So what did the coach do? He decided to visit all of the Fraternity and Sorority houses on campus to drum up student fan support. Per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg:

It's no secret that Indiana has struggled to generate fan support at times during the last 15 years, and often times the pregame tailgates outside Memorial Stadium are better attended than the actual games. You have to like Lynch's approach, especially since it would be hard to imagine many other BCS coaches pounding the pavement around campus for support.

Imagine you are a D1 ball coach and you have to literally beg for fans to come to games. I like the creativity, but I have a far more simpler thing to do. In the immortal words of Al Davis, "Just Win Baby!"

Nothing cures an apathetic fan base like sucess on the playing field. A perfect example of that, I have witnessed first hand, is Rutgers. For years Rutgers had been the doormat of eastern football. The best receruits in New Jersey went elsewhere. I remember going to WVU-Rutgers games in Piscataway and sitting in the WVU section. We, hillbillies, outnumbered the Scarlet Knight faithful in their own stadium. I always kind of felt sorry for them. Then things changed with the hiring of Greg Schiano.

Coach Schiano, in his first act as coach, invited all of the top recruits from New Jersey to his office and said stay here and build something. The kids loved it and it worked. Rutgers began winning. Rutgers went on to their first bowl games in years. Scarlet R's started appearing on cars. They actually sold out their season ticket allotment for the first time in the school's history. They are just finishing up a 10,000 seat expansion to their stadium. They started to win and the fans came out.

The story of Coach Lynch makes nice headlines, but, if you don't produce, the fans won't come. Coach Lynch's idea comes off as hokey and sort of desperate. I like Coach Lynch personally. I know he got a tough gig replacing Coach Terry Hoeppner who lost a battle with cancer. At the end of the day, though, you have to win. Maybe if he put that much energy into getting the kids on campus in the way of recruiting, instead the ones that already there, maybe, just maybe, Memorial stadium could be rocking....


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