Assistant Lynch to replace Hoeppner for 2007 season

Updated: June 15, 2007, 4:57 PM ET
Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana assistant Bill Lynch will replace football coach Terry Hoeppner, who is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments after two brain surgeries in 18 months.

The 59-year-old Hoeppner is on his third medical leave from the team. His latest absence, which began in mid-March, is the longest in his two seasons with the Hoosiers.

Neither Hoeppner nor Indiana had disclosed the nature of his illness. When asked Friday if Hoeppner has cancer, athletic director Rick Greenspan said, "I won't say that, but I think it's apparent by the definition."

Our family is confident that Bill and the staff will do a great job this season. These comments would be incomplete without Hep's ultimate statement to all of you -- Don't quit.

Jane Hoeppner

Hoeppner was admitted to the hospital several days ago and was expected to return home later Friday, Greenspan said. He has not been seen publicly since late February, and Indiana officials issued a statement March 18 saying he was taking a temporary leave.

Lynch, who is offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, filled in for Hoeppner during his absences.

"I think what Terry did for this team and this university was give a belief to the team and the state that these kids could win," Lynch said. "That's one vision we want to carry on."

Hoeppner, who was 48-25 in six years at Miami, was hired by Indiana after the 2004 season and posted a 9-14 record with the Hoosiers. In December, Hoeppner signed a two-year contract extension through June 2011.

Hoeppner's wife, Jane, said he has been receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments for several months.

"This battle requires us to focus our energy and attention on aiding his recovery in every way we can," she said in a statement. "Our family is confident that Bill and the staff will do a great job this season. These comments would be incomplete without Hep's ultimate statement to all of you -- Don't quit."

Lynch had an 81-67-3 record in 14 seasons as head coach at Ball State, Butler and DePauw and helped coach the Hoosiers quarterbacks in 1993 and 1994. He returned to Indiana after Hoeppner was hired.

"The continuation of his medical leave gives Bill the opportunity to coach, and Terry the chance to come back when he's ready," Greenspan said.

Players were told of the coaching change Friday morning in a meeting with Jane Hoeppner.

"Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with coach Hep and his family," receiver James Hardy said. "We are focused on having the best season we can possibly have, and coach Lynch will continue to bring out the best in us."

There is a disability clause in Hoeppner's contract that allows the university to void the deal if a doctor rules he is permanently disabled. Greenspan has not said whether the university would exercise that provision.

The Hoosiers open the season Sept. 1 at home against Indiana State.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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