By David Hughes
TERRE HAUTE — After conducting a nationwide search that has lasted more than two months, Indiana State is likely to introduce its new head football coach next week.
ISU director of athletics Ron Prettyman confirmed that his search is down to three finalists. The job became available in late September when Prettyman assigned previous coach Lou West to a different position within the university and coaxed the previously retired Dennis Raetz into finishing the season as interim coach.
“It’s getting very, very close,” said Prettyman, who preferred not to name names of the finalists.
Prettyman did say that all three are current assistant coaches. He estimated that he received 60-70 resumés from applicants.
“I’m really pleased with all three of the final candidates,” Prettyman continued. “I think any one of them could do a fine job. It’s going to take a lot of soul searching.”
Prettyman said a five-member selection committee, which included him, discussed the three finalists earlier this week. He added that the other four members acted in an advisory role and did not prioritize the candidates.
When Prettyman finalizes his decision, possibly this weekend, he’ll take his recommendation to Indiana State President Lloyd Benjamin next week. An announcement could follow soon after that.
Nobody is talking on the record about names of the finalists. I speculated a few weeks ago that former ISU players and assistant coaches might be considered and I think some were considered.
Whether any of them gets the job, well, we’ll find out soon.
Alvin Reynolds, an assistant with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, told me this week that he’s not in the running and that he’s focused on preparing his defensive backs for their matchup with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Then there’s Bobby Turner, an assistant with the NFL’s Denver Broncos. He reportedly took himself out of the picture after he initially expressed interest.
I was unable to reach Trent Miles, the running-backs coach at the University of Washington. Just my two cents, but with Miles’ years of experience at big-time universities (and with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers), this former Sycamore and former Terre Haute South Brave would make an excellent choice as ISU’s new coach, if he’s interested in returning to his hometown on a long-term basis.
Whoever gets the job will need a lot of energy. The Sycamores, who own a 14-game losing streak, finished the 2007 campaign 0-11 overall and 0-6 in the Gateway Football Conference.
• From Sycamore to champion — Recent former Indiana State football player Carl Berman, a speedy wide receiver, was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League this season.
That’s significant because Saskatchewan defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19 for the Grey Cup championship Sunday at Toronto.
The catch here is that Berman didn’t play a down for Saskatchewan because he suffered a high ankle sprain in practice soon after joining the team in September. The Roughriders ended up placing him on their injured-reserve list.
“I tried to come back [from the injury] too soon,” he told me this week. “I’m feeling a lot better now.”
Berman, who will receive a CFL championship ring, said he’ll report to the Roughriders’ camp in May as part of his two-year contract.
He also took time to reflect on the recent shooting death of Redskins safety Sean Taylor, whom he got to know during the preseason.
“I took a couple hits from him [in practice],” Berman said. “Even in practice, he played with a lot of intensity.”
Off the field, Berman appreciated Taylor’s advice.
“He gave me some pointers,” Berman mentioned. “He told me to hang in there. He was definitely a good guy.”
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.