New Ohio State University offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will feel right at home when his Buckeyes take on the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington on Thursday.
That’s because Wilson will be coaching against the same Hoosiers team he led for six seasons. Wilson was named the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator and tight ends coach back in January after Tim Beck left to join Tom Herman at Texas.
It’s the first game of the regular season for the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers, and the latter has likely been reviewing its own offensive film in preparation for the Buckeyes due to Wilson’s history as their coach.
Over the years, Wilson’s offenses have found much success despite Indiana’s overall record being lackluster. He’s a pupil of Randy Walker and Bob Stoops, and came to OSU with an impressive offensive-minded resume.
Here’s what you need to know about Wilson:
1. Wilson Led the Hoosiers to 2-Straight Bowl Games
In November 2010, after a struggling tenure at the school, Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass announced that Bill Lynch and the rest of his coaching staff had been let go. The Hoosiers had just finished their third-straight season with just one Big Ten Conference victory.
About one week later, Glass announced that he’d hired Wilson to coach the Hoosiers.
Wilson inherited a program that hadn’t been to a bowl game since 2007 when it lost to Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl. He proceeded to fill the vacant positions on his staff with coaches that had plenty of experience, but they had their work cut out for them.
In Wilson’s first year as coach, the Hoosiers finished with a 1-11 record, but they saw improvement the next season. Indiana closed the 2012 campaign with a 4-8 overall record, and their offense was nationally ranked, leading the Big Ten in passing with 311.2 yards per game.
The Hoosiers went 5-7 in 2013 and 4-8 in 2014, but saw the best seasons in many years during Wilson’s last two as coach.
The Hoosiers had a solid offensive season in 2015, leading the Big Ten in passing, total offense and scoring. They made a bowl game that season by going 6-7 overall, but lost in the Pinstripe Bowl to Duke, 44-41.
The next season, Indiana went 6-6 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten, finishing fourth in the standings. He led his team to a consecutive bowl game for the first time in 25 years. The Hoosiers played in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl, but Wilson was absent from the sidelines because he’d accepted his new position at OSU.
2. Before Arriving at Indiana, Wilson Coached Under Bob Stoops
Wilson is known for his high-powered offenses because that’s where he got his start: as an offensive coordinator.
Wilson earned his first prominent collegiate coaching position at Miami University (Ohio) in 1990 and served as the RedHawks’ offensive coordinator, offensive line and quarterbacks coach. He coached under Walker until 1998, and moved with him when he took a job as the Northwestern University head coach. Wilson served as the Wildcats’ assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons (1999-2001).
Wilson and Walker devised a power-spread offense at Northwestern that helped lead the team to a co-Big Ten championship in 2000.
Wilson learned under Walker for 19 total seasons and ended up leaving him to serve as the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Oklahoma in 2002. He coached under Stoops, a coaching legend, and was promoted to the Sooners’ offensive coordinator from 2006 until 2010 when he left for Indiana.
During Wilson’s time controlling the Oklahoma offense, the program saw massive success. It won six Big 12 championships and played in three national championship games (2003, 2004 and 2008). In 2008, his offense scored a then-NCAA record 716 points. That total is now No. 2 in FBS history.
3. Wilson Was a Walk-On at the University of North Carolina
Wilson was born in Maiden, North Carolina and played offensive line and linebacker at Maiden High School. He found success playing prep football and was an all-conference player for two seasons before deciding to attend the University of North Carolina.
While at UNC, Wilson kept his football dreams alive and walked-on to the Tar Heels’ football team. He played center and guard and earned a scholarship after two seasons. Wilson graduated from the school in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in education and stayed with the program for three years as a graduate assistant while working toward his master’s degree.
4. Wilson’s Coaching Career Started at UNC
Wilson studied at UNC for a master’s degree in physical education and became Walker’s assistant when he was the coach there. After briefly serving as Walker’s assistant, Wilson became the offensive line coach at Winston-Salem State University and then was the offensive coordinator for North Carolina A&T in 1988.
After that, he became the coach and athletic director at Fred T. Foard High School in North Carolina, near his hometown of Maiden. However, he struggled to find success in his one year there and his team went 0-10. He told the media that he decided to leave the school because he grew frustrated that many of the players didn’t seem interested in football, and abruptly left to join Walker as an assistant at Miami.
5. Wilson & His Wife Have 5 Children Together
Wilson is married to Angela, and the two have five children together: daughters Elaina (21), Makenzie (19) and Marlee (16) and sons Trey (17) and Toby (14).