2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Chuck Pagano
Candidate Tier #2
Category: Old(ish) Candidates
Who Is He?
Chuck Pagano is the head coach of my dear Indianapolis Colts, currently in the midst of a complete collapse around a legitimately great quarterback in Andrew Luck because Pagano doesn’t outsmart opposing coaches and GM (and Purdue grad and Darrell Hazell recommender) Ryan Grigson doesn’t know how to do his job.
Ok. Sorry. Pagano was known as a defensive mind, and the architect of the Ravens defense of the late 00’s. You also probably know Pagano is deeply connected to that incredible 1995-2000 Miami FL run, as he was the defensive backs and special teams coach for The U.
What you might not have realized is Pagano had 16 years of collegiate-level assistant coaching prior to his job at The U, primarily working with defensive backs and linebackers. He’s truly one of the very few coaches with extensive coaching experience at both the professional and collegiate levels.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
Have you ever heard a Pagano motivational speech? Couldn’t you imagine him in living rooms, using his charisma to win over recruits and his sincerity to win over parents? That dude would be a recruiting machine at a school like Purdue, and could reinvigorate Purdue’s reputation for developing professional-level defensive ends and edge rushers.
Pags’ name recognition is off the charts in the Midwest, and would be a direct answer to Illinois’ hiring of Lovie Smith. Seriously…Illinois became relevant within 24 hours of new AD Josh Whitman’s tenure by firing Bill Cubit in favor of Lovie. Illinois wasn’t transformed overnight on the field, but they instantly stopped being an FBS joke.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
Well…he’s just a really bad in-game head coach. The skillset is different in college, sure. You need to recruit, develop, and gameplan at high levels to be successful at the Big Ten level. And more in-game responsibilities can be delegated to his assistant coaches.
But that doesn’t get past the fact that Chuck Pagano is a really bad in-game coach. The in-game adjustment combination of Pagano and Matt Painter might one day kill us Purdue fans, which is a slight negative.
Would he come to Purdue?
Not if Jim Irsay decided to keep Pagano past this year. But if the impulsive Irsay decides to move on (a year after giving both Pags and Grigson four year extensions, because he’s a bad owner), Pagano would be free to take the next step of his career in any direction he chooses.
It really depends on whether he wants to go back to being a defensive coordinator for a few years, because I don’t think an NFL team would give him another shot right away. But Purdue already has connections within the Colts organization, so who knows what could happen if Irsay is looking for a new gig come Thanksgiving.