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February 26, 2013

Hope blames ticket sales

Danny Hope won 22 of his 49 games as Purdue's head coach.

But he blamed poor ticket sales for his dismissal and accused athletic director Morgan Burke of not being "accountable" on that end in an interview aired on WLFI on Tuesday.

It was Hope's first interview since being fired nearly three months ago. He did not respond to numerous interview requests by GoldandBlack.com after his termination.

"It came down to ticket sales. But ticket sales have been dropping ever since 2000. It's not all about what happens just behind the whistle. You have to have some accountability beyond the necktie as well," Hope said in the interview, which will air the second segment on Wednesday.

"I felt like if he had been a little more accountable, he'd not have had to exercise the responsibility of dismissing me. We had finished strong. The players wanted us to be there. We had hoped we had done enough. But I knew it was close. We had a tough stretch there and didn't come through at a critical time in the season and obviously had lost the support of our athletic administration and fan base."

When asked by GoldandBlack.com for a comment, Burke declined.

Hope said he didn't speak out sooner after his termination because he was "angry" and wanted time to reflect on his experience and "cool off."

It was the first time Hope had been fired.

Hope said he knew it wasn't an easy decision for Burke to make but also said he thought it was handled "unprofessionally."

"I deserved for it to be handled in a better way. I don't need to elaborate on that," Hope said. "But I really didn't appreciate how they handled it and I thought we had done enough and made enough commitment to retain our jobs."

Hope was hired to replace Joe Tiller, who brought Purdue back to prominence with 10 bowl trips in his 12 seasons. After one year as coach-in-waiting, Hope took over the program in 2009. The team won its first game but then lost the next five - by a combined 33 points - and finished 5-7.

In 2010, Purdue was 4-8, ending the season losing six consecutive games.

In 2011, Purdue reached 6-6 and bowl eligibility by beating Indiana in the finale and then beat Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

In 2012, the Boilermakers needed another victory over the Hoosiers in the last regular-season game to reach .500. Hope was fired on Nov. 25. Wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins coached the Boilermakers in a loss to Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl just over one month later.

Hope still is searching for his next job. He interviewed for the head coaching position at Florida International but former Illinois coach Ron Turner got the job.

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