Last month former Purdue head football coach broke the silence about his firing after last season in a sit-down interview with WLFI in Lafayette. Parts of the interview were posted earlier, but GeorgiaBoiler noted that the full interview is now available in 11, five-minute segments. Out of curiosity I gave each a viewing today. It didn't go well for coach Hope. Here is the Cliff's Notes version to save you a half hour of your life:
Coach Hope was first asked about the 2008 season and what he felt the staff did well during the season in transition where he served as the coach-in-waiting. As we know, Purdue was 4-8 that season and was a pretty bad 4-8. The highlights were playing a pretty good Oregon team close at home, beating a historically bad Michigan team, and kicking the living crap out of Indiana.
Instead, Danny completely and utterly dodges the question. He goes on a rant about being a part of half the bowl teams in Purdue history, being angry about his dismissal, and even tries to sell his 4,000 square foot home north of West Lafayette.
When pressed on what was done well (Academics, no NCAA scandals, beating OSU and Michigan, etc.) He agrees, of course, but I don't think he realizes just how pitiful his great accomplishments were. Yes, Danny, you beat a ranked opponent, but great teams beat MULTIPLE ranked teams. You beat Michigan at Michigan, but it was a Michigan team that didn't even go to a bowl game. He was proud about being the first coach in Big Ten history to beat Ohio State and Michigan in his debut season, but in the end it meant very little for a 5-7 team that fiddled away more games than it won.
This one begins with the dreaded 2010 season, where a ton of injuries decimated the roster. Always positive Danny talks about beating a ranked team on the road for the first team in years, but it was a mediocre Northwestern team barely in the ranking. He said that team really competed all season, but how do you explain the embarrassing loss to Indiana at home when they hadn't won a Big Ten game in their last 12 tries?
He calls being on the hot seat after 2010 an injustice. To a point, the spate of injuries played a large role in that, but on the field Purdue was not getting better. The undisciplined play that he started with never once got better and even when totally healthy at Notre Dame in the season opener Purdue was bland and predictable. He was 9-15, but "playing hard" according to him.
Worse yet, he said Burke told him to count on the fans and that they were always supportive through Painter's first year. He mentioned being disappointed that the fans weren't there. He pretty much blames the fanbase for not sticking with the team.
When he finally gets to the 2002 he says the team played eight great games, but lost two of them (Ohio State and Notre Dame) and talks about exceeding academic expectations. Again, he continues to deflect by saying Purdue was .500 in the Big Ten three of four years (math was not his strong suit) as if it was a great accomplishment. There is also more talk about APR raising and everything academic, which is very good.
You can pretty much ignore this, as the bulk of it is talking about raising funds and such. He states he gave the athletic department a crash course in managing a football athletic budget. Whoopty-freakin'-do. You returned a half million dollars in the budget, but said you needed more resources? WTF?
Finally, he is asked what he could have done better. He says his most truthful answer of the entire interview: He could have won more games. He follows this by saying he feels just one more win would have kept him at Purdue for 10 years. Really Danny? He then complains about the fans thinking he was an unpopular hire and the fanbase waivered in its support. Well, we were mostly on board to start and you had a great start, but it quickly fell apart.
More complaining here, specifically in Purdue starting late in catching up to the rest of the Big Ten in terms of facilities and such. He goes on to talk more about his work on the operations side of things instead of the football side of things and he also talks about fans being more upset in 2008 with the program than the first time. Well, that's because we were struggling and were down from the heights you helped build the program to.
He does admit that some of his original hires did not work, especially when he lost coach Spack. He complains also about Purdue paying the lowest in the Big Ten. Basically, the reason we were bad was that we didn't have the money to pay better coaches. I wonder where that money could have come from, Danny, when you returned $500,000 tot he athletic department.
This one is confusing because he starts by saying he covered too much and took too much responsibility for what was wrong while talking more about the negativity around the program. He says he always took the high road when it came to talking about the fans, his predecessor, etc. He says he never threw anyone under the bus and covered everyone too much.
He might have said taking the high road, but I think we all saw it as being completely separated and delusional from results on the field. The flowers and sunshine act was fine when Purdue was playing really hard and fighting his first season was fine, but when the team has clearly regressed and you're making the same mistakes on the field it doesn't fly after four years.
Not to be forgotten, he takes a shot at the fans, yet again, by saying Purdue had one of the most misinformed fanbases out there and he wishes he had a mole at "one of those websites" that always had the coach's back. Clearly, this is a shot at the fine Purdue blogging contingent. Gee, I wish there were examples of me being supportive and calling for more time out there. I didn't even turn on him until this post.
It's just ridiculous that a team is struggling and plainly isn't getting better, yet he is stunned that multiple fans and fan sites would call him on it.
This is where he is asked about how he felt when he was told he was fired. He said he wasn't sure it wasn't going to happen as if beating Indiana and going to the No. 7 Big Ten bowl was enough in a year when you were expected to contend for a Big Ten title was enough, but he felt it was enough to come back. He says it was handled unprofessionally, but felt he didn't need to elaborate in how it was handled, which makes no sense. You kind of do need to elaborate because we have no idea what you're talking about, Danny.
This is where he also blames the ticket sales and not selling enough tickets as part of the reason he was fired, as if winning football games had nothing to do with it. Damn us fans for not wanting to buy tickets to see a team crap itself in every big game. But no, it was Morgan Burke's fault for "not being accountable to football".
In this segment he was asked about coaching on the hotseat and saying it was difficult to coach there from 2010 forward despite the injuries. Yes, the injuries were unfortunate, but you started 4-2 through the worst of the injuries!
Next, he talked about attending the bowl game and he was surprised that he was criticized for attending the bowl game. I don't blame him for wanting to go and see his players, but again, how can you be surprised? He also said the game, "showed how valuable having your leader there can be in preparation." Sorry Danny. We saw your preparation. It was called the Michigan and Wisconsin games. They weren't much better.
Here Coach Hope talks about what life away from football has meant for him. I am glad he has gotten himself in shape and is taking care of himself physically after 80-100 hour work weeks. I don't think we all realize how much these head coaches put into their jobs these days, so at least he realizes some benefits of getting away from the job.
Unfortunately, he dodges another question to hock his wife's book. Given what she had to say about the media the last time we heard from her I think we'll pass. After that, he talks more about the overwhelming negativity of the fans. He talks about starting every year with great expectations, but Purdue fans turning on the team at the first sign of a problem. He says even coach Tiller's seniors felt this, so once again, it is the fault of the fans for football.
He points out that he said "Purdue football is no place for the squeamish and faint-hearted, and that includes fans, administrators, and media people. By now it is pretty clear that Danny has no love for the fans because they aren't loyal, the administration because they backstab him, and the media for constantly wanting his downfall.
The interviewer talks about him never calling out a player or an assistant coach, and he did so to avoid that negativity. Well, to a point, that is fine, but when you have players like Dwayne Beckford getting arrested multiple times and an offensive coordinator that calls fans not nearly as smart as him it is hard to avoid talking about all the bad things happening.
I am so glad to hear that coach Hope is looking for a job. Coming back to bash the place and fans that fired you is a great resume piece to add to that search.
When asked why he waited to do the interview was that he wanted to let everyone know he left with his head held high. Well, we don't care, Danny. We just care that you left. It doesn't matter that you feel we played well in eight games. In the biggest games you weren't even competitive. Even when asked about winning his last three games and what it meant he trumpets beating the three worst teams in the Big Ten as if it should overcome the fact Purdue was less than a no-show before it mattered.
Really, nothing of note is said here, but nothing else needs to be said. It is just stunning at the amount of thinly-veiled vitriol he has towards the Purdue fanbase, as if the constant negativity formed a physical cloud that prevented his teams from succeeding. The good news is that he is gone, and I guess we move on to ruining coach Hazell's spectacular career now. Myself, Boiled Sports, and the Railroad Tie are nefariously hard at work on that project as we speak since we are the ones who run everything from "those websites".