2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Doc Holliday
Candidate Tier #1
Category: Old Farts, Borderline Pipe Dreams
Who Is He?
By day, Doc Holliday is the current Head Coach at Marshall, and has been since 2010. By night, he’s an expert gunfighter and bff with Wyatt Earp.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
It took him 30 years into coaching before he got his first head coaching position, but he’s done quite well for himself since. His head coaching record is 52-32, and is 4-0 in bowl games. He won the C-USA title in 2014 (same year he won C-USA COY), and won the East Division in 2013 and 2014.
He’s probably most famous for his 2014 season, when his team went 13-1 (7-1 in conference) and beat NIU in the Boca Raton Bowl. His bowl record is rather impressive, as he beat FIU in 2011, Maryland in 2013, and Connecticut in 2015. None of those squads are world-killers, but his teams have played well against high major competition.
One thing his team does well is score points. Lots of points. If Purdue is looking to bring in a coach who will try to light the scoreboard on fire, you could do a lot worse than Doc Holliday. He was also the recruiting coordinator at Florida under Urban Meyer, so he knows a thing or two about recruiting at a high level. And, like many other coaches on our list, he has experience beating Purdue as well.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
As much as they love to score points, his Marshall teams tend to give up a lot of points as well (the 2015 season excepted, when their defense was excellent.) For example, this year his team lost to Akron, 65-38. I can’t imagine giving up 65 points would sit well with Purdue fans.
Marshall’s AD received a lot of attention from Purdue fans as a possible replacement for Morgan Burke, but Holliday hasn’t enjoyed the same level of excitement as a potential head coach. Overall, he seems like a solid, if uninspiring candidate. He’s also kind of old, which makes one worry if he has the energy - or if we wants to devote the energy - towards rebuilding Purdue from the ashes. Honestly, his resume is pretty solid, but he hasn’t received a ton of attention; attention that you’d think he’d get by now, especially after the 2014 season.
Would he come to Purdue?
Well, he makes $755,000 a year now, so I imagine Purdue would provide a nice bump over that. But maybe it’s more complicated than that. Holliday is a born-n-bred West Virginian. All but seven of his 37 year career has been spent at either WVU or Marshall. He’s also 59 years old, and is probably looking at where his career is going to end, and a complete re-build that Purdue will require might not be on his bucket list.
I think the money would be really hard to pass up, but all else being equal, I think he’d rather stay at Marshall (interestingly, Holliday has a provision in his contract that if he leaves Marshall for WVU, he owes the University $3M.) A big enough contract number would probably have a good chance of changing that.