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Radio jocks beware: Indiana’s new head coach does not appreciate jokes at Indiana’s expense

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Indiana football: It's bad. You know it. I know it. I'm pretty sure most Indiana fans know it. The ten consecutive head coaches who have left Bloomington with a losing record there certainly know it.

Indianapolis radio hosts Dominic Zaccagnini and Jack Trudeau, aka "Zakk and Jack," know it, too. Which is why Trudeau, a former Illinois quarterback who went on to a long career in the NFL, probably didn't think twice about making a light crack as the Indiana fight song played before an interview with first-year Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson earlier this week: "Of course, when I played Indiana, they didn't play this song very often, because I don't remember them even scoring against us. Ha ha." Because Indiana is kind of terrible, am I right?

Turns out there's one guy who doesn't know it: First year Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson, who immediately took things in a very awkward direction. Read Wilson's lines in the following transcript with the most impatience and disdain you can muster, and you might get some idea:{YSP:MORE}

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Zaccagnini: You sound like you've been doing some screaming at practice, coach. Are we yelling at the players already?

Wilson: No, we're yelling at media guys that don't have a clue. Anyway, what's happening?

Trudeau: You're not referring to us are you, coach?

Zaccagnini: No, let me ask, though, I gotta know —

Wilson: Y'all were referring to fight songs, I remember [Indiana] putting 61 on the Illini back when I was at Northwestern and they kind of stunk at the time, too. Anyway, I got some things to do, guys. What do you guys need?

Zaccagnini: Ho-ho! You already getting rid of us, coach? What's happening?

Wilson: Very much so. So what's happening?

Host: Did he say "very much so"?

Wilson. Yeah. I don't have time to listen to guys talk about fight songs and Indiana and no tradition. So, uh, the tradition of 2011 is we're working hard, getting ready to roll and looking forward to… Preseason's going a good way. Looking forward to Ball State, looking forward to Big Ten play. So how can I help you guys?

Zaccagnini: Here's how you can help us. Tell us how you're going to get IU into a bowl game. They haven't been in three straight years —

Wilson: I think the magic number's winning six games —

Zaccagnini: — I don't want to define your tradition so you do that.

Wilson: —and the key to doing that is scoring more points than the opposition, playing defense and [the] kicking game.

Host: You know, coach, I — you know, you've got a job to do and I appreciate that. You know, we were joking around simply because we're trying to talk about a program that's not been very good. And you understand that. So to come on here and have an attitude with us is not very fair, coach.

Wilson: [unintelligible] Every year is a different year. Every year is a different year. Every season is a different season. Past successes, past failures have nothing to do with the future. The young men are working pretty hard. … We look forward to the challenges. It's not climbing Mount Everest. I just don't like being [unintelligible] with guys cracking jokes about our program.

Take me not being at Indiana long, but I take a little pride in what we do. I take a little pride in winning at Northwestern, winning a Big Ten championship. Take a little pride in being at little Miami [Ohio] and beating North Carolina and Virginia Tech and Northwestern when they're ranked. Take a little pride in doing a good job up here. That's what we're looking forward to doing.

Trudeau: Coach, I don't appreciate your attitude, really. We do have a radio show and we do have to entertain and if you don't understand that, then… I'm a little disappointed in a school that needs to have some publicity, some good publicity go your way. I'm a little surprised at your attitude, coach.

Zaccagnini: I'm a little shocked too—

Wilson: I'm trying to take a little pride —

Zaccagnini: — I'm not sure how much in demand you are with the media.

Trudeau: I can have pride in my school, too. But you know what, there are time when there are other things going on in the world and you know, to come on our show and have an attitude, I'm shocked. I'm absolutely shocked.

Zaccagnini: Yeah, we're going to let you go coach…

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Listen to the entire interview here.

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Obviously, it wasn't the finest moment in ambassadorship in the name of a hard-luck program. The worst part: After his token "I never heard that fight song in my day" joke, Trudeau a) Became the first person in decades to reference the possibility of Indiana playing for a Big Ten championship, and b) Said he has two kids at Indiana and attends a lot of Hoosier games. That was before the interview.

After the interview? "I'm sad my kid's going there." And "If that's his attitude, and he was really honest with us there, if that's the way he's going to be, he's got no chance." And "He's in over his head." And "Anybody who heard him would go, 'That guy's an ass." And "I'm calling [Illinois coach] Ron Zook today, I'm gonna tell him to pound Indiana."

Well, maybe Wilson just had a bad day. It wouldn't be his first: The last time he was in the national news, he was apologizing for cursing at a pair of resident assistants at an IU dorm a few days after he was hired last December. Maybe he was inspired by Nick Saban. Maybe he's been possessed by the suffer-fools-lightly spirit of Generalissimo Bob Knight.

Just one small tip, coach: The no-nonsense routine may come across a little better next time if you actually, you know, have Saban and Knight's win-loss records behind you. Good luck with that.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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