After four seasons as Purdue's head football coach, Danny Hope is out.
GoldandBlack.com has learned Hope and players were informed Sunday, a day after Purdue's bowl-clinching win over Indiana, that Hope would not be retained. In four seasons as Purdue's head coach, Hope was 22-27, including the 4-8 record the Boilermakers posted in 2010, a season virtually destroyed by injury. Purdue will play in its second consecutive bowl game.
Purdue formally announced Hope's dismissal around 5:15 p.m. Sunday evening.
"There is no question that our football program has seen considerable growth under Danny's leadership, particularly in the areas of academics, player development and recruiting," athletic director Morgan Burke said in a released statement. "I applaud him for his passion about Purdue University and the young men he coaches. He and his staff have devoted their lives to improving the program, but as I told him earlier this afternoon, those efforts did not equate to the consistent on-field success that both of us expected.
The Boilermakers are awaiting a bowl berth, which could be announced tonight. It was announced in conjunction with Hope's firing that wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins would serve as interim coach in the bowl game. Higgins has already been handling offensive coordinator duties on an interim basis following Gary Nord's injury.
Purdue won seven games in 2011 and won the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, its first bowl appearance since 2007.
But the Boilermakers - with a team Hope called his best since he's been at Purdue - came into 2012 hoping for more, considered following a 3-1 start to be a potential contender in the Big Ten's Leaders Division among those programs eligible to play in the Big Ten title game.
But the opening of the Big Ten season was an unmitigated disaster for Purdue, which lost its first five conference games, four of them by way of blowout. The Boilermakers rebounded to beat struggling Iowa and Illinois, then Indiana, to become bowl-eligible, but it wasn't enough to save Hope.
GoldandBlack.com had learned that it was the second of those blowouts, a 38-14 loss to Wisconsin Oct. 13, that essentially sealed Hope's fate and compelled Purdue to decide a change would be made following the season.
And in recent weeks, Purdue, as it did a year ago prior to extending Hope's contract, mobilized for a coaching search, researching potential candidates and asking for monetary contributions, seeking to put together a war chest of a targeted amount of around $4.5 million for its pursuit of its next staff.
Among the coaches Purdue is interested in, according to sources, are Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren, Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and others.
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