There would have been some tense moments at home if Ball State quarterback Joey Lynch had chosen another school.
Bill Lynch, Joey Lynch’s father and former Ball State coach, recruited his son out of Delta High in Muncie, Ind., to join older brother Billy as the third member of the family to be part of the Cardinals’ football program.
Although there was plenty of family involvement at Ball State, Joey Lynch said he gave other colleges and equal chance.
“When I first came out (of high school), I took a good look at the recruiting process and just let it play out,” he said.
Joey Lynch made the decision to join the Cardinals in 2002 and redshirted his first season. Bill Lynch never got the chance to coach his son in a game, though, because he was fired after the 2002 season, leaving with a record of 37-54 in eight years of coaching the Cardinals.
Joey Lynch said he understood when he came to Ball State that there was a chance his dad could get fired, but he was still upset when it happened. Although he said he was a little uncertain after his father was fired, Joey Lynch said meeting Brady Hoke, the Cardinals new coach, convinced him to stay.
“As soon as coach Hoke got hired, he came in and had a talk and he was great,” Joey Lynch said. “If I couldn’t play for my dad, I wouldn’t want to play for anyone other than coach Hoke.”
Ball State is Hoke’s first head coaching job in college, after assisting at Michigan. He was 4-8 in 2003 with the Cardinals, who are 0-2 this season with losses to Boston College and Purdue.
The start to the season has been tough for Ball State, especially last week’s 59-7 loss to Purdue. The Boilermakers had 599 yards of total offense and held the Cardinals to 197. Although the Cardinals have put up only 18 totals points in two games, Hoke said he is not worried about Joey Lynch’s ability to lead the offense.
“I think Joey, when he’s had time, and he’s gotten hit a couple times way too hard for my liking, has done well,” Hoke said.
“He’s done a good job running the offense and I can’t think of anyone to take his place.”
Joey Lynch has gone 27-for-45 with 226 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions this season. Ball State was outmatched on both sides of the ball against Purdue, but Lynch said he is getting more accustomed to running the offense.
“I think I’m feeling comfortable in there,” he said. “The two teams we’ve played have been very good (on the defensive line).”
Joey Lynch’s confidence comes from having a valuable source of football knowledge close at hand growing up. He said he never got tired of football but instead looked to his dad to educate him about the game.
Bill Lynch played for Butler, then coached there from 1985-89. After spending time with three different assistant coaching jobs, he coached Ball State from 1995-2002. After one year working for the Cardinals athletic department, he took over the coaching job at DePauw this year.
Perhaps the most athletic member of the Lynch family is Billy Lynch, who led the Cardinals in 2001 with 40 receptions and lettered in football and basketball for three years.
Billy Lynch is now the tight end coach at Ball State’s Mid-American Conference rival Miami (Ohio) University, but the brothers will not compete against each other this year, with the teams not scheduled to meet in conference play.
Saturday’s game at Missouri will provide no break for Joey Lynch when it comes to facing tough defenses. After a questionable performance in the season-opening game against Arkansas State when the Tigers allowed 350 passing yards, the Tiger defense adjusted in the 24-14 loss to Troy, allowing 121 passing yards.
The Cardinals are heavy underdogs and look for their first win this season and Joey Lynch’s first win as starting quarterback Saturday. Although he said the team has not gotten the results it would like, Joey Lynch said the focus is on improving. The amount of college football Lynch has watched can probably explain this mature attitude.
“I’ve been around the game my whole life,” he said. “Being around it my whole life, it’s been a great experience.”