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Bill Mallory Fired as Indiana Football Coach

October 31, 1996

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ Bill Mallory, who briefly lifted Indiana from the depths of Big Ten football mediocrity, was fired on Thursday, ironically a victim of his own success.

The Hoosiers, who had only five winning seasons in almost 40 years before Mallory arrived, went to six bowl games and raised the hopes of their long-suffering fans.

Since 1993, however, Indiana has won only four games and currently has a 13-game losing streak in the Big Ten.

``The last two years we’ve encountered some tough times. These guys have worked hard, paid the price. We just haven’t done what we set out to do. I accept the responsibility,″ said Mallory, who had to fight back tears as he spoke at a news conference in Assembly Hall.

He will remain coach through the end of the season. A search already has begun for his replacement, athletic director Clarence Doninger said.

``Bill created some of his own problems,″ Doninger said. ``If you’ve studied Indiana football, we’ve always been in that lower third. Bill got us above that. A lot of our fan base said that’s not enough.

``So the person that comes in is not going to have the chaos Bill had when he was here,″ Doninger said.

After going 8-4 in 1993, Mallory was given a contract extension that runs through June 30, 1999. He will remain at Indiana at least that long, and possibly longer, in some other capacity, Doninger said.

Twice a Big Ten coach of the year, Mallory was let go as the Hoosiers continued their slide.

Doninger said he assessed the Indiana football program last year and gave Mallory a vote of confidence. He made another assessment at midseason this year and determined it was time to look for another coach.

Asked whether he determined Mallory would be unable to pull the Hoosiers out of their slump, Doninger said, ``That’s a good question and one we will all debate.

``Our program has been a great program,″ Doninger said. ``We had gone to another plateau and there is a downward momentum now that’s going to be hard to turn around.

``Sometimes, whether in athletics or business, it’s time for a change.″

The Hoosiers (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) have lost six straight games this year and are 4-15 over the past two years. Indiana lost to Michigan and Penn State the past two weeks after leading both games in the first half.

The Hoosiers are idle this week and finish the season at Michigan State, home against Ohio State and at Purdue.

``Everybody put a lot of time into it to make it as productive as possible. Some years we were able to achieve some success,″ Mallory said. ``This is a quality institution. I’ve established a lot of friends. I will always cherish that.

``The program ... there’s no reason why it can’t go on and get better. I know they’ll get support from the players who are returning. And the season’s not over. We have three games left and we’re going to do everything we can to make people proud.″

Last year’s 2-9 record was Indiana’s worst since Mallory’s first season in 1984, when the Hoosiers lost all 11 games.

Mallory, 61, has compiled a 67-76-3 record at Indiana. He was the Big Ten coach of the year in 1986 and 1987 when the Hoosiers went 6-6 and then 8-4, finishing in a second-place tie in the conference in 1987.

He previously coached at Miami (Ohio), Colorado and Northern Illinois, and he has an overall coaching record of 166-128-4.

Mallory came to Indiana in 1984 after Sam Wyche resigned to become coach of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. The Hoosiers lost their last five games in 1983 and stretched the losing streak to 16 games with Mallory’s winless season in 1984.

Indiana won four games in 1985, and continued to improve as Mallory recruited All-America running backs Anthony Thompson and Vaughn Dunbar. His best season was 8-3-1 in 1988, but all three losses were in the Big Ten as the Hoosiers finished fifth.

His 68 victories made him the winningest Indiana coach, but the 76 losses also was a record. He took the Hoosiers to bowl games after the 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1993 seasons, with victories over South Carolina in the 1988 Liberty Bowl and Baylor in the 1991 Copper Bowl.

Mallory’s three sons all followed him into coaching. Mike 32, is defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois; Doug, 30, is an assistant at Indiana; and Curt, 26, is linebackers coach at Ball State.

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