Purdue is changing tracks, uncoupling themselves from four-year head coach Danny Hope, according to GoldAndBlack.com. Hope posted two losing seasons with the Boilermakers and eked out 6-6 this year. The former offensive lineman left his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky, to replace the mighty Joe Tiller in West Lafayette, but was never able to put together anything like his predecessor's 10 bowl trips in 11 seasons. Hope's best campaign came in 2011, culminating in a Little Caesars Bowl win over a MAC team.
The Hope era will be best remembered by most around the country for its incredible lack of injury luck, with seemingly endless waves of ACL damage wracking the backfield. Quarterback in particular was a constant question for these Boilermakers, with multiple players throwing 99 or more passes in three of Hope's four years.
As for Purdue's next station, well, looking at how extensive Hammer and Rails' list of coaching candidates is, it's pretty safe to say this has been coming down the tracks for a long time. The Purdue blog's bet for most likely selection (though not the one they'd most like to see):
Brock Spack - Head Coach, Illinois State - We all know this is going to be the guy that is right in Burke's wheelhouse given his history of hires. He even has a dashing Purdue ‘stache that fits the mold of Tiller and Hope and seems to be a requirement for the position. Spack is an alumnus and I would argue that the complete collapse of his defenses beginning with the 2005 season prevented him from already being our head coach. He was long believed to be Tiller's replacement-in-waiting, but that 2005 defense was so awful and showed little-to-no improvement over the 2006 and 2007 seasons that it forced Burke to look elsewhere.
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois head coach, tops the list of most-desired potential Boilermakers head coaches, along with Sonny Dykes of Louisiana Tech, Kyle Flood of Rutgers, Kliff Kingsbury of Texas A&M, and Mark Helfrich of Oregon.
Doeren's led NIU for two seasons now, bringing home an 11-win season, MAC crown and bowl win and generally keeping the engine put in place by current Minnesota coach Jerry Kill running. He was mentioned by CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman as perhaps Purdue's most likely candidate, so maybe good things are in store for Hammer and Rails. Will the MAC make another big delivery to the Big Ten?
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