Mid-1980s Joe tiller
Late-1990s Joe Tiller
The mustache is grayer, he has a little bit less hair on top, he might be a a few pounds heavier and he's much snazzier in the way he dresses these days, but the same Joe Tiller is still at the helm of Purdue's football team...At least I think it's the same guy.
I listened to Joe Tiller's radio show, Monday evening. One of things that stuck out to me was the fact that he talked about the importance of consistency. He clearly wants Purdue to be in a bowl game every year and wants a winning record...but doesn't seem to be shooting for the stars anymore. Many Purdue fans, myself included, have said there's been a change in our Coach. I think this quote speaks to that change:
The question everyone asked Tiller when he took over the program was, "How long will it take to build a winning program?" Tiller's response: "We're not going to wait for four years to figure this out. If I would wait four more years, I would hardly have any hair left. We're here to win a championship. We've won in the past, and we will win again in the future."
I love that attitude...That's the guy I want coaching my alma mater! Problem is, I haven't seen that guy since October of 2004. My favorite part of the quote is, "We've won in the past, and we will win again in the future." I don't think that's a reference to winning the Sun Bowl or only beating sub .500 teams...I think that's a reference to the Rose Bowl and winning, no matter who comes knocking. I appreciate younger Joe Tiller's attitude- without that, the program wouldn't be one that the IU's of the world wish they could be...The problem is, the job he was hired to do has not been completed.
Well coach, according to your own definition of what the program's goals should be, you still have work to do. Here's to hoping you still believe like the younger man who took the job back in the spring of 1997. But, belief is not enough...you've got to sell that idea to the 19 & 20 year olds who look to you for inspiration all season long.
I've had this debate with fellow Purdue fans- Since Tiller won in his first season, did he build his program to win championships or just turn around quickly?
In hindsight, I think we can all say that this machine was built to go to the middle level...But that's using history as our evidence...not a younger Joe Tiller's goals. While I know people change, goals change and people's focus in life change, the goal should still be grand. If Tiller and his teams are done competing with "Big Time" programs, he should retire. BUT, if he truly believes he was hired to win a championship, he needs to be re-energized. There is still much left to do.
Joe Tiller circa 2007