clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Can Purdue do better in its head coach search?

A solidly unsexy coaching search for Purdue could result in some continuity if either of the two leading candidates get the nod...but is it enough for the Boilers to stay relevant in the Big Ten?

Western Kentucky v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Update: Purdue has hired Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as their new head coach. We’ve got your updated conversation here:

Rumors continue to fly about the Purdue Boilermakers head coaching search now that Jeff Brohm has gone home to Louisville, with our friends at Hammer and Rails posting this night last night:

Regardless of whether that’s true, it absolutely needs to be home Purdue announces its head coaching hires.

BoilerUp89: The message board rumor is that Tyson Helton [of Western Kentucky] is Purdue’s next head coach. Which is okay — he’s a perfectly fine HC, but underwhelming considering Bobinski’s Thursday press conference.

MNW: 1000% in on this — West needs more offense.

misdreavus79: As long as Purdue can remain the Un-West team, I’m all for it!

Kind of...: Okay, so two football coaches in a row coming from WKU? And that’s where Keady was at right before he took the Purdue job? So Matt Painter and Carbondale, IL is Purdue’s idea of getting exotic?

BU89: Brohm and Keady worked out pretty well though.

Kind of...: No objections. I mean, prior to Fickell, UW was the king of unimaginative hiring (that tended to work out well).

BU89: Helton was pretty much the definition of you shouldn’t get further down the list than him. He’s an offensive coach — former QBs coach and has had success. It’s not pulling in Clawson, Klieman, or DeBoer but those probably weren’t happening anyway. If he is the guy, I’m fine with it but not jumping up and down celebrating either.

Green Akers: Purdue’s not historically been a flashy hire kind of place. DeBoer always felt like a fantasy, Clawson would’ve been a great choice on paper but his name never comes up for some reason. He may well be content just running his offense at a school without a ton of pressure to win big.

BU89: DeBoer, Clawson, and Klieman all had plenty more reasons to stay at their current jobs than take Purdue. Shoot your shot with them and Leipold and then you are getting to Helton or GA OC type candidates.

GA: I’d still like to see more schools, even at the Big Ten level, take shots at good FCS coaches. How many Kliemans never get a chance because schools stick with “safe” retreads?

BU89: I’m not against that especially in basketball. Beilein should have gotten a big job in basketball before he did.

Purdue does feel like a school that needs an offensive coach though. Not a defensive or overall program manager type, which is what I recall most good FCS coaches are - although maybe I’m way off there.

MNW: Incarnate Word, Sacramento State, Holy Cross, and Fordham all had high-profile offenses this year and young-looking coaches running them. Sac State’s got hired at Stanford, and UIW’s went to Texas State.

BU89: I’ll take your word for it. Obviously, I’m more of a basketball guy than football.

MNW: Other than that, maybe Montana State. But all these are non-Midwestern locations — you gonna trust them in the B1G?

BU89: [/shrugs shoulders] If you are worried about recruiting, hire Shephard back from Washington to be your OC and keep Hagen on staff on the defensive side. Recruiting solved. Head coach just has to coach/run the program.

MNW: So, to be clear, Purdue’s options are...

  • The head coach at Western Kentucky, who’s a Houston alumnus and likely would just have to wait out Dana Holgorsen there, or...
  • The OC at #12 Washington, a former OC at Purdue

Is that really as “for the fences” as it gets at Purdue, or is this a conscious thing to just try to keep the Brohm times rolling?

BU89: I’ll add MNW, that the AD has been incredibly tight lipped about this. Very possible if not likely that it’s someone we are talking about. And Shephard got a courtesy interview for HC, nothing more. AD concerned about his lack of experience.

MNW: So where do you look, then? Would you be poaching the coordinator du jour from somewhere in CFB? This is just fascinating to me, because as someone whose own team is likely to be doing this in a few years, do you go with the unsexy hire and hope for continuity? Looking to parts unknown in college football feels like you’re way more likely to hit a Brewster than a Ferentz.

And—perhaps Green Akers can help me here—is Chris Creighton just never going to get a shot at a P5 program?

GA: There was a stretch like 3ish years ago when his name came up in lots of searches, usually for places like Kansas, but he hasn’t been mentioned much lately. Which is hard to understand because he just had his best season at EMU in Year 9, the evidence is actually stronger than ever that he’s a great program builder.

MNW: I realize I asked if Tyson Helton wasn’t a sexy enough hire, then suggested Purdue look at Chris Creighton, so I’m the idiot here.

BU89: Only the AD knows. Really difficult to get a read on the situation. Will know more once a hire is made which honestly needs to be today — otherwise recruiting is a major issue.

BuffKomodo: Indiana still has to play Jeff Brohm for the next couple years so I really won’t notice anything until 2025 at the earliest.


Purdue should hire...

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Tyson Helton
    (49 votes)
  • 37%
    JaMarcus Shepard
    (130 votes)
  • 47%
    Someone else, who I promise to tell you about in the comments
    (164 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now