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November 30, 2012

Coaching Search Q&A

With Boilermaker administrators immersed in their search for their next head football coach, GoldandBlack.com caught up this week with coaching industry analyst and consultant Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com to get his thoughts on the Purdue job, the coaching landscape and more.

Here's some of what Roussel had to say.

GoldandBlack.com: Where do you see the Purdue job fitting in this year, with the jobs that are open?
Roussel: "Well, I don't think we're done with the number of jobs that are going to be open. I think that this Sunday and Monday there will still be a couple of coaches who will be dismissed. I think this year there is going to be some movement from current sitting head coaches that's going to create somewhat of a domino effect. You have to keep your eye on Sonny Dykes at Louisiana Tech, you have to keep your eye on Al Golden at Miami, you've got to keep your eye on Darrell Hazell and Dave Doeren, guys like that that could all get other jobs.
"But the Purdue job, they're in the Big Ten. There's no reason that you can't have a lot of success there.
"When you look at Danny Hope, I don't know if he ever really got the defense right. He went through three defensive coordinators. I know Donn Landholm was still on the staff, but in 2009 Landholm is the defensive coordinator, then he goes to Gary Emanuel, then to Tim Tibesar and it's hard to have any continuity when you're changing coordinators. To expect Tim Tibesar to come in and in one year, it's difficult for anybody.
"This game, make no mistake about it, it's about players. But with Danny Hope, it's not easy to keep coaches at Purdue because you're just not going to be able to pay them like you can at some other places. Five of the nine coaches that he had on his staff this year were with him in the beginning in 2009. Lou Anarumo, no one is going to blame Lou for going to the Miami Dolphins. He got rid of Phil Elmassian. It was an off-the-field position, but losing Paul Gonnella hurt too.
"I don't know how much of it is, to be quite frank, Danny Hope. I think there's certainly more capable coaches. He didn't just go in there and couldn't figure out the staff, he did some good things. He didn't get enough players in there. When you look at the roster, it's loaded up with Florida and the Midwest, he's got a bunch of guys from Pennsylvania. It will be interesting to see if the new coach carries on that same philosophy with really recruiting heavily in the state of Florida."

GoldandBlack.com: What are the most important things schools look for in head coaches?
Roussel: "I think the big thing is fans get so pumped up and disappointed and they always want to react immediately to the next head coach - 'Ahh, that's a terrible hire!' or, 'Ahh, that's a great hire!' It's not about that guy. It's about that guy and who he surrounds himself with in terms of the nine assistant coaches. That's going to be a big, big deal for the next coach at Purdue.
"The big things are it's not just about the head coach, it's about the nine assistant coaches. I think one thing that could help Purdue, if you take the stance that Mississippi State took with Dan Mullen or Vanderbilt took with James Franklin, they hired guys that really rallied a fanbase. They were open to do that, not just be a ball coach. I think Purdue could benefit from going in a direction with the opposite personality of Danny Hope with a guy that rallies people together. I'm not saying it's a prerequisite to have to have a Twitter account, but Danny Hope made a silly comment maybe five or six months ago when he said, 'I don't even know what Twitter is.' Well, Coach, at Alabama you might not have to know what Twitter is, at Auburn you might not have to know what Twitter is, but at Purdue you need to. Because you've got to create a buzz and you've got to create a brand. People fall in love with a brand. I think Purdue football lost a little bit of its swagger over the last couple of years.
"I think if you get a coach in there that can rally the student body, the fanbase, above and beyond his coaching responsibilities, I think that would really help Purdue. I do. I think you have to market the program and I don't think you can just recruit in the Midwest. You have to get speed. You've got to go to Florida, you've got to go to Texas. Somehow you've got to get players from Georgia and Florida up to Purdue. To do that, maybe they've got to get a coach that's from the South that goes up there. People are more familiar with his name and they've just got a feeling about the guy. The guy can market the program, he's got a staple, maybe his offense that he's known for. It'll be interesting to see what they do."

GoldandBlack.com: Do you consider Purdue an attractive opportunity for coaches?
Roussel: "There's no question. To get in the Big Ten, Purdue has had success in the past, you always look at that. The two things that coaches are interested in are, 'What's the athletic director like? Is he an enabler? Is he a guy that wants to do everything to help the football program, the coach and his staff?' and, 'Are they committed from a resource standpoint to be the best in the Big Ten?' You can't just do what everybody else is doing. You've got to try to do it bigger and better. I haven't been to Purdue in a long time, so I don't know from a facilities standpoint.
"There are enough coaches out there that there's going to be a guy, a number of quality, quality guys that are going to want the Purdue job. There's no question about that. But what the athletic director's like, coaches are going to want to know. Those are the things they'll research. It's not the location. The Big Ten is a selling point, but it's, 'Tell me about the commitment. Are we trying to do this or are we just trying to be middle of the road?'"

GoldandBlack.com: Do you think that the Big Ten is more attractive now because of the expansion or less attractive because of the added competition?
Roussel: "I think it's more attractive. I think every coach that's not in a BCS conference, they realize in a couple of years, they're done.
"College football is going to be a four-conference league. Everybody's trying to get to the BCS level. I think Urban Meyer to the Big Ten helps, I think the success that Michigan's had with Brady Hoke bringing them back. I do think that stuff helps."

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