There are many people calling for Danny Hope's job. We don't like to be among the pitchfork wielding masses and we don't like to call for anyone to be "fired." In addition, we genuinely like Danny Hope. Good man, good husband, good father. Not a very good football coach, though.
There are definitely scenarios we can foresee under which Coach Hope keeps his job. But if the spiral continues and this team just falls apart completely, we think the empty stadium alone might be enough to convince Morgan Burke to pay the pretty reasonable $500k buyout to rid himself of Danny Hope. We'll see, though. Burke, to our recollection, has not fired a head coach for anything other than gross misconduct in his twenty years at the helm.
But let's for the sake of debate say that Purdue is looking for a new coach for 2013. Doesn't the search sort of begin now? Don't you at least begin cobbling together your wish list? At Boiled Sports, we plan to give you some potential candidates to think over. Both B-dowd and I went about this separately and we had only a few overlaps -- and even some of those were just nonsense (for example, both of us would love a guy like Ohio's Solich, if only he weren't so old).
The way I went about it was to assume the following: Purdue has decided to actually invest a bit in its football program, realizing that success there will bring about more profit, a full(er) stadium, better athletes and thrilled alumni. Also, it doesn't have to be a "Purdue guy." As mentioned in the comments, this is completely overrated at a place like Purdue...or anywhere, really. Who cares of the guy once coached the offensive line?
So here is a list, in no particular order, of guys I'd love to see Purdue pursue. Boilerdowd will be along with his list of potentials tomorrow and then we'll share with you on Friday the guy who we pretty quickly agreed would be a good fit an we'd love to see the Boilers go after.
Mike Riley, Oregon State head coach. I like Mike Riley a lot. And I look at what's going on at Oregon State and I cannot stress enough how much of a parallel I see there with Purdue. OSU is not a traditional power, they had decades of losing before Riley got there the first time, and they are constantly overshadowed in their own conference and even within their own state. And yet Riley now has them in the top ten and 6-0. Their facilities aren't amazing. They don't have tremendous Nike money. They don't even have BTN money. And yet every once in a while, he gets them to rise up like they're doing.
The downsides to Riley are that he's 59, which is hard to believe, and also that at this point I can't imagine him having any interest in leaving Corvallis. Sure, there are greener pastures than Oregon State and the Pac 12, but is Purdue one of them? I don't think so. On the plus side he's only making about $1 M this year, which seems oddly low.
Kyle Flood, Rutgers head coach. Maybe it's because I live in NJ, but Kyle Flood is really impressing me at Rutgers. Just like Schiano impressed people -- and rightfully so -- Flood is taking a program that few outside of the alums care about (sound familiar?) and pushing them towards relevance. He's got the Knights at 6-0 and positioned for a potential BCS bowl game this year. He only makes $750K currently and while I know he's not proven over the long haul, he also doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who is easily in over his head.
I like everything he says -- which almost always starts with thanking the fans -- and when you consider the direction that Big East football is heading, it really doesn't matter how good of a job he pretends to think Rutgers is. Purdue would be a lot better. Flood is also only 41. I love the idea of a young, energetic, creative coach.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State head coach. Rhoads is a little bit of stretch on my list for two reasons. One, he makes too much and two, he hasn't proven a whole lot yet. He makes $1.6 M right now, presumably because Iowa State figures they lost Gene Chizik who went and won a national title two years later, which means the Cyclones were that close to a BCS national title...right? Maybe not.
Rhoads has a tough job at a school with (wait for it) somewhat limited resources and commitment to athletics. Yet he's gone to bowls in two of his first three seasons and has the Cyclones at 4-2 right now and, believe it or not, in the top 25 of the first BCS standings. I've seen a little bit of Iowa State over the past couple of years just by chance and he's got these guys buying in and not whining when things don't go their way. That's important at a program like ISU and at a place like Purdue.
Butch Jones, Cincinnati head coach. Jones is another guy who might be happy where he is since he makes over a million and a half, but this is the kind of guy who could whip Purdue into a winner nearly overnight, much like Joe Tiller did.
He's had almost nothing but success, coaching three years at Central Michigan and going 27-13 (20-3) there, including 11-2 (8-0) in his final season (2009) before replacing Brian Kelly at Cinci. With the Bearcats, he had one stumble his first season going 4-8, but since then has gone 15-3, including 5-0 this season. Jones has kept Cincinnati and CMU winning in the wake of Brian Kelly. Does he need Kelly to set him up? I don't think so.
Sure, he makes a lot and is in a good situation, but coming to the Big Ten is a step up for most of these guys, including Jones.
This isn't necessarily a "wish list" so much as a "wish they'd consider list." What I mean by that is that I would love nothing more than to see Purdue go on a protracted and diligent search for their next coach, whenever the time comes. Joe Tiller was a great hire, particularly at the time. If the time is now to begin searching again, it's a pretty important search for Purdue, in many ways.
B-dowd will be along with his list next. Please feel free to weigh in on your thoughts on these potential candidates.