Hoosier homecoming for Hagen

Mark Hagen clearly is not averse to Hoosier homecomings.

Hagen, the former standout Indiana linebacker who came back to Bloomington in 2011 as part of new IU football coach Kevin Wilson’s staff, now rejoins that staff to mentor the defensive line after three seasons at Texas A&M.

Though clearly a happy man Wednesday when the move was announced, it wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Hagen that his first comment when contacted was about the man he’ll replace, former IU teammate Larry McDaniel.

“First, I want to say Larry McDaniel is a former IU player, too, a teammate of mine, and a good man,” Hagen said. “But one thing I’ve learned is that (coaching) is a business much more today than ever.”

But Hagen seemed fired up to rejoin an Indiana program he feels is heading in the right direction, and excited about coaching alongside new IU defensive coordinator Tom Allen.

“I think the world of Tom Allen,” Hagen said. “He’s the right guy. I told Kevin (Wilson) that a couple of weeks ago when Tom was hired.

“IU is a great place and there is no doubt that that the football program is heading in the right direction. We have to tighten some things up in some areas and I want to be able to come in and help make a difference.”
Hagen said he kept tabs on the Hoosiers while with A&M and liked the progress he saw.

“I kept a close eye on things from down here,” Hagen said from College Station. “Last year’s record (6-7) looks average, at best, but it was anything else. There were a lot of close losses against top teams.

“I guarantee that if you talk to (Ohio State’s) Urban Meyer, (Michigan’s) Jim Harbaugh, (Michigan State’s) Mark Dantonio, (Iowa’s) Kirk Ferentz, they would tell you they had all they could handle those afternoons they played Indiana. I think it’s pretty obvious Coach Wilson is doing the job.”

Wilson obviously believes Hagen will do the job, too, having first-hand knowledge of how Hagen coaches and recruits.

“Mark brings a wealth of experience coaching the defensive line,” Wilson said in the IU press release announcing Hagen’s return. “He has competed, coached and recruited at the highest levels in the Big Ten and the SEC.

“We are very excited he is back with us and we look forward to getting to work.”

Hagen, Carmel native, is anxious to work with Allen, New Castle native, back on Hoosier soil. While having coached for 20 years (16 in the Big Ten or SEC ranks) and in 10 bowl games, Hagen has primarily guided four-man defensive fronts even if he has never technically coached in the sort of 4-2-5 set Allen employs.

“With any defensive scheme, you’ve got to have people up front who make an impact,” Hagen said. “If you’re not getting it done up front, (opposing ball-carrier are) getting to the second level, creating seams and vertical creases in the defense for big gains.

“You have to get everybody up front playing aggressively and well and I’m looking forward to developing that sort of culture and level of play. I’ve coached four-man fronts most of my career, but I’m also anxious to learn about Tom’s 4-2-5. It’s great to come in during the winter time, and I’ll be in first of next week, to get things going heading toward spring practice.”


  1. Back home again in Indiana
    And it seems that I can see
    The gleaming candlelight
    Still burning bright
    Through the sycamores for me

  2. I am glad to hear they filled the DL job so quickly and even more thrilled that Mark Hagen is back. I hope his ties to Texas and SEC recruiting helps bring in better recruits in the future. With Allen’s experience and Hagen’s experience in the South I could bring real dividends in recruiting.

  3. Haven’t been this excited about the direction of the IU Defense for a long, long time! Great hire…

  4. Higgi, I am excited about the defense in 2016 based on the new DC and DL coach. I know the way Coach Allen coaches so I know the defense will be much more fired up in 2016. Even better is the relationships Coach Allen and Coach Hagen have built in SEC territory and Texas along with Indiana connections should bring in better defensive players.

    It will be fun to see how much the defense improves this year knowing that future IU defenses will be even better. IU leads the B1G in offense and points, tie it in with a solid defense and excellent defense in the future and IU can develop into one of the better teams in the country. It will be great to see IU in the top 15 or higher sometime in the next few years. Fans have been waiting for along time to have IU in the mix of the top teams in the country and it may happen before we know it.

    The defense could be much better than people think as athletically IU has players that match up with NW players and they have an outstanding defense. Right now I don’t see athletes that match up with UM, OSU, MSU, or PSU to match those defenses yet but I do think we could be as good as NW’s 2015 defense with better coaching. To say I will be disappointed if things are much better this year will be an understatement. I had hopes with coach Knorr but worried that he was too quiet and couldn’t fire up the defense. One last thing that gives me hope is last year’s D played great in the 3rd quarter which indicated to me the talent they had and they should have played that way all game. Add in the talent added for this coming year to the DBs and the defense could play all game like they did in the 3rd quarter in 2015.
    I try to caution myself that the defense has disappointed us many times in the past but it is hard to overlook the positive changes in coaching and recruits and not be optimistic.

    There are some signs IU could move up in the conference. One is MSU was down this year despite a good record so I wonder if their string will continue. PSU definitely isn’t getting better and with the QB gone add in an OL that hasn’t improved may allow IU to move ahead of them. With the close games against OSU and UM there is a chance to win one or both games especially the OSU game with all their players they lost this year. I know it would take a magical season for IU to do all this but with the bad breaks the past couple of years it is time for the Hoosiers to catch a good run during the season and have a great year; maybe 2016 could be that year [I am not planning on that kind of year but I can hope]. Go Hoosiers in 2016 Yes I know I am optimistic but I can see how things could break the wrong way to sabotage 2016 as it did in 2014 and 2015.

  5. I was just reading the Indy Star article on Coach Hagen coming back. They pointed out that several in state players IE Spriggs and Dutra were two of the examples they gave. I wondered if the issue with Coach McDaniel was the recruiting aspect and it may be why Hagen was hired. As I pointed out in a previous post Coach Allen and Hagen give IU coaches with connections with players and schools in SEC area along with Texas. We have seen good results from Florida due to Coach Frey so I hope we start seeing excellent talent from the South coming into IU starting with next year’s recruiting class. From the article on Coach Hagen was this “Rivals.com has twice recognized Hagen as one of the top recruiters in the country”. It will be good to have better recruiters on the defensive side which gives fans more reason to be optimistic about the future of IU Football. Just imagine a defense in a couple of years as good as IU’s offense has been the past few years.

    How far off is the start of Spring Practice as I haven’t found a schedule.

  6. As an IU and Texas A&M grad, I can tell you that the IU football program is now much more stable than A&M’s. One of Coach Hagen’s reasons for coming back to IU could be the stability offered by KW’s 6 year contract extension. Hard to believe that the program with “Johnny Football” and national title aspirations just a few years ago is now a less attractive option than IU. Now if we could just pull away some of A&M’s defensive line recruits….

  7. Would there have been “stability” at IU Football if the Hoosiers would have lost the regular season finale @ Purdue?

    Considering IU Football only put up two conference wins, and the final victory against a very weak Purdue team was imperative to Wilson surviving a firing squad, speaks to the farce of selling any of this to recruits as stable votes of confidence.

    And now Wilson has simply bought more excuses atop a new contract as, yet, another reloading of a defense, its new ‘schemes’ …and new types of ‘physical attributes’ its young players required to fit its ‘new flavor’ to follow a ‘new’ recipe for ‘Win Today’ goes through recycling once again.

    Sure seems like a lot of future hopes and promises were built on the stable shoulders of taking down one pathetically poor Purdue football team. Everything is perception, I guess. Many of those now commenting on Scoop in their rose-colored glasses already had Wilson blindfolded with ‘one in the chamber’…..They had called in the priest…They had served him his last Big 10 meal….He won back his final breath by going 2-6 instead of 1-7…And now we have “stability” as we walk him back to Memorial for a different sort of high income death sentence…..

    A breath of fresh air or just another squirt of Lysol spray clouding the senses before another crappy year and more excuses?

  8. In honor of all those that try way too hard to be clever on this site, I have composed a haiku:

    Harvard wisdom not
    Jaded men write many long posts
    Just internet spam

  9. I get the feeling from some things I’ve read the time is ripe to get out of College Station. Sumlin has flashed some survival mode actions and when John Chavis is your DC fireworks are always available(he is suing past employer LSU as primary and the secondary is present employer A&M, which is not unusual, it does appear he has a good chance). OL coach Dave Christiansen was canned plus another coach left or was let go. Has lost some players but has added some too. The temp is hotter than normal in that part of the Lone Star. I’m sure Hoosier 86 knows more about the situation. I do think Sumlin survives for at least 2 more years. To me Hagen made a great and timely decision for himself and IU. The ties to possible increase in recruiting Texas with Hagen in Bloomington are larger and more real than any other situation I can think of. The sheer size of the state and FB being the sport of choice along with A&M’s roster consistently being 90%+ Texas recruits makes the future of IU FB recruiting way more positive than a week ago..

    AD Glass actually stated his decision to keep KW was decided well before the PUke game.

  10. Harvard, you fixate on the wins and ignore the close games IU played against the best in the B1G. Coach Allen was rated by ESPN as one of the top three DC and Coach Hagen as #3 recruiting coach in the country. Rose colored glass are based on getting two of the top defensive coaches on the staff. Unlike Knorr’s system that took two years to get installed and it was too complicated for the young players; the new system is easy to learn and then they can focus on the techniques [this is how I approached offense and defense and I can tell you it really makes the players better]. Better recruits in the secondary will be improve the DBs. Coach Allen fires up the defense in practice and in games so with an easier system players can play at a higher speed and know their and their teammates assignments.

    Will the defense be better next year, it probably will be better and the next recruits should be even better due to the relationships the new coaches have in the SEC areas and I expect will will get some from those spots. As I pointed out things may not work out but with the new coaches and incoming players, add in several top players that were ineligible due to transferring in or injured for the season and it is reasonable to expect a good improvement in the D in 2016. We may get the average defense to go with a potent offense to beat more B1G teams in 2016. Could we be disappointed again in 2016, of course we could but there is hope we won’t be. Our athletes are as good as NW’s defensive players and look how a well coached defense played last year for them. I expect that IU could do as well but we have to wait and see.

    We have quality players in the DL that were backups last year, most of the LBs are coming back, and more talent in the DBs, along with a defensive system that is simple to learn. There will be some breakdowns just as every defense has all we have to do is look and see how IU’s offense punished the top defenses in the conference other than PSU when our top two offensive players were out. Of course the Rutgers game was a puzzle and tough to understand.

    I hope 2016 is a special year for IU football as we have been snake bitten in 2014 and 2015. 2014 was our top two backup QBs leaving and then Nate injured and out for the year. Last year was a injury prone year for the defensive backs and the defense unable to stop teams for one important stop each game. Maybe 2016 will have all the good luck those other teams missed out on, I can only hope.

  11. Mount St.Memorial-

    Don’t blow the side of your face off before one snap of the ‘new and improved’ Hoosier football season.

    There is another place only a deep Sudfeld bomb from Memorial where amassing wins against the softest of non-conference cupcakes and lowest tier BIG teams is the “fixation” of the day. But do those wins measure progress?

    College football is still a ‘blue ribbon’ for everyone sport. Wilson got his blue ribbon(as he was pulled away from the firing wall) by squeaking into a December bowl game….Almost 100 college football teams now get to play in bowl games.. I guess that’s a “fixation” of a different sort. It’s a fixation on money rather than valuing a true competitive nature in the product. The proliferation of bowl games and ‘invites’ granted to teams that can’t even win 25% of their conference games, is a hell of a good gig for the many that get millions thrown their way for nothing of stellar achievements.

    Glass would have put his own job in jeopardy if he would have retained Wilson in the event of a Purdue loss and a 1-7 conference record. All had their aim and were ready to FIRE. A 2-6 conference record saved a job and got a team to some sort of candy cane bowl played for rich people that can afford NYC hotels….Now, maybe some of you need to evaluate your “fixations.” Sure, I look at the wins against quality opponents…I don’t know how much time should be spent on “almost” when the system already favors blue ribbons for everyone.

    Chet- Tall people being drawn to short people…? That’s transference. Being drawn to IU Lady’s hoops and IU Hoosier Football with chrome candy stripe helmets….? That’s ‘projection’ of long engrained defeatism grown from heartbreak something truly driven to genuineness and greatness that disappeared from McCracken without even a ‘goodbye’ letter.

  12. Hoosier football is much like a Super Bowl commercial….Money always believed to equate to creativity and passion. Always anticipation for what the big bucks will deliver …Always hype…Always flat…Sometimes comical in a weird sorta way. Usually just car commercials aimed at the brain dead….Maybe they even dig up a washed up celebrity to deliver the weak punchline(or sit in the stands).

  13. Donald Trump is America’s new Robin Hood? Transference…..into a Swiss bank account.

    Scoop minus a ‘trolling’ Remora….. in a nutshell

    IU 92
    Iowa 76

  14. vesuvius13- Forget my cynicism…You are the real deal. Your optimism comes from the heart of uncorrupted innocence …You see Hoosier Football like a comforted newborn staring into the eyes of a strong and loving mother. I am built for doubt. Then again…..1% hold 50% of our country’s fruits of ‘Independence’ we died in World Wars and bloody revolutions on our own soil. Wages stay more stagnant and repressed than a winning Hoosier football seasons and dried up McCracken banners.

    I would want you on my football team…You would plow through the most battered an offensive lines like Walter Payton skying for the end zone. Your spirit is undaunted. Most the other bozos on here change with the wind…You were never holding the rifle and taking aim when Wilson’s back was against the wall.
    Your ability to see good in a dirt storm is very admirable quality. It’s a quality lost in America. With citizens like you, America is always “winning.” It is only such hope for a better day that keeps the torch of ‘Liberty’ burning in our darkest hours.

  15. Harvard I have no problem with your approach to what the program is like. I have always been an optimistic person that volunteered for the Marine Corps. One reason I am optimistic about the team is after winning two years [ ending up as State Runner-up with 10 wins and the following year going 11-2 losing in the semi-state] I had a losing year at 4-7. Everyone thought Wayne HS winning ways were over, instead I worked hard to get our players to work hard and we won the 4A State Title with the younger players [ we had six sophomores and two freshmen starting, we also had 3 starters transfer to other schools in the middle of the season] from the 4-7 team that finished last in our conference the year before. I have lived through a tremendous turn around that continued after the State Championship the following year. I can see IU finishing in the top four or better with the outstanding new defensive coaches that Wilson hired. I hope they are able to finish there or higher but I also know they may not be able to do accomplish that. I was very disappointed the defense wasn’t better last year.

    Our coaches are getting their players to work hard and develop into to B1G level players. The biggest concern I have with the defense are the secondary coaches but maybe the younger players just couldn’t learn fast enough last year. I think the progress from last year was shown by how soundly they beat Maryland and PU when they could have packed the season away. Progress was the way they continued to fight even when coming up one play short game after game in the middle of the year. Coach Wilson recognized the D is the shortcoming of the team and went out and got a great DC and now a great recruiter that coaches the DL. The rating of those two coaches were made by ESPN not coach Wilson or anyone associated with the team. I think it shows that others see the IU program on the upswing; I only hope the team supports that view and doesn’t lay another series of eggs.

    Harvard I love you stories and hope you continue with them now and then. I wished I had the talent to wax poetically like you do at times. I do think it is time for the football team to rise up and start winning more games with the expectation that in 2016 and the next couple years the defense can be good enough to compliment our offense. We have suffered long enough as fans and the coaches and team need to end our suffering and win more games. By the way, the last two defensive hires makes it easy to optimistic about the defense now as we have gotten two of the best coaches in the country at least ESPN thinks so. It also helps that I know both coaches from when I was still coaching in high school.

  16. Could one imagine having Peyton Manning on a college football sideline? He has all the fame and money he’ll ever require. ? He still has many ties to Indianapolis…The people of Indiana simply adore the guy…

    Peyton Manning to join Kevin Wilson’s high-powered offense…? Now that is a headline that would rock our world. Would that not be the most marvelous way for Manning to open a new chapter of challenges in his life? Could there be a more positive light of energy and respect catapulting Indiana into overnight national relevance?

    Thanks for your kind words, vesuvius13…Maybe one day I’ll be cheering IU Football because you are on the Memorial sidelines….Hurry up. I’m getting old.

  17. Really? You censored the Louisville b-ball team hookers comment? Wow…..And how many shots do you think Louisville fans took at IU for a frivolous 3-way call investigation?

    How utterly ridiculous when a Duke grad gets on ESPN claiming naive recruits and transfers new nothing of the culture present under Pitino and his slimy staff. “How would the recruits know they were paid prostitutes?” Absolutely priceless deserving all the mockery one could throw at such claims and such protection of Pervtino.

  18. I don’t see how UofL fans cannot be embarrassed beyond belief at what their program has become. It’s so over the top at this point that a movie about it would have to have a disclaimer at the beginning stating “Everything you are about to see really happened”.

    If there is a positive note now Kentucky fans can look at Louisville’s coach and feel better about Calipari.

  19. Couldn’t agree more, Chet.
    And to assume some helpless one-and-done transfers were unaware of such a filth culture makes a real joke of ESPN ‘experts’ talking of how the poor blind cavalry called in to help Pitino reload are such terrible victims. The place is oozing at every seam its perversions all bought at the hands of a slimy coach, their slimy boosters, and agents nothing more than pimps. Oh, but the innocent victims in the process. ? Yeah, like the innocent victims always turning their heads the other way while Sandusky was taking four showers a day.

  20. Hoosier 86: Proper haiku includes a reference to or image of nature. Hence:

    Boilers toppled thrice
    Teetering career righted
    Roses not far off?

  21. And if you’re such a damn phenomenal baler as the senior transfers that wanted a taste of Louisville pride, then why in the hell did you go to the tiny school in the first place, ? We should be worried about their hurt feelings when they left coaches and teammates at the alter for the next best thing? Put a small school on your shoulders….Have you never heard of Bryce Drew? Life is never a sure thing…Sometimes storybook endings come at the darnedest places…Sometimes sh_ hits the fan as you stand in the arrogance of poor timing your sought opportunist ways. That’s life….You made your choice. You put on your blinders while you used Louisville with zero loyalty in your heart to anything.

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