November 12, 2012
Photo story: Coaches in the snow
Purdue fans have endured more than its fair share of bad weather this season. Sure, it is November and it is Indiana, where they say if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. But in the last month alone, fans have endured rain (Wisconsin), wind (Michigan), unseasonable cold (Penn St.), then unseasonable warmth (Iowa).
But weather-wise, nothing matches this crazy afternoon in El Paso, Texas in 2001. While the Purdue football team posed for the Sun Bowl team photo beneath a bright, blue chamber of commerce sky, a freaky snowstorm unexpectedly blew into the Sun Bowl stadium. Then just as quickly, it was gone.
Most assistant coaches don't stay in one place very long either . Some tenures seem to last about as long as this west Texas duster. It is the nature of the business. Last year Purdue had an assistant who has coached at 13 different schools. He even coached two separate times at Purdue.
It's only been 11 years since this photo was taken, yet none of the coaches in this photo still coach at Purdue. Brock Spack was the last one to leave, heading to Illinois State after the 2008 season.
But they stayed longer than most and played a huge part in the success of the program. That's Scott Downing on the left. He was Purdue's assistant head coach and came with Joe Tiller from Wyoming when Joe was named head coach at Purdue in 1997. He's now at Tulsa after stops at Nebraska and Northern Colorado.
That's Tiller next to Downing. He's the one who looks unperturbed by the snow. And why not? After all, he lives in Wyoming, where dust ups like this have a name. July.
Greg Olson is next to Tiller. He was Purdue's quarterback coach and now holds a similar position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's also has worked for the Lions, Buccaneers and Rams in the NFL.
Next are my two all-time favorite Purdue assistant coaches, Jim Chaney and Spack. Actually, Mark Hagen is in between Chaney and Spack. He's now coaching at IU, so we won't even go there. Chaney has worked at Western Michigan, Cal State-Fullerton, Wyoming, Purdue and Tennessee with a NFL stint in St. Louis thrown in for good measure.
I think GPS was invented just so Chaney would be able to find his way home to all of his new addresses.
Spack is the only one with job stability. He's been the head coach at Illinois State since leaving Purdue after the 2008 season and is dong well there.
Yes, a realtor could make a pretty good career catering just to assistant football coaches. In all kinds of weather.
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