Wilson confirmed the loss of Ekeler with a Friday evening tweet:
“Mike Ekeler has accepted a job at Southern Cal. He is an excellent coach and we appreciate the contributions he made to our program.”
Ekeler was a passionate coach and a strong recruiter who didn't hesitate to accept responsibility for the Hoosiers' many defensive lapses the last two seasons. That was a common theme given Indiana ranked among the nation's worst defenses – mostly because of a lack of talent and experience.
Wilson hired Ekeler shortly after taking the Indiana job. Ekeler had been the Nebraska linebackers coach from 2008-2010. He will coach under Lane Kiffin at USC.
IU has increased its assistant coaching salary pool, so Wilson should be able to land a quality replacement. He tweeted that the Hoosiers will “take our time to find the best fit” from “what we know will be a strong pool of candidates.”
Ekeler is the second IU assistant coach to leave in the last month. Wilson had recently hired James Patton as defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator after Mark Hagen left for Texas A&M.
Doug Mallory remains defensive coordinator.