We have a ton to talk about over the next few days/weeks, but there are a few people or entities that the Painter-to-Mizzou Drama affected...Let's take a look at them:
Mike Alden & Mizzou's Athletic Department
Alden's athletic department seemed extremely zealous in its pursuit of Painter...I don't blame them for that. But, they seemed to put all of their eggs in that basket and had a couple internal parts that just talked too much. All of these things helped Painter create leverage and get what he wanted: A more supportive athletic department at Purdue.
From Dick Weiss at the New York Daily News, to Bernie Miklasz at the St. Louis Dispatch to the clowns at the Bleacher Report, and on and on, members of the non-traditional and traditional media alike jumped the gun time and time again in an effort to get the scoop. While the STLD was wise enough to erase all record of their foibles, remnants of poor reporting are still scattered across the interwebnet.
Nancy Cross of the JPC
No one would argue that Purdue's Athletic Department needs as much financial support as possible to compete with the elite of the conference and win championships. But, almost everyone who saw her mass e-mail saw its presentation as a major error in judgment. What makes it worse is the fact that under immense pressure from stressed-out and angry donors, Cross sent a half-assed apology e-mail today.
The Purdue Fanbase
Purdue fans languished on the vine as Matty listened to what Mizzou had to offer. Watching a Purdue alum and damned good coach slip out of the grasp of our Athletic Department would have been a shot to the psyche of all of us. Plus, the program would have surely been rebuilding once again and I seriously doubt that we would have ended up with a coach of Painter's caliber as a replacement...But that's only part of the victory.
Painter may have used his pull to awaken an athletic department that had lost its focus. Losses of players like Brandon Dawson and coaches like Rick Ray might be something we less of as Purdue's recruiting resources and basketball budget increases.
Matt Painter, His Staff & His Team
Painter is a tough guy not to like (as Mizzou fans know). He runs his program well, has an amazing attention to the details and is a good motivator. His assistants are generally as sharp as they come and share his work ethic and hard-nosed attitude. Guys like 'Zo, Rick Ray, Paul Lusk and Jack owens come to mind right away as Purdue-type guys. Keeping talent like this within the program as long as possible is imperative.
Next, if you visit here often, you know about how we feel about the players. Almost every one of them seem to be high-character people...and are just plain likable. Atop that, there's a lot of talent already within the program, and more is on the way. Who knows which players would have transferred or changed their commitment, but be assured the complexion of the team would have been dramatically different.
Buddy "Andrew" Baker
Buddy Baker is the agent to Painter, Martin (and I believe Paul Lusk). I know Painter is a smart guy, but Baker positioned the parts in this drama perfectly and used Missouri's offer as leverage to help his clients get what they wanted and make him a dollar or two along the way. Best of all, we didn't have to hear from him as all negotiations were kept out of the public's eye...But, he made sure the public knew about Missouri's interest in Painter very early in the game.
The Verdict is Still Out...
Morgan Burke & the Administration
We can say what we want about what got Purdue to this place- but what we know is when the chips were down, Purdue gave Painter what the market demands of a coach like him. In the future, Burke and co. need to be active instead of reactive as to avoid another near-calamity. Painter is tied up for eight years with, what seems to be, a very competitive contract and package. But before the eight years are up, Burke, or whomever is his successor will need to adjust and extend the deal to keep things humming.
If they do what they've promised and stay a step ahead of the competition, this negotiation will prove to be one of their brightest moments.