Hoeppner hopes to return to sidelines this fall

Updated: May 8, 2007, 9:10 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana football coach Terry Hoeppner is still undergoing medical treatment and remains intent on returning to the sideline.

Athletic department officials released a short statement from Hoeppner on Tuesday, the first update on his health since an announcement nearly two months ago that he would not coach spring practice to recuperate from brain surgery.

"I continue to receive medical treatment and remain inspired to return to coaching when my health permits," Hoeppner said. "I love Indiana University and Indiana football and will make decisions in the best interest of the program, as I have always attempted to do."

The statement gave no details on his treatment, health or when he might rejoin the team.

Hoeppner had brain surgery twice in a 10-month span and has now left the team three times since December 2005.

His last major public appearance was in late February when he spoke during an NCAA luncheon in Indianapolis. He also attended a news conference earlier that month to announce Indiana's newest recruits although the assistant coaches answered most of the questions and provided most of the details.

Hoeppner left Miami (Ohio) in December 2004 to return to Indiana, his home state, and take over a Hoosiers program that last went to a bowl game in 1993.

A year later, he had a tumor removed from his right temple and last September he had a second operation on the right side of his head. He then left the team for two weeks but watched both games from the press box before rejoining the team. Hoeppner later implied follow-up tests showed no recurrence of the tumor, but that doctors had removed only scar tissue.

Hoeppner is 9-14 in his two seasons at Indiana, and he has reinvigorated enthusiasm in the program by reaching out to students and fans. In December, Hoeppner signed a two-year contract extension that would keep him in Bloomington through June 2012.

But last month, Hoeppner announced he was skipping spring practice to regain his strength and energy, and when the Hoosiers played their annual crimson-and-cream game on April 14, he did not attend.

Assistant Bill Lynch filled in as interim coach during each of Hoeppner's absences.

Indiana also has two football camps scheduled in mid-June, but there has been no announcement regarding whether Hoeppner would run them.

Athletic director Rick Greenspan has not provided many updates on Hoeppner's condition, citing both privacy concerns.

In Tuesday's statement, Hoeppner again asked the media to respect his privacy, and Greenspan said he hoped Hoeppner would recover quickly.

"Hep's health is of the utmost interest and concern to us," Greenspan said. "We'll continue to provide him with all of the support that we can with hopeful anticipation that he'll get well as quickly as possible."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press