Four consecutive defeats in the storied Monon Bell Game will make any DePauw graduate long for better times. With that in mind, the Tiger athletic administration reached back for a bit of positive history and named former football coach Bill Lynch to return to the position on Thursday.
“The years ahead present an exciting opportunity and I can't wait to work with a great group of student-athletes, an outstanding athletics department and a supportive administration,” Lynch said in a release.
Lynch served as the DePauw coach in 2004 and the year was a memorable one. He led the Tigers to an 8-2 record and was named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year.
Lynch's one shot at leading DePauw in its rival game with Wabash, he helped the Tigers to a 14-7 victory in Crawfordsville.
“DePauw is a special place and the time I spent here was a highlight of my coaching career,” Lynch said.
Lynch had spent the past two years serving at his alma mater, Butler University, as associate athletic director. The 1977 Butler graduate spent the past 21 months leading the efforts of Butler's athletics development office, while working closely with Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier on strategy and solicitation of gifts to support the needs of the athletic department. Primary on his task list has been The Campaign For Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“We are happy for Bill as he returns to the sidelines, but are also sad to see him go,” Collier said. “He has done an excellent job in his leadership role at Butler and will do the same as DePauw's football coach.”
In December 2003, Lynch was named to replace longtime DePauw coach Nick Mourouzis. Lynch was the first football coach in SCAC history to earn Coach of the Year honor in his initial season.
"Through a comprehensive and thorough search process, which yielded a strong pool of candidates, we're excited to have someone with Bill's experience and passion to lead our football program," DePauw athletic director Stevie Baker-Watson said. “Bill is well known and respected in Indiana and the Midwest and understands the long, rich tradition of the DePauw football program.”
In January 2005, Lynch was named the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Indiana University where he joined longtime friend and coach Terry Hoeppner.
He served as the interim coach for two games during the 2006 season and was named as coach in June 2007, just days before coach Hoeppner passed away after battling cancer.
Lynch directed Indiana to a 7-6 record in 2007 and a berth to the Insight Bowl. The only head coach in Indiana history to guide his team to a bowl game in his first season; Lynch was just the fourth coach in the program's history to lead a team to a postseason game. Furthermore, the seven victories in his debut season were the second most for a first-year Hoosiers head coach.
In his four seasons in Bloomington, Lynch added a pair of “I's” to the Old Oaken Bucket chain, defeating Purdue in 2007 and 2010.
“Bill's character and record of success speaks for itself,” DePauw president Brian W. Casey said. “From his commitment to the academic success of his student-athletes to his career as one of Indiana's most respected coaches, I look forward to what his leadership will bring to Tiger football in the many years ahead.”
Lynch has coached on the collegiate level for 32 years in addition to one year on the staff of the United States Football League's Orlando Renegades. In his 18 seasons as a head coach (he also served in that capacity at both Ball State and Butler), Lynch's teams have accumulated a 100-97-3 overall record.
“Coach Lynch's experience and commitment to success were apparent during our meeting,” Tiger junior captain Patrick Keller said. “This is an important time for the DePauw football program and we can't wait to start working towards moving the program forward.”