Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The BS Coaching Consideration Wish List

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.

J's list:

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.


Purdue Matt said...

Kevin Kelley. He's the high school coach at Pulaski Academy in Arkansas that is ahead of the times with his football strategy. He never punts, never fields punts, often kicks onside, and wins state titles doing it. He understands that possession is more important than field position. Think recruits wouldn't want to play for a fearless, bold leader like that?

Also Gus malzahn if he's not too expensive.

kkeller said...

That would be a pretty big step from HS coach to B1G coach but I like the fundamentals you described. I was at Purdue when Tiller was hired and he literally changed the B1G with his style of football. More importantly it was FUN to watch. If anything I felt like he went away from that style of football at the end of his career.

Regardless a coach with a crazy philosophy and approach (like the one described) would be fun and exciting (kind of like what Mike Leach did for Texas Tech). I think that Purdue needs a coach with an identity and willingness to challenge the conventional thinking.

Kodiak33 said...

I think Flood is the best of the bunch or Riley. Flood would be the perfect pickup for a program like Purdue. I wouldn't want to leave Oregon for Indiana, so I can't see Riley leaving.

Great post guys!

Jim said...

Kevin Kelley is an idea worth pursuing. Anyone that innovative and independent in his coaching strategies might be similarly effective in recruiting and other aspects of running the program.

I live in Corvallis. Mike Riley would be a wonderful catch, but I don't think he has ambitions beyond finishing his career at Oregon State. He grew up here and is loved here. He has tried other things (San Diego Chargers) and seems happy with what he has now.

Plang said...

I would say Rhoads is over-rated and Riley won't leave OSU (plus OSU would probably match whatever offer Purdue put out there). Flood would be your best bet out of that bunch.

I would toss this name out there: Gary Anderson from Utah State. He is a little bit older (late 40's, maybe 50?) but he still has a lot of fire and passion for the game. Plus he is a strong defense-first type of guy that is bringing good recruits to Logan, Utah. I don't know what he's paid, but it can't be over $1 million.

zlionsfan said...

I like the assumption that there will be a reasonable pot of money to a) buy out Hope and b) pay for a decent coach and assistants. You could probably write another article about coaches who might be available if b) does not come to pass.

In fact, I think that's where Kelley belongs. He's certainly had a lot of success in Arkansas ... but he's not even coaching at the highest level in Arkansas (Pulaski is 5A; they go up to 7A), and I think it's fair to question what would be necessary to make that philosophy work in the Big Ten, or in any power conference, for that matter. (Can you imagine Nord running a four-down offense?) There's also a significant transition between high school and college coaching ... it's possible that he's perfectly suited to the role he's playing and wouldn't be able to handle some of the other things that a college coach has to manage.

Purdue might not be a step up from OSU (not that OSU), especially not with the way the Pac-12 has been struggling. Sure, it's no fun to have a dominant team as your in-state rival, but other than Stanford and USC, there aren't any year-in, year-out powers there. (Of course this year the Big Ten looks like that, doesn't it?) And it sounds like Riley is not leaving for anything.

Flood seems like the type of guy who could be drawn ... the chance at bigger paydays in a stable conference could be what he needs, even if only to use as a springboard to bigger things. (Of course Schiano aimed higher, but then he turned out to be a total jackass, and I wouldn't be surprised if after he flames out in Tampa Bay, his stock falls noticeably.) He might even fall into the next category, guys who are lesser-known but could maybe be hired for less.

Rhoads is probably more along the lines of what Purdue would need to get ... but that salary, yeah. Even in this hypothetical scenario, I'm not sure Burke could make up a package that could lure Rhoads away.

I think Jones is more the type of guy that Purdue needs to hire rather than the one they ought to hire. The conference is a step up, but the situation isn't ... he's already got a solid program at UC. The only thing I think could make this more attractive for him is if the BCS decays into a playoff where conference strength is a significant factor. The Big Allovertheplace is going to be full of bad teams, I think, and having a good record in that conference may not do a lot if strength of schedule is a key in this hypothetical-playoff-future of mine.

Other names? Chris Ault and Frank Solich, but of course they're both old. Why leave?

Charlie Strong at Louisville would be interesting, but a) he's done everything but said STOP SAYING MY NAME about rumors of him heading to other schools, and b) the Louisville AD has said he'll "match anybody's [offer]", which isn't hard when you have Papa John's money backing you.

I dunno. Maybe assistant coaches? A solid offensive coordinator who could at least put together a solid 2013 or 2014 offense? (Malzahn is young, but in his first season at Arkansas State.)

Mark Helfrich is 38 (??) and has no head coach experience (??), but has run Oregon's offense for four seasons (!!!). It might take money to get him, but he's a coordinator, so at least it'd be hypothetical head coach money against actual coordinator money. (Plus Chip Kelly can plug in any number of OCs, I think, and still get good results. This is as much about trying to steal some of Kelly's philosophy as about Helfrich himself.)

Mike Bobo is also 38, but has been an OC for seven seasons at Georgia. Richt is kind of under fire anyway, so one way or another, Bobo might be available.

Nick Rolovich is 33 (????), but was the OC at Hawaii for two seasons and is the OC at Nevada now. Like Helfrich, he's had experience with offenses completely unlike what we see in the Big Ten and here at Purdue. Unlike Helfrich, he has no major-conference experience, so he's significantly more of a risk.

BoilerByBlood said...

Great article! I always enjoy reading about the possible coaching carrousels, whether it involves Purdue or not. Out of the few you selected to highlight, I’d be most pleased with seeing Butch Jones of Cincinnati walking the Ross-Ade sidelines. It’s about time we hire a coach that can light a fire under Boilermaker Nation and I honestly believe he would have the perfect type of personality to achieve just that, getting the players and fan base re-energized and ready to go.

Now, the realistic Morgan Burke bargain bin hire— Trent Miles of Indiana State. Coach Miles has taken the Sycamores from the longest losing streak in the nation to a championship caliber program, most recently knocking off #1 North Dakota State in Fargo. His success has improved recruiting, graduation rates, facilities and attendance. He was also named the 2010 Coach of the Year by both the Missouri Valley Conference and the American Football Coaches Association.

PUhopeless said...

How about Bill Legg - OC for Marshall? He can certainly run an exciting pass-happy offense; he's a "Purdue guy"; he's not on anyone's list I've seen (="cheaper"); understands how an O line has to work, and he's under 50...

Mark said...

Morgan Burke recently was quoted saying that he is willing to look at any coach with a record of 2-7 at a A level HS in Indiana.

He thinks that the money we'll save will do great things for women's golf.

Row Boilers said...

Any research out there about coaches being successful at a lesser school and then moving to BCS job? My impression is coaches who win and move up are pretty successful. Guys like Hope who were middling at a lower level and move up (yes a smaller sample size, not many follow this philosophy)are not so successful.

Mark said...

"yes a smaller sample size, not many follow this philosophy"

I'd like to know ANYONE else that follows that strategy!?!

Kodiak33 said...

What about this coach?! Oh he's our awful OC. Good reporting by Mike Carmin.

Anabelle Bailey said...

The facts speak for themselves.If things do not work definitely have to think that is going to do with coach. Let's wait and see what happens.

James said...

Two suggestions. The first is Bryan Harsin of Texas. He should be available after UT cleans house. Harsin was Boise State's OC for some time and called the famous Boise State/Oklahoma game, which may be the very best college football game I ever saw. The second is a complete shot in the dark, Dale Mueller of Fort Thomas (KY) Highlands High School. Now before you laugh, and some of you will, Mueller has won five (that's 5 for you IU fans) Kentucky state championships in a row. I'd say he's a big game coach! Here's the scenario. Burke calls Hope into the office and says, "We're letting the entire offensive staff go. I'm hiring a new OC from Boise State and Texas(Bryan Harsin) and coach you know from Kentucky (Dale Mueller). You're on a short leash, Coach, you'd better get it done." Danny would see the writing on the wall. Then let the three of them fight it out for the 2014 season.

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