That alum, Mike Neu, is something of a cult figure to older, wiser Ball State football fans. He brings with him not only the promise of a top flight coach who has honed his craft at the height of his profession (the NFL), but is also a beacon of somewhat sustained success under Paul Schudel whom Neu played for from 1990-93.
Neu, who just turned 45 years old, is just old enough to have compiled a successful and well-rounded coaching career with stops in the NFL with the Saints, college at Tulane and in the Arena League, but still young and energetic and ready for the task ahead in Muncie.
I sat in those very stands at what is now Scheuman Stadium as a teenager when Neu, Brian Oliver, Michael Blair and company rallied back from an incredible 28 point deficit to topple Toledo 31-30 en route to the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl . So this hire, it hits home for me.
After news officially dropped via press release on Thursday that Neu was coming back to Indiana, the Twitter noise around Ball State was filled with excitement and well wishes, not seen in years – from the new Ball State freshman who knows little about the program’s history, to old war veterans like professional journalists David Haugh and Jason Whitlock. The excitement is building … dare I say it is a “Neu Day”.
Tomorrow should be the initial press conference for Coach Neu which will then be followed by a steady diet of compiling a staff, getting to know the team, learning his new commits and hitting the road to recruit new players as signing day approaches quickly. But for now, we can all just enjoy the news.