Cameron named head coach at Miami

Former Indiana head coach Cam Cameron has been named the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Click here to read in ESPN’s story.

As a guy who didn’t observe Cameron’s tenure at Indiana — since I was young and in Pennsylvania — this makes me wonder: What went wrong? He’s obviously very highly thought of; the Dolphins interviewed 13 candidates and he was their final choice.

So, for those of you who lived through it, offer an explanation of why Cameron ultimately failed at his alma mater.

7 comments

  1. I posted this on another forum…

    I’ve been thinking about this ever since Cam started getting mentioned as a possible NFL head coach. If Cam does well in the NFL as a head coach, there are going to be some people who squirm a little at IU.

    Granted, the president and AD have both changed since Cam’s tenure here, but the question could well become “If he’s so successful in the NFL, why did IU stink when he was here?”

    I’ve long held that success at IU can certainly be better with the right head coach (Mallory, Bo McMillan), but that is not enough by itself. We’ve all discussed ad nauseam the failures of the administration (and students and alumni too) to support the football program. Winning at the college level in the long term is determined mostly by the institutional commitment to success, IMHO.

    Winning on game day is a function of coaching (partly) and the players you recruit (mostly). Of these two factors, I’d say (in college) the ratio is about 1 (coaching) to 3 (players). Recruiting is a function of a) the university’s commitment, vis-a-vis facilities b) the coach c) support by fans/alumni d) history (more or less in that order, IMO).

    You could point to Zook and Carr as examples of iffy game-day coaches helped enormously by powerhouse recruiting. In the NFL, the players are drafted, resulting in more parity in talent, so an NFL coach starts with a much more even field.

    In my opinion, we saw Cam’s offensive smarts while he was here. His undoing was the defense. The defensive shortcoming were partly Cam’s fault, but poor recruiting was a problem far beyond Cam’s control. How many times did IU do well in the early part of the game, only to falter in the 4th quarter? That is largely the result of a lack of quality depth (and in turn recruiting).

    I talked to an old-timer who said that depth has been the problem with so many IU teams, going back decades. At the start of the game, IU’s first squad would be competitive with the opponent’s first squad, but as the game wore on, they’d get tired, and there wouldn’t be good depth, so they’d have to stay in, and they wore down. So, it was nothing new with Cam’s teams.

    I’d love nothing more than for Cam to win big in the NFL, because that would show he wasn’t a football idiot (although, sure, he was inexperienced, so he made a number of mistakes, and probably learned from them), and it would remove the easy alibi that it was all Cam’s fault. It would also shoot down the theory that IU can do football on the cheap. That will shine a bright light on the shortcomings of IU administrators in the past, and pressure the current administration to increase the commitment to the football program.

    I hope the current set of people in the positions of power (read: trustees) finally “get it” and are making the investment in football. I also hope that our students and alumni soon get it too. I think we have the right coach. Now let’s hope we are finally figuring out how to solve the chicken-and-egg problem.

  2. Cam was a horrible choice to coach at Indiana and proof that the stupidity of the IU administration is boundless. He had no head coaching experience at the college level. At the very minimum he should have had significant success as a college football coach. His teams were pathetic.

    It’s difficult to support an IU administration that year-after-year makes stupid decisions. Let’s fire the most successful football coach in IU history (Bill Mallory) after you just gave him a 10 year extension!! Let’s hire another elitist idiot to run IU so that he can fire the most successful coach in Indiana and college basketball history. Don’t forget after IU fires a coach he isn’t the only one receiving payments for years and years! I know people who have seen the payments, it’s in the millions.

    Yet, we FANs pay out-the-butt for the idiots in charge of IU. $4.00 Cokes! A 32% increase in one year!! I have yet to see any improvement to warrant these kind of increases. I wasted a lot of money on season football tickets last year only to watch very minor improvement. Every decent team kicked our butts!

    I like Hoeppner, Sampson, Jack, but who’s to say the next IU President (idiot) doesn’t run these people off. You can be sure it will be an outsider that doesn’t give a rats-butt about Indiana University sports, the town of Bloomington, or the state of Indiana. There is a pattern here and just because we have a decent AD now doesn’t mean we will in the future.

  3. He would have been OK if IU would have let him work out the balance of his contract. He was a really good recruiter (especially on the offensive side). He just needed to learn how to run an effective defense. He would have been a great coach in a manner time. He is smart and knows football better than most. He is highly valued in the NFL by peers and owners. Both of which know more about football than the administration we had at the time.

  4. I have also heard things about his overall arrogance to people around the athletic department. I have also heard that he just wasn’t a people person, and in college coaching that is usually a pretty important part of it. Given all of this, he was still a great offensive mind, and that shows even moreso in the NFL. I also think his personality will fit much better in the professional realm of football, where his demeanor isn’t as important as other things.

  5. Cameron took over a program that was 1-15 in the Big Ten the two seasons prior to his arrival. His last season they were 4-4 in the Big Ten, with wins over all three primary rivals and a 63-32 victory at Wisconsin. If he would have played the non-conference gimmees like Mallory did, he would have gone to several bowl games also. His last year they played Kentucky (W), Utah (L by 2), and N.C. State in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

    This hire just shows that IU’s administration hasn’t been able to stay out of its own way when it comes to football. Until they finally make a commitment to the sport (which maybe they are starting to do, although the jury is still out) people understand that it goes much beyond coaching. The NFL teams didn’t even blink about his college record, because they know how bad the IU coaching job happens to be.

    We are all understandably very excited about what Coach Hoeppner ahs accomplished to this point. Remember, however, that Cam too had a very good second season and many national publications were writing about how IU was definitely a team on the rise. Obviously, it never happened. Of course, Coach Hoeppner’s going to be helped tremendously by not having to play Michigan and Ohio State in each of the next two years.

    As for Cameron not getting along with Indiana high school coaches, I think that is much overblown. They had grown accustomed to the way that Mallory treated them. He drank beer with them, socialized with them. Cameron didn’t even drink and I think many of the young high school coaches were jealous that the head coach at IU was 35-years-old. Cameron pretty much took the approach that until the high school coaches in Indiana started to show that they were going to send their top kids to Indiana, he was going to recruit wherever he felt he could get the best players. Loyalty is a two way street. The Indiana high school coaches would much rather send their players to Ohio State or Michigan than to Indiana.

    I’m happy with Coach Hoeppner, however, Cam’s problem was the most clueless campus and athletic adminisration in the history of college athletics. I sincerely hope he does an awesome job in Miami. Go Cam!

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