COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Citing multiple investigations into his former program and the clearance he received to be hired at Ohio State, Kevin Wilson defended himself against allegations of player mistreatment in his first public comments since resigning as head coach at Indiana.
Wilson thanked the Hoosiers for the opportunity to coach there for six years, expressed appreciation for the support from some former players and responded to accusations that he might have mishandled injuries before parting ways with Indiana in December. He wasn't a coaching free agent for long, with the Buckeyes signing him as their new offensive coordinator in January. He went through his first spring practices this week working under coach Urban Meyer.
"We wouldn't be here doing this job if those things were true," Wilson said. "Anyone can have an opinion, but I know the department over there looked into everything, I know this school has looked into everything and I know we're very, very comfortable with what we're doing, where we're at and we're excited to move forward.
"The athletic director [Fred Glass] had outside counsel, found no evidence and that's why we're here. He made that call, and we appreciate the opportunity he gave us to coach there."
That tenure came to an unexpected end after Wilson again guided the Hoosiers to a bowl bid. Glass accepted his resignation, citing "philosophical differences" between the parties.
Wilson has been accused of mistreatment of players, with one former player's father telling ESPN that his son was rushed back from a concussion, causing symptoms to intensify. According to the Indiana athletic department, there were no compliance issues involved in the decision.
"I think the athletic department and the athletic director -- those guys made their decision," Wilson said. "And from there, the comments were made. We just go back to how much we loved being there, how much we loved our players. We didn't have a chance to kind of see those guys off. I think we did a great job recruiting and developing those guys. We were a team that battled and played and had a lot of success. We had a great deal of academic success, great deal of off-the-field success.
"At the same time, you move on and wish those guys well because they're your guys. It was a great time for our family, but now we're here and you're blessed to be at one of the great programs with great players and great leadership. ... Loved our time there, but we're excited about moving forward as well. We're excited to be here coaching these cats and doing what we can."
His new role will be helping upgrade an Ohio State offense that has annually been one of the most prolific in the Big Ten since Meyer took over the program but struggled to find consistency in the passing game last season and was shut out in a College Football Playoff loss to Clemson to end the year. Wilson is a proven commodity on that side of the ball and had built Indiana into one of the most productive teams in the conference despite not having nearly as much talent at his disposal as he'll inherit with the Buckeyes. And after Wilson cleared the background check by Ohio State, Meyer wasted little time adding him to the staff to replace Ed Warinner, now Minnesota's offensive line coach.
"The first part [with the vetting], that was immediate," Meyer said last month. "I went to [athletic director] Gene Smith, and Gene Smith talked to [school president Michael] Drake. Like anything, there are stories that get thrown out there. I talked to Kevin myself at great length, I talked to others that knew him over there. Gene Smith did as well.
"I already knew the guy, but I wanted to hear what went on, whether it was a disgruntled player or whether it was an issue with a trainer or an issue with something else. I just needed to find out, and so did my bosses. It was rather quick, and it came back that everything was good. There were some misunderstandings, philosophical differences, which I understand that. I wanted to know what they were, and we proceeded."