2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Chris Creighton
Candidate Tier: MAC-xecution
Who Is He?
Chris Creighton is the 47 year old head coach of Eastern Michigan University, in the midst of a very impressive turnaround at 5-2.
Creighton has been a college head coach, in some fashion, every year since 1997. He started at Ottawa University in Kansas, amassing a 32-9 record over four seasons, before leading Wabash to DIII relevancy over an eight year tenure (going 63-15).
Drake, in the FCS Pioneer league, snatched Creighton up and he proceeded to pretty consistently put up 8 win seasons over a six year run (42-22), and he won something called the Kilimanjaro Bowl in 2011, which I picture as a high-stakes loser-gets-death matchup at the peak of a massive snowcap.
In 2014, Eastern Michigan desperately needed a reset after a disastrous ten years under Jeff Genyk and Ron English (combining for a 27-88 record during that time). Historically, EMU has been pretty trash since 1973, and needed some kind of energy to reset the fortunes of the program.
Creighton’s first two years were predictably bad: 2-10 and 1-11. This year he’s started 5-2, with wins over Ohio and Wyoming. This week brings an incredibly tough matchup in PJ Fleck’s Western Michigan, and the rest of the schedule pits the Eagles against Miami OH, Ball State, NIU, and CMU.
Creighton is certain to get another win or two out of the Eagles, which would astoundingly get EMU to their first bowl game since 1987 (their only bowl game in program history).
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
I really like Creighton. He’s a veteran head coach, and everywhere he’s gone he’s established a culture where none existed before him. Leading EMU to a bowl game in his third year is unbelievably impressive, and the type of program-defining year that Purdue desperately needs going forward.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
EMU is his first FBS stop, and who knows if he can sustain this. Creighton has shown he can recruit, evidenced by his third-year surge, but we need to see if he can finish this year strong after an early slate of some easy games. The rest of this schedule will let us know whether Creighton should be considered for Purdue.
Would he come to Purdue?
Absolutely. He has a 20 year record of building success at a program for 4+ years and moving to a clearly better option, rinsing and repeating. He would be an extremely respectable, but boring, hire by Mike Bobinski. I do think his name will come up in a few conversations behind closed doors, but I’d be surprised of Purdue can’t land someone more impressive. Creighton would be a perfectly OK hire, though, so have fun with that.