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Kevin Wilson: Honest to the end

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Pulling out of the Jerry World parking lot early Sunday morning, we started comparing notes.

Berry Tramel, Jake Trotter and I were in the car together, and even though we’d all just covered the Big 12 title game, the crush of deadline had left it difficult to talk about things we’d seen and heard after the game.

Trotter had the most interesting storyline — Kevin Wilson’s future.

At that point, the Oklahoma offensive coordinator’s move to Indiana which became reality Tuesday afternoon was still just rumor. Trotter had asked Wilson all about it, and he started reading the questions and the answers.

Q: Have you interviewed or plan to interview?

A: “We’ll see. I don’t know. It’s the time of the year where you’re getting through the last game. I mean, this was a big game. This was Celtics-Lakers for the last time. Or the Cowboys-Redskins. We needed this game for the school, for the program, for the state. Always this time of year maybe there’s a chance for something. But when you get into the postseason you don’t want to… The most important thing is winning this game.”

Q: Could you interview this week?

A: “We’ve got some recruiting stuff. We’ll just see. I don’t really do a bunch of networking. We’ll see if anything happens.”

Q: Have you had any contact with anyone from the Hoosier administration?

A: “We’ll just kind of see the way it goes. Now that the season is over if there’s an opportunity… I’m just lucky I get to work with some great kids and great coaches. If anything happens, it does.”

The more Trotter read, the harder Tramel and I laughed. Wilson had answered questions; he just didn’t answer the ones asked of him.

But I got to thinking about his answers today as I was reading our coverage of his move to Indiana and what it might mean for the Sooners. While he was completely non-committal and entirely elusive in what he said, you can say this for Kevin Wilson — he didn’t lie.

So often in these coaching searches, candidates and other folks around them lie like their lives depend on it. They lie about interviewing. They lie about being interested. They lie about schools contacting them. All of us learn from a young age that lying is wrong, but that rule goes out the door in these coaching searches. Then, lying is expected.

And hey, I understand that there’s a game that coaches have to play. They don’t want to undermine their current jobs, angering their employers or souring incoming recruits, but there’s a way to do that without lying.

Wilson is proof of that. Even though he talked in circles last Saturday night, he never lied.

Sure, those of us asking the questions aren’t too fond of answers like that, but we would much rather someone answer the question without really answering it instead of lying. Bring up stuff that no one asked about. Go off on crazy tangents. Say stuff that’ll leave reporters rolling their eyes.

Just don’t lie.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›