A Note of Thanks to Purdue Athletics

A Note of Thanks to Purdue Athletics

Boiled Sports has been around for more than eleven years since our official founding as the Godfathers of Purdue Sports fan sites in November 2006. Over that time, we’ve seen our fair share of lousy football and, frankly, a few seasons of uninspired basketball, too. Even when there were seasons of hope and promise mixed in there, they often were undermined by a seemingly archaic athletics department mentality.

It angered me over the years and that anger bubbled over a few times, including in posts like this one from 2014 entitled “I’m Tired of Being Patient,” which I ended with this:

Do not tell me I need to be patient. Do not tell me about a multi-year plan. Do not tell me we have to blame someone else or something else. Do not tell me about our poor donation history and how that makes it hard to keep coaches. Do not boast about marginal attendance bumps during a shitshow of a basketball campaign. Do not do small time things. Do not send emissaries to pat us on the head and tacitly ask us to behave.

Make our programs and our department something to be proud of. Being clean is wonderful and it is indeed what we all want. But let’s not hide behind that, either, as yet another excuse.

It’s time to win.


Chris Forman, who was relatively new to Purdue, had posted at the conclusion of the ’13-’14 basketball season about some nominal attendance bump – and that what was broke me. (As an interesting aside, I saw Forman comment on Twitter about how fun this year has been and how that first year – ’13-’14 – was really trying for him.)

So let me pause here to say thank you to the Purdue Board of Trustees and to the current iteration of the Purdue athletic department for recognizing – however delayed – that it was indeed time to win.

Prior to that flamethrowing post, I had been more specifically focused on Purdue football and had penned an article I was proud of titled “Do Not Tell Me ‘It Can’t Be Done.’” Was I channeling my inner Jon Voight in Pearl Harbor? Perhaps. But for years we at Boiled Sports had been told that we weren’t patient enough (the theme of the first post linked above) or, more depressingly, that the sort of success we were looking for simply could not be had at Purdue. Perhaps that was what made it such a sore spot for us – evidence showed that it might have been right, and with the landscape of college football tilting ever more towards the powerhouses who generate tons of money and media adulation while looking the other way on violations appeared to back that up.

Within Do Not Tell Me It Can’t Be Done, I laid out five football programs whose success Purdue fans would easily have been happy with mirroring. They were Rutgers, Boise State, Cinci, Northwestern and Stanford. And I said the following:

I do not want to hear it cannot be done. It can be done, my fellow Boilermakers. It can and it should be done. I realize these aren’t all perfect apples-to-apples comparisons — that’s why I provided five of them. These are programs that for whatever reason have the odds stacked against them in today’s college football landscape, yet find creative ways to be successful — some to extreme levels that even dreamy fans probably didn’t dream of.

At Purdue, we want swagger back. We want excitement back. We want players and coaches who want to be here and who aren’t interested in excuses. We want to see effort, preparation and creativity. You provide those ingredients and the fans will show — as they have before — that they will come into Ross-Ade and make even that marginal stadium a true home field advantage.

Make it happen, Purdue. We’re all ready.

I think it’s fair to say that just one season into the Jeff Brohm era, Purdue fans are almost unanimously excited (in a rarity within the contrarian world of sports opinions, I cannot recall seeing a ho-hum opinion on the job Brohm did in 2017) for the future of Purdue football, largely because that future seems imminent. And I also don’t know how many of those programs Purdue would trade spots with now. That’s progress.

The swagger is indeed back and yet it can also get more sizable. The excitement is back – in both sports – and there appear to be no more excuses. The effort, preparation and creativity are also all there in spade and, as predicted, the fans are showing their throaty support. In short, It’s a super fun time to be a Purdue Boilermaker. I wasn’t sure if or when I’d be saying that when I wrote those posts.

So again, kudos to the architects of all of this: Mike Bobinski, Mike Berghoff, Jeff Brohm and Matt Painter. And, of course, to people like Chris Forman, Kylann Scheidt, Charles Jischke, Paul Sadler and the many other hard workers (seriously, there are many with fan experience job descriptions – too many to list) who are doing a fantastic job in telling the Boilermaker stories and pumping up Purdue fans all at once. I’m sure it’s nice to have products that are fun to promote.

There continues to be work to be done, of course. Winning is fun but it’s only really fun and only really changes the culture if heights are reached that haven’t been before or haven’t been in a long time. Like, for example, since 1980.

Choo choo.

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