October 12, 2012
Kickin' It With Kitch: Expectations raised
"What have you done today to win a championship?"
These were the words above the door to the weight room that we looked at every summer as we finished our workouts. When I first arrived on campus that sign looked a little different. It read "What have you done today to beat IU," Coach Joe Tiller changed the culture at Purdue to the point where it was not enough to beat our apathetic rival. We needed to strive for more.
Tiller raised expectations at Purdue University to the point that Boiler fans started to really enjoy the success and begin to expect nothing less than bowl wins and championship. It got to the point where the fans were starting to get ugly at any loss and toward the end of Coach Tiller's tremendous career, he felt that he needed to talk about managing expectations publicly.
Tiller was a different kind of coach than the one we have now. When we would go in for our yearly sit down with him, he asked us three things: one tangible goal, one intangible goal and our prediction for next year's record. The first two answers took a lot of thought each year, but the last question took absolutely no thought on my part. It was always 12-0. I just could not imagine going into a game with a thought that we would lose. If that happened, then there is no sense in playing at all. Coach would always press me to find out what I really thought the record would be and I never wavered. I am not sure if he wanted to see if I would buckle under some scrutiny or if he really thought I should think we may lose some.
It has been a while since I have been in the weight room inside Mollenkopf, but I could imagine it saying "What have you done today to win a National Championship?" On the contrast of Tiller, Coach Danny Hope has no qualms about raising expectations. He wants everyone both inside and outside the program to know that he expects to win every week and if it does not happen it should rip the guts out of everyone. I think he made this apparent at the kickoff luncheon when he said that he and this team expects to play in Indy for a conference championship.
In the past years I have gotten frustrated with the small number of fans who are vocally against Hope and this program, but I have had a little revelation this year. The passion that makes them so upset is the same passion that drives them into Ross-Ade each home game, and travel and use their hard-earned money to be in attendance when the Boilers play for a conference and bowl championship.
Saying all this, get your tails out to Ross-Ade Saturday and watch some young men who want nothing less than to win a football game for Purdue University. We have guys who have come back from three knee surgeries and one even playing without an ACL, killing themselves on the field for us the fans. I don't know who will make a memory out there, but I will be sure to be there to witness it. I believe in the power of positive thinking. The goals are still in place and we as fans may need to ask ourselves "What did we do today to win a championship?"
Follow me on twitter during every game as I will let you in on what I see from the sideline @kelly_kitchel
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