Purdue Football Coaching Search: Butch Jones Rumors?

Andy Lyons

Could Cincinnati Bearcats coach Butch Jones come to Purdue?

Danny Hope gained a reprieve on Saturday. I thought that a sixth straight loss and an elimination from bowl contention would have merited a move from Morgan Burke. The victory likely assured that Hope will now finish the season because even with a loss at last place Illinois I can't see Purdue making a move for an interim coach for one game. The Bucket is too important to keep to risk losing it by a coaching change just before the game.

The rumors will still persist that a move is pending after the Indiana game regardless. I say after the Indiana game because you need to move on these things early and that is when most moves are made. Even if Purdue makes a bowl game I expect that if Hope is gone, the move will be made after the Bucket game and an interim coach would handle the bowl game while the new coaching staff works to keep recruits and such.

The rumors grew more legs today when Jeff Rabjohns tweeted that Purdue would be interested in Butch Jones at Cincinnati:

This would be very interesting. We're familiar with Jones because he spent three years at Central Michigan from 2007-09 after Brian Kelly (now at Notre Dame) was there. Jones then took over for Kelly again when Kelly left Cincinnati. Purdue, of course, played Jones and Central Michigan three times in a 14 game span because of 2007 and 2008 regular season meetings in addition to the 2007 Motor City Bowl.

Purdue won all three of those games, but was challenged seriously in the last two. The bowl game win was 51-48 on Chris Summers' last second field goal. In the third game of the 2008 season Joe Tiller broke Jack Mollenkopf's school wins record when Kory Sheets scored a last minute touchdown. That play was needed because Jones, ever ballsy, went for two and got it instead of playing for the tie late.

Career-wise Jones is 48-26 in six seasons as a head coach, three each at Cincinnati and Central Michigan. He twice won conference titles at Central Michigan and, counting this year, has won at least eight games in five of the six seasons as long as Cincy gets one more victory. He shared the conference title last season for the Bearcats.

Another interesting wrinkle is that Purdue is scheduled to open next season at Cincinnati, so his first game at Purdue would be against his old team. His offenses haven't been as dangerous at Cincinnati as they were at Central Michigan. Much of that comes from Dan Lefevour being one hell of a quarterback for the Chippewas. He currently has a guy by the name of Munchie Legaux, a junior whose numbers are not that impressive. That said, Jones is winning games in Cincinnati. That is the most important thing.

Honestly, I would prefer a Dave Doeren or a Sonny Dykes over Jones, but Jones is not a bad choice. His recruiting hasn't been off the charts with only three four-star recruits (Jameel Poteat, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Dyjuan Lewis) signing in his time at Cincy.

We'll keep an eye on this. I don't know how much truth there is to it, especially when Rabjohns is an IU beat guy and his "sources" are stashed behind a paywall at Peegs. Jones does make sense as a target, however.

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