Dienhart: Purdue has decision to make on Hope

Purdue likely will have to make some type of decision on Danny Hope’s future. And a decision could be made this month.

Hope, 52, has just three years left on his contract, which runs through 2014. Coaches typically work with five years on their contracts for recruiting purposes. Hope had his contract extended one year in April 2010 following a 5-7 mark in 2009. In December 2010, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke balked at extending Hope’s contract after a 4-8 season. But Burke recently gave Hope a positive review.

As a point of comparison, Michigan State gave a new deal to Mark Dantonio in October that maintained a five-year rollover clause for the Spartan boss. At the time of the deal, Dantonio said in a statement: “This new contract expresses the loyalty that I have to our current student-athletes and their families and sends a clear message to current and future recruits that I will be their head coach at Michigan State.”

Again, maintaining a four- or five-year cushion in a contract isn’t necessary, but it’s a desirable situation for coaches who want to show recruits they have long-term viability. Hope has even said so.

Washington State just inked Mike Leach to a five-year contract with a three-year rollover triggered each year by the A.D. And Western Kentucky just agreed to a new four-year deal with Willie Taggart that includes an automatic one-year rollover on December 31 of each year through 2019.

Purdue's Danny Hope

US Presswire

In his third year on the job, Hope enjoyed a breakthrough of sorts in leading the Boilermakers to a 6-6 overall record (4-4 in the Big Ten) and the program’s first bowl since the 2007 season. Purdue will play Western Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Bowl later this month.

Hope, who was Purdue’s head coach in waiting under Joe Tiller in 2008, has a 15-21 overall record (10-14 Big Ten) during a tenure that has been marred by myriad key injuries on the offensive side of the ball.

Hope’s tenure also has seen attendance dip. According to the NCAA, attendance has declined at Ross-Ade Stadium in each of Hope’s three years in West Lafayette. Purdue averaged 45,225 this season. In 2010, the school averaged 48,063. In 2009, Purdue averaged 50,457.

On the field, Hope has some impressive victories. He’s 2-1 vs. Ohio State and in 2009 became the first Purdue coach to win at Michigan since the 1960s. But there also have been some dubious losses, including home defeats to the likes of Toledo, Northern Illinois and Indiana along with a loss this year at Rice.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Got something to tell him about this post? He wants to hear about it. Follow Dienhart on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart or send a question to his weekly mailbag here. You can also subscribe to his RSS feed.

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9 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (9 Comments)
Dave Barrett on 12/7/2011 @ 9:23pm EST Said:

Purdue Football is a joke. As an alumni, it is embarrassing that we cannot assemble a more consistent and competitive environment at Ross Ade. It is time that Purdue allocate more funds to the football program. Smart investing produces positive results, and positive results means more money generated. (ie: Wisconsin program). I currently send Purdue $35000.00 per year for out of state tuition. I am beginning to believe that Purdue has plenty of money. The problem is that they do not know how to manage it.

Dan S on 12/7/2011 @ 11:32pm EST Said:

Foremost, Hope has to compete with being “a basketball school”. Purdue (like Illinois, NU and Iowa) are never going to have the mystique and football traditions of the Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State’s of the Big 10. Also Purdue has to contend with ND, Mich State, Indiana, Michigan, Louisville and Illinois for key local recruits. Hope has done a very good job in my opinion taking over for Tiller who didn’t exactly leave Hope with a full cupboard. Win the bowl – ride the 7-6 into next year and Purdue should be able to start building up some teams.

    Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer on 12/8/2011 @ 7:44pm EST Said:

    No doubt. A win over Western Michigan will help give Purdue some momentum! Hope has been so snake bitten with bad injury luck. You’d like to see him have a shot with a full roster and minimal injuries. He deserves it. And I think Purdue will play well in the bowl. This is a motivated team.

Johnnyboiler on 12/7/2011 @ 11:37pm EST Said:

The Western Michigan will determine hope’s future. Attendance is the big thing with his contract. The Iowa game had to be the lowest attendance in about 70 years at Ross Ade. The fans are not coming because they feel he is not a good coach. However, Purdue is not going to go out and spend 40 million for a coach like Ohio State. I say another year is needed to see what takes place with the program. A good class coming in this year will help and may put Purdue at the top of the Big Ten Conference.

wolfmann on 12/8/2011 @ 3:38pm EST Said:

fyi, Purdue is 2-0 against OSU the last 3 years, they vacated the 2010 win.

    Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer on 12/8/2011 @ 7:21pm EST Said:

    You are correct. Sorry about that. Makes Purdue look even better!

Mike Tomasello on 12/8/2011 @ 4:48pm EST Said:

6-6 and a Bowl game one of the worst things ever to happen to Purdue football because it gives the argument the program is headed in the right direction. I like cheering for the win over Ohio State and a potential bowl game as much as any alum. Imagine, if we had gotten to the Ticket City Bowl against Houston like was expected…finishing 6-7 and getting blown out?

I don’t normally advocate judging a coach after 2-3 years was the Hope hire was questionable to begin with and had more to do with the fact that the Athletic Dept does not believe we can compete for a decent coach. But a guy with a mediocre record from Eastern Kentucky?

Wins over some of the worst Michigan & Ohio State teams ever. Who cares? When Purdue loses to Rice and Toledo and whomever else, of course better teams are not going to respect us and not try their best. We’re going to get an upset every once in awhile. Let’s see us win all the games we should AND then beat a good team. Northwestern can’t even halfway fill their stadium in their good years and they finish 500 and go to a bowl game almost every year. I don’t expect to compete for a Big 10 championship every year but we can’t have the success of Iowa or Northwestern? Wisconsin might have more money, but how can you argue they have a better recruiting base?

Nobody owns Chicago. Not Northwestern, not Illinois, not even Notre Dame anymore. Purdue can recruit Chicago, Cincinnati, and be the team in Indiana after Notre Dame since ND will recruit nationally anyway. We can’t win with that?

Too late now, but Kevin Sumlin from Houston has strong Purdue ties. Hope makes about $1 MILLION a year. We can’t get a Hot Offensive Coordinator or an up and rising Head Coach for that? Please. Cristobal from Florida International, Taggart from Western Kentucky, Doeren at Northern Illinois (from UW), Solich at Ohio, Toledo’s coach, and let’s not even get into coordinators.

END the mediocrity and let’s find someone who actually has a vision of competing for a title at least every few years or so.

Todd on 12/9/2011 @ 2:37pm EST Said:

Hope has to go. I’m not naive enough to think Purdue will ever complete for national championships, but is it too much to ask that they be 7-5, 8-4 on a consistent basis?
3 years on the job, 3 very bad losses to mid-majors. Not acceptable. It cost them a bowl berth in 2009. Including the home lost to IU in 2010, the Toledo loss cost them a bowl berth. And the loss to Rice this year set them up for the same thing. The Rice loss is the perfect example. Purdue has the talent to win, but coaching cost them. The go/no-go 4th down call that burned a timeout. Clock the ball on 1st down then run the ball on 2nd and 3rd to kill clock. Those were coaching decisions that cost Purdue the Rice game, not the players. It should not have come down to a scrambling Field Goal that got blocked.
Tiller went to decent bowls on a consistent basis. It slipped at the end, but for the same reasons you state. Hard to recruit guys if they know the coach is leaving. If Tiller shows anything, it can be done at Purdue. He took Jim Colletto’s talent and won. He took his players and won. That shows coaching can make the difference.
Purdue needs to move on NOW and go after Kevin Sumlin. They’ll only get one shot to bring him home.

jeff on 7/21/2012 @ 8:51am EST Said:

I agree with a few of you above. THere may be no Hope for Hope. Enough is enough. WE need to recruit a big time coach to get big time results. THe issue might be Purdue is not willing to pay the money so we have to just settle for medocrity for the rest of our life? Was Tiller pushed out because PU wanted better results? If so they pushed out the wrong guy. Bring him back. He probably has another Drew Brees in his pocket.