Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 3, 2012

It?s apparent that Cincinnati?s Butch Jones is the top target for the Purdue job. Colorado also is in hot pursuit of Jones. Jones was reported to be in West Lafayette on Sunday interviewing to replace Danny Hope, who was fired after four seasons with a 22-27 record. Outlets also report that Jones was in Colorado on Monday to interview.

Colorado is reportedly offering a five-year deal for $13.5 million. Jones, a hot commodity last year when he was linked to jobs at North Carolina, UCLA and Illinois, makes $1.57 million at Cincinnati.

[RELATED: Boilers react to Hope's firing on Twitter]

Jones, 44, has a career mark of 50-27 and has been an assistant at West Virginia, Central Michigan, Ferris State (his alma mater) and Wilkes. He is 23-14 in three seasons at Cincinnati. Jones was 27-13 in three seasons at Central Michigan before taking over the Bearcats. In each instance, Jones replaced current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

Logic would dictate that Jones-who is represented by Trace Armstrong–will make a decision soon. If Purdue doesn?t land Jones, it could go any number of directions. Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke has said he?d like to hire a coach with head coaching experience who comes with an offensive background. He also has said he?s willing to offer a competitive salary after Hope was the lowest paid Big Ten coach with a $950,000 base salary.

It?s worth noting that Burke has said he?s using Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson and Texans? G.M. Rick Smith, two former Boilermakers, as consultants-along with ex-Colts G.M. Bill Polian.

Some feel Purdue also may be looking at NFL assistants, including perhaps Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach and ex-Purdue assistant Greg Olson and Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino also reportedly has been contacted.

Others mentioned as possible targets at some point have been Illinois State coach Brock Spack, Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter, Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, Ball State coach Pete Lembo, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes and Kent State coach Darrell Hazell-among others.

Gold and Black Illustrated reported on Friday that the school talked to Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart.


Other coaches with current or former Big Ten ties are reportedly involved in some coaching searches.

Former Purdue OC Jim Chaney, who most recently held the same post at Tennessee, is being linked to the same job at Missouri. Chaney-a Missouri native–interviewed for the Mizzou head coaching job in 2000 that eventually went to Gary Pinkel.

Wyoming OC Greg Brandon also is being mentioned for the Mizzou OC job. He coached receivers at Northwestern under Gary Barnett and recently worked under former Mizzou OC Dave Christensen at Wyoming.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi remains a hot commodity, as he?s one of the best in the biz. There is buzz around him and the Boston College job.

Ex-Illinois coach Ron Zook is being mentioned for the South Florida job. Zook, of course, was the Florida head coach at one time.

Former Ohio State defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mark Snyder-the one-time head coach of Marshall and now the defensive coordinator of Texas A&M-also is linked to South Florida, where he has been DC. Snyder was the linebackers coach of the Buckeyes? 2002 national title team.

Ex-Ohio State receivers coach Darrell Hazell is being mentioned for several jobs, including the Cal post.

Former Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino was hired to coach Idaho. He was OC at Arkansas last season.

Former Wisconsin defensive coordinator and Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren was recently hired at N.C. State.

Northwestern offensive coordinator Mick McCall has been mentioned at Colorado.

Current Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner could emerge as a candidate for some jobs.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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