Purdue fired head coach Darrell Hazell? Now what? Who are the 5 top coaching options to replace him?
5 Coaching Options To Potentially Replace Darell Hazell
According to the Indianapolis Journal Star, the Darrell Hazell era at Purdue has come to a swift and merciful end following the ugly 49-35 loss to Iowa to finish off a 9-33 career with just three wins in the Big Ten over his tenure of three seasons and six games.
Purdue has to pay off the remaining two years of his contract – roughly $4 million – in a case of needing to marry him or cut bait. Had the Boilermakers kept Hazell, they would’ve had to give him a contract extension beyond the 2018 season, and that just wasn’t going to happen.
For now, it’ll be receivers coach Gerad Parker taking over with a trip to Nebraska up next week.
So now what? Who can Purdue get, and who’s going to want this gig?
Yeah, it’s a Big Ten head coaching job, but there’s no recruiting base whatsoever. On the plus side, the job is in the West, and not the East with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State to deal with. Get the right mix, get the right quarterback, and it really is possible to win in West Lafayette. If Indiana can improve and be decent, so can Purdue.
With all that in mind, who are the five top options I’d take a first look at if I was Purdue AD Mike Bobinski?
5. Brock Spack, Illinois State
The former Purdue linebacker and longtime defensive coordinator has been terrific for Illinois State over the last eight years, winning the last two Missouri Valley Conference titles going 25-5 overall. However, his Redbirds sort of stink this year, even with a win over Northwestern.
Spack was up for the Purdue gig in 2008, but Danny Hope got it, Spack went to ISU, and he’s had a good run. But does Purdue want to keep this in the family that much? Is Spack really good enough to bring the hope and change the program desperately needs? Probably not, but he proved himself over the last several years on the lower level.
4. Greg Schiano, Ohio State co-defensive coordinator
Along with P.J. Fleck and Lane Kiffin, there won’t be any coaching list that shouldn’t have Schiano on it.
Working with Luke Fickell, Schiano is doing wonders with a rebuilt Buckeye D that’s doing just aboue everything right. Sure, it’s Ohio State, and it’s going to have the talent and athleticism Purdue can’t get, but Schiano proved he could win at Rutgers, he’s got the pro background, and he knows the Big Ten. However, he might be thinking about the Penn State job if James Franklin falters over the second half of the season.
3. Scott Frost, UCF
I look into it, even though I know there’s Oregon and, someday, Nebraska there waiting for him.
It might be a stepping-stone job, and it might not be realistic, but if Frost really is an upwardly mobile head coach – and who isn’t? – the 41-year-old from Nebraska might just have the right style of offense and the right scheme to overcome the problems recruiting.
Again, though, Oregon might be too sweet to pass up if the Mark Helfrich era is done.
2. Jeff Brohm, WKU
Is he going to want an even bigger job than Purdue? Only 45, he’s a young, smart, rising offensive mind who’s ideal for Louisville – where he played and was an offensive assistant – but won’t have a shot at the job for a while. From Louisville, he knows the general region and proved he could produce no matter what with the personnel he has at his disposal.
The Hilltoppers are good, but they’re not roaring at the moment in Conference USA play, making him a bit more of an option than he might have been at the end of last year. This also gets Purdue out of the MAC coaching circle, which wouldn’t be bad if the program can get …
1. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan
Does Purdue want to go the MAC route again after it failed with Hazell? Fleck is a far, far better prospect than Hazell was.
The bigger question is whether or not Fleck would want the job. He’s way too hot right now with his loaded Western Michigan team rocking and rolling with a 7-0 record and a likely 13-0 season before going bowling. He’s only going to turn 36 this year, he’s a true builder, and he’s just strong enough a prospect to be a great get if Purdue can somehow secure him.
But again, he might be pushing for a bigger job and a larger payday.