Purdue Fires Darrell Hazell

Understandably so, but firing the coach isn’t always the answer.

His record was not very good. Over 3 1/2 seasons, Darrell Hazell was 25-43, but that is more of the standard at Purdue than not.

Look at the history of the school and the coaches they have had over the decades.

Jack Mellenkopf was a very successful coach for the Boilermakers with an 84-39-9 record from 1956 through 1969.

But, his replacement, Bob DeMoss was 13-18 over 3 seasons. Alex Agase followed DeMoss after an unsuccessful career at Northwestern, and he bombed at Purdue as well with an 18-25-1 record. Not inspiring.

Jim Young was next in line and he was the opposite of DeMoss and Agase with a good run and a

38-19-1 overall record in 5 seasons at Purdue. But, he quit and took a year off before returning to coaching with Army.

The Boilermakers brought in Leon Burtnett and he stumbled to a 21-34-1 record in 5 years. He was followed by a coach that was fired by Texas, Fred Akers. After 4 losing records and miserable 12-31-1 record, Akers was shown the door as well.

Different coach, same results and then they tried it again with Jim Colletto and he was fired after 6 seasons and a 21-42-3 record and not a winning season.

Then, the Purdue Boilermakers got it right in hiring Joe Tiller away from Wyoming. From 1997 until 2008, Tiller led the Boilers to an 87-62 record. While that was not totally impressive compared to some programs best coaches, it was great for Purdue and they had some good runs including a Rose Bowl trip in the 2000 season with Drew Brees as his Quarterback.

However, as successful and respected as Joe Teller was, his last 5 seasons out of 12 were not all that great. In the 2004 season, the Boilermakers were 7-5, and they slipped to 5-6 in 2005.

The 2006 season wasn’t a lot better with an 8-6 finish. 8-5 followed in 2007 and Tiller’s last year was a 4-8 record and the end of fun at West Lafayette, Indiana.

After having a pretty successful 5 seasons at Eastern Kentucky, Danny Hope was hired to replace Tiller. It didn’t work and he was fired after 4 seasons which could have been a mistake because his record was 22-27 and his teams were competitive during his last 2 years going 7-6 and 6-6.

Why didn’t they just keep Hope? It appeared he was heading in the right direction going to smaller bowl games his last 2 seasons.

They fired him anyway and hired Darrell Hazell from Kent State. He was a head coach for 2 years

only at Kent State after coming from Ohio State during Jim Tressel’s tenure.

At Kent State, Hazell was 5-7 his first year. But, the reason he was so attractive a hire for a program like Purdue was his second season when he led Kent State to an impressive  11-3 record and a MAC Championship.

It was not good times for the Boilermakers after hiring Hazell. His first season the Boilermakers slumped to a horrible 1-11 record and one of Purdue’s worst seasons ever.

2014 was only slightly better with a 3-9 record. Last year, Purdue was 2-10 and not showing a lot of flashes of changing other than the Nebraska game.

 

In 2016, hopes were not much higher and after a 3-3 start, Purdue powers that be had enough and they didn’t bother waiting till the season ended and let Hazell go after losing 35-49 to Iowa.

 

Now what for Purdue?

 

Historically, this program has had brief periods of decent football. But, those good years are few and far between.

The fans might be talking about Les Miles the recently vanquished LSU coach, but that’s about as

likely as Purdue calling me and trying to hire me. Purdue would have to pay up for a coach like Miles.

Great coaches are hard to find and Purdue is a much more difficult school and brings a lot of challenges academically that some coaches could not get past. Les Miles was an outstanding recruiter at LSU, but that won’t work at Purdue because of the lack of talent in Indiana and the scholastic requirements.

I wish the Boilermakers well because I miss the days of Leroy Keyes and Drew Brees. That 2000 Boilermaker team fielded an Offensive Line that put all of their starters in the NFL and a couple of backups.

 

It is possible to field a good team at Purdue, but it sure isn’t easy.

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