CHICAGO – Purdues Darrell Hazell has a struggle ahead of him as a first-year coach at a Big Ten program.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman knows it.
As a former coach at Toledo, Beckman made the jump from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten last season. Other current Big Ten coaches, including Brady Hoke of Michigan and Urban Meyer of Ohio State, have made stops in the MAC, as well.
Beckmans first attempt as a Big Ten head coach didnt go well. His team finished 2-10 and winless in the Big Ten.
It wasnt the jump to a premier conference that caused that slump, though. They were typical first-season struggles, he said.
Any first year – I dont care if youre going from being a defensive coordinator to being a head coach, Oklahoma State to the Mid-American – theres always things that youve got to get better at doing, said Beckman, who was with the Cowboys before heading to Toledo as a head coach. Look what Urbans done. Look what Brady Hokes done. Darrell Hazells part of that.
That doesnt mean Hazell is getting any help from former MAC coaches as he tries to make the transition. Hell have to learn the Big Ten as he goes – although like Beckman, he had a breadth of experience in the conference as an assistant before taking over at Purdue.
Regardless of where a coach goes or what conference hes in, Beckman said, there will be growing pains during that first season.
We didnt even have a great first year at Toledo, Beckman said. We did all right. We won five games. But it wasnt what we wanted to win.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilsons answers Thursday during Big Ten Media Day spread far and wide – on subjects such as Claritin and sound systems.
Wilson enjoyed plenty of jokes with media members, and he didnt keep it all football, either.
The third-year IU coach has learned a lighthearted approach to media days, and plenty of people around his table appreciated it.
Even if the answer turned to how best to play music at practices instead of personnel.
Everybodys got the golf cart – Michigan, you know what they used to do? he said with a smile and a horse voice. They had the old golf cart that was like Animal House – had a big speaker thing on the front of it. A guy named Dusty was riding the cart.