Sad news from elsewhere in the Big Ten today, as Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner has died due to complications from brain cancer. In his two seasons with the Hoosiers, the team was 9-14, but last year it seemed like a program on its way back from the Big Ten cellar. They beat Michigan State, they beat Iowa, and they came within a single win of making their first bowl game since the '93 Copper Bowl. For the first time in a long time, IU had to be regarded as more than a functional bye. It was no secret that he'd already undergone treatment for a brain tumor, and Hoeppner had recently announced that he'd be missing the 2007 season, but I'd really hoped to see him back on the sidelines in '08. Our condolences go out to the Hoeppner family.
This marks the second straight season the Big Ten has lost one of its own. Almost exactly a year ago (June 29), Northwestern's Randy Walker suffered a fatal heart attack. Pat Fitzgerald took over, but the young team never could put anything together. It seemed like every step of the way they had to stop and mourn their lost coach, as other teams and the media wanted to honor Randy Walker. In one final connection, both men were also former head coaches at Miam of Ohio, Hoeppner succeeding Walker after the latter took the job at Northwestern. Along with Bo, that makes for three representatives of the Cradle of Coaches that have left us in the past year.