Mike Cleff of WLFI in Lafayette got a one-on-one sit-down with the former don of Purdue football, Danny Hope. Part 1 aired last night and is available at WLFI's website. Part 2 airs tonight. I hope there isn't a cliffhanger ending... like Cleff asks him about what mustache comb he uses and then we fade to black, with Danny giving his crooked grin.
In the three-minute segment we're allowed to see (out of a purported hourlong interview -- I've asked WLFI if the complete hour will be available somewhere), Hope continues his rambling, sort of entertaining in the drunken uncle sort of way, about Purdue football and how unfairly he was treated.
Hope calls Morgan Burke out in the interview and says he should have "been a little more accountable." Not that I ever like to side with Morgan Burkce, but no, Danny, as head coach, you're actually the one accountable. The buck stops with you, as they say. For Morgan Burke, taking accountability means making the difficult decision to fire a man and to pay him his buyout. Let's not undervalue the fact that that is a big decision. (I did like the "behind the whistle" and "behind the necktie" analogies from the ever-quotable Hope. He kind of took the "behind the wheel" metaphor and applied his usual wire whisk.)
Hope also notes that the players wanted him to be there. That's all well and good, but they wanted him there because he let them run the asylum and get away with not even knowing their assignments on the field at times -- something that was apparent even to non-football experts like me. He and the coaching staff he champions were, quite simply, not at Big Ten level and were not getting the job done. This was made apparent numerous times over the course of Coach Hope's time at the helm (or behind the whistle, if you will), as we have documented here at BS. Losing to lesser opponents, not rising to the occasion when it was absolutely critical, getting positively walloped by good teams.... all of these are signs of poor preparation and/or coaches who are just in over their heads.
Going back to Hope's comments, I love this one:
"We hoped we had done enough. But I knew it was close. We had a tough stretch there and didn't come through at a critical time of the season and, obviously, had lost the support of our administration, athletic administration, and fan base."
You knew you'd lost basically all support possible... and yet it was still "close"? Nope, it wasn't.
The amazing thing about this is that if Hope actually believes what he is saying here, then he still doesn't understand that it was basically a done deal after the Michigan and Wisconsin embarrassments. And even if you cling to some kind of delusion that it wasn't over then (like if you're, oh, I don't know...Kelly Kitchell), then the bed-wetting at Minnesota where a truly bad Gophers team relentlessly pummeled and listless and disinterested Boiler squad (one we wrote may have actually been the low point) was for sure the end for Hope.
This interview truly means nothing, which is probably why nobody else was scrambling to get this "scoop." Danny Hope is old news and he's really got no feathers in his cap (despite what he surely thinks) that will make many of us look back at his tenure with any sort of fond remembrance. His time in charge was a low-budget experiment by Morgan Burke -- Burke has essentially admitted as much -- that did not work out. He took a program that had clawed its way to respectability after many years of awfulness and in four years presided over them becoming a punchline again.
That's as succinct as I can put it.