Indiana hires Miami of Ohio's Hoeppner as football coach

Friday, December 17th 2004, 12:35 pm
By: News On 6

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ Indiana named Miami of Ohio's Terry Hoeppner as the new Hoosiers football coach on Friday, giving him the reigns of a Big Ten program that has suffered through 10 consecutive losing seasons.

Hoeppner, who was 48-23 in six seasons at Miami, said his goal was to have Indiana return to the Rose Bowl _ a trip the Hoosiers have not made since their only appearance in the 1968 game.

``Can we win here? There is no doubt about it,'' Hoeppner said. ``We're going to build a championship football team here. That is no joke.''

Miami had an 8-4 record this year, reaching the Mid-American Conference championship game, and will play Iowa State in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28. Hoeppner said he would coach Miami in the bowl game.

The Indiana job opened up Dec. 1 when Gerry DiNardo was fired after three seasons during which he went 8-27. DiNardo was fired after the Hoosiers ended a 3-8 season with a 63-24 loss to Purdue, their seventh loss in eight years in the Old Oaken Bucket game.

Indiana President Adam Herbert said he expected Hoeppner would ``reinvigorate'' a football program that has also seen a steep decline in attendance in recent seasons.

Hoeppner, 57, grew up in the northeastern Indiana town of Woodburn and coached high school football in Indiana at East Noble and Eastbrook before starting his college coaching career as defensive coordinator at Franklin College, from which he graduated in 1969.

He then was an assistant at Miami for 13 years before becoming the head coach in 1999.

His 2003 team, led by current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, finished with a 13-1 record and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.

Hoeppner is faced with trying to turn around an Indiana program that has not had a winning season since going 6-5 in 1994 _ the 11th of Bill Mallory's 13 seasons as coach.

Indiana's crowds averaged about 28,500 this season in 52,000-seat Memorial Stadium _ down from about 35,000 the year before and the 12th straight year attendance averaged less than 40,000.