We make it a point to post when Purdue news is coming down the pike. But honestly, Sunday's loss was like a punch in the gut to both of us. So in the wake of the unusual tourney upset for our Boilers, it's been a bit harder to do what we usually do- read articles, listen for the buzz and watch TV for emerging stories in a Purdue-centric sports world. All that said, the interwebnet is buzzing about something that needs to be addressed.
Matty's been named by a couple sources as a target of Missouri's coaching search. Sure, there's nothing from Mizzou or Painter that indicates he's been contacted. But, there's definitely smoke here...and why wouldn't there be? Painter's teams have averaged just under 25 wins/season the last five years. He took a Purdue program that was in the can in the wake of a legend retiring and made it a national story once again.
He's been able to lure big time talent to God's country, has helped develop players that were a bit off the radar and helped make Purdue a fixture in the national rankings again after a few years away from spotlight.
So when we hear that Missouri's athletic department might want to go after Purdue's head man, we understand why. Anderson, surprisingly to some (me included) has moved to SEC country to replace Pelphrey at Arkansas. Anderson had to pick up the pieces at Mizzou following Quin Snyder bringing NCAA scrutiny, and subsequent embarrassment, upon the program. Anderson did a great job...and like Painter, helped rebuild a program that was in bad shape (albeit for different reasons).
Missouri is kind of like Purdue in the fact that it tends to live a bit in the shadow of a couple monsters in their conference. And like Purdue, they've been able to even the playing field with a coach who recruits well for his system and gameplans and motivates even better. While Painter doesn't run a high-energy press like Anderson, he has a defense-first philosophy as well and knows how to win.
Missouri offered close to $2million to try keep Anderson in Columbia...That's a pretty large number and is hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Painter currently earns in West La La. Of course, Painter's numbers vary depending on the season and the incentives reached in that season. Burke and Painter negotiated a contract through '16 & '17...but one of the compromises reached was Painter had a free out clause in the summer of '11. Sure, that wrinkle in his contract only amounts to a $750,000 difference in buyout...and its timing isn't advantageous for a potential suitor, but it's still there.
Matt Painter is a loyal guy...but he's also a smart one. He's got a group of coaches who might be along for the ride if he decides to get into conversations with Mizzou. He also has a damned good Senior class and a bunch of players behind them that want to know he'll be leading them next season (and the seasons after that). Is Painter prepared to play poker with this situation? Who knows...but in my opinion, it's time to pay Matty as the market demands before this becomes an issue.
On the flip side, I'd rather not hear any of these negotiations see the light of day. If Painter decides to interview for this position, in my opinion, this exercise will have already gone too far. Back in the 80s and 90s, Coach Keady flirted with a few jobs outside of God's country, and no one won, in my opinion. It hurt Purdue's recruiting, it pissed off alums and Keady stayed at Purdue.
Everyone in the basketball offices has a chance to conspire together and make this all disappear before it's even an official story. Here's to that happening.