I was talking with Mrs. T-Mill last night about content for the site over the summer. In reality, once the baseball team loses this weekend (and they will likely be done today against either Indiana or Iowa in the loser's bracket of the Big Ten Tournament) there isn't a whole lot of content until football season. Sure, I'll start with the Know thy Opponent series again, but there is not much else. With no #99 on the roster, tomorrow starts the introduction series of each player on the roster as we countdown to the season opener.
Mrs. T-Mill had an inkling though,. She suggested making day 99 all about the coaches. I thought it was a great idea. So today we will introduce the entire coaching staff as we count down to the kickoff of the 2010 season.
Head Coach - Danny Hope
Coach hope is entering his second year as Purdue's head coach after being the head coach at Eastern Kentucky for four seasons. While there, he won one Ohio Valley Conference title in 2007. That year he took the Colonels to the Division I-AA playoffs, but they lost in the opening round to Richmond 31-14. Before being head coach at Eastern Kentucky Hope was an offensive line coach at Louisville, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Purdue.
Hope has strong recruiting ties to Florida since he was born in Gainesville and he graduated from Miami Killian High. He later attended Eastern Kentucky and was part of their I-AA National title team in 1979 and captain of their 1980 team that was National runner-up.
Personally, I love Hope's personality. He is a hard worker that understands the new wave of recruiting, while still having an old school gruffness. He likes to have fun at games, as exemplified by his posing at Oregon last season. He also stands up for his players. There is, of course, the already simmering fued between him and Rich Rodriguez.
Off the field, coach Hope does a lot of good work, such as his Community Challenge to fight against Cancer. He and his wife, Sally, have a son, Chaz, who is a junior at Eastern Kentucky. He is also a running back on the football team.
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line - Gary Emmanuel
Emmanuel is returning to Purdue this season after being the defensive line coach at Rutgers the past two seasons. He was formerly an assistant coach from 1997-2004 at Purdue in the era in which we actually had a good run defense. We are known as the Den of Defensive Ends because of his work on the defensive line. Rosevelt Colvin, Akin Ayodele, Anthony Spencer, and Shaun Phillips are just a few of the names he sent to the NFL. It is hoped that his return will help bolster a run defense that has been quite awful since he left.
Emmanuel was an offensive guard at Westchester Community College in the late 70's. He later played two more years at Plymouth State, where he earned his degree in physical education. Everywhere he has gone in college football has seen defensive coaching success. This includes stops at Washington State, Syracuse, and Rutgers.
Co-Defensive Coordinator - Donn Landholm
When it was announced the Danny Hope was getting the head coaching job over long time defensive coordinator Brock Spack it wasn't a surprise that Spack left for his own head coaching position at Illinois State. Spack was long thought to be the heir apparent for Joe Tiller, but when the defense turned south starting in 2005 Spack's stock dropped considerably. With Spack's departure Donn Landholm, Hope defensive coordinator at Eastern Kentucky, stepped in. Landholm was hardly the big name some fans wanted, but in his first season the defense did show some improvement.
Landholm's philosophy is to have a turnover creating defense. That was a critical aspect in the upset of Ohio State last season. At Eastern Kentucky his defense led the nation in turnover margin in 2007 with 24 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries. He has also had career stops at Arizona State and Blinn Junior College.
Landholm is a graduate of Wayne State University and holds a Masters in secondary education from Central Missouri State. It is safe to say that his defense is still a work in progress in 2010.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks - Gary Nord
The Cradle of Quarterbacks is in good hands with second year offensive coordinator Gary Nord. Nord's first season can be qualified as a success. Purdue had solid balance between the run and the pass for the first time in years, making the offense unpredictable. 2010 should be exciting as well with many of the same weapons, along with a few new ones, returning. Nord will now get to use a versatile quarterback in Robert Marve as well as Justin Siller. Siller can best be described as a toy to play with. Nord should have fun lining him up at running back, receiver, and quarterback.
Nord came to Purdue from Florida Atlantic, where he served as offensive coordinator under the legendary Howard Schnellenberger. He is also a former head coach at UTEP. He formerly worked with coach Hope and Schnellenberger at Louisville. His son, Nate, is currently a tight end at Louisville as well. He is a Louisville alum himself where he also played tight end.
Nord is best known for his work with quarterbacks, a position that Purdue has some history with. He already developed a 3,000 yard passer in Joey Elliott, but I like that he also nearly had a 1,000 yard rusher in Ralph Bolden. So far, his offenses have been dangerous and have been able to move the ball against some good defenses.
Special Teams - J.B. Gibboney
Last year was the first year in a long time that Purdue had a dedicated Special teams coach. People weren't happy with Gibboney, either. In many areas our special teams regressed. We went from having one of the best kickoff coverage units in the nation to having one of the worst. Aside from Aaron Valentin's punt return for a score against Northern Illinois, punting was an adventure on both sides. We had a serious case of the fumbles all season on Special Teams, while Chris Summers struggled as a punter. Punt coverage was also tricky, with one punt getting blocked. A blocked field goal against Michigan State was also devastating, and may have cost us a bowl game.
There were some bright spots though. Carson Wiggs' 59 yard field goal was one, as was Al-Terek McBurse's kickoff return for a touchdown against Indiana. Gibboney faces a challenge by breaking in a new punter in 2010. In my internet digging on him I found out he was a pretty good baseball player too, helping his high school to a Pennsylvania state championship in 2000.
Gibboney is a graduate of Pittsburgh, where he was a kicker for two seasons. He has also worked for the Ray Guy Kicking Academy. Like many of our assistant coaches, he was on coach Hope's staff at Eastern Kentucky as a graduate assistant.
Defensive Backs - Lou Anarumo
Coach Anarumo has probably the toughest job of any assistant this coming season. He must replace the entire secondary with mostly unproven players. Fortunately, he is Purdue's second longest tenured assistant with seven years on the job. That gives us continuity in a place where we likely need it the most. This will not be his first rebuilding job at Purdue. He previously faced the same challenge during the 2006 season when players like Brandon King and David Pender were freshman starters. We should be in good hands though. Dennis Dodd named him as one of the top assistant coaches in the country back in 2008.
Anarumo is a former head coach at Harvard and defensive backs coach at Marshall. He earned his degree in special education from Wagner College before becoming a graduate assistant at Syracuse.
Perhaps one of the coolest things Purdue can do this year is unleash a former Navy SEAL on unsuspecting offenses. I doubt the NCAA would allow SEAL practices of infiltration, espionage, and demolition on defense. It's too bad, because otherwise Abe Trindle would be all-Big Ten.
Offensive Line - Shawn Clark
Coach Clark also has a tough job this year, having to replace three starters on the offensive line. He is in his second season on the job and is also a holdover from coach Hope's Eastern Kentucky staff. It is no wonder that we beat Michigan at Michigan with him on staff, as he is an alumnus of Appalachian State. While there he was a four year starter on the O-line and three-time all- Southern Conference selection.
Last year's line only allowed 20 sacks, but only Dennis Kelly and Ken Plue return as starters. Clark is working hard, however. He had Purdue in the running for offensive line talent Jordan Prestwood. Much of Purdue's success in 2010 will come from the job Clark does with a rebuilt offensive line. If they can be as solid as they were last year, Purdue should be fine.
Linebackers - Mark Hagen
The linebackers spots have long been a point of contention at Purdue. Since the solid class of 2003 left, Purdue has struggled to have three good linebackers on the field. Things are finally looking up as we return five solid linebackers and incoming freshman Will Lucas looks strong. Coach Hagen is Purdue's longest tenured assistant, having been here for 11 years. He is one of our best recruiters as well. Before coming to Purdue he was an assistant at Northern Illinois, making last year's loss to the Huskies bittersweet.
Perhaps most astounding on his resume is that he was a standout linebacker for Indiana. He was a second team All-Big Ten selection at Indiana. Anyone who has success on the football at Indiana is obviously an excellent talent, so I am glad to have him on staff.
Running Backs - Cornell Jackson
Purdue's next assistant comes at a position where we did not have a single healthy scholarship player in the spring game. That is far from his fault, however. Jackson is in his second year at the position, coming here after being the linebackers coach at Kansas State. He has also stopped at Arizona State, Baylor, Houston and Washington. While at Washington he faced off against Purdue in the Sun Bowl.
Purdue's running backs need to have a good year in 2010. With the possible loss of Ralph Bolden it will be up to Jackson to develop Keith Carlos and McBurse for the starting role.
Wide Receivers - Brian Rock
Our final assistant coach has been at Purdue for five years, working with a wide array of receivers. He came to Purdue from Western Michigan and is an alum of Bowling Green state University. I like what Rock has done because we have never been able to recruit top notch receivers out of high school, but we have still had production from the position. Look at what he has done with Keith Smith, a converted quarterback and safety. If you're ever in Alberta you can also buy a house form him.