The sad news of the day comes out of Minneapolis, where head coach Jerry Kill was forced into early retirement due to his ongoing health concerns. This is terrible news, but hopefully he can retire and live a long, healthy life away from the game of football. It sounds like stepping away is the right thing for him to do and I wish him the best for both he and his family.
This does affect Purdue as well. Kill was 4-1 all-time against the Boilers, including this season's victory that will go down as Kill's last as a coach. One of those four also came in 2009 when he was coaching at Northern Illinois. He was a great coach who knew how to rebuild a program and it would have been nice to see what he could have done (if healthy) at Purdue. The Minnesota opening also marks the third coaching opening within the Big Ten, and second in our own division (with Purdue playing at Maryland, the third, in 2016).
Regardless of what happens with our own coach Hazell, Purdue is in a situation here where circumstances have forced turnover at schools we will face next season. Only one came about due to a won/loss record as well. With Wisconsin in year one under Paul Chryst and Nebraska in year 1 under Mike Reilly, suddenly Darrel Hazell has the third longest tenure of coaches in the West Division (even though his Two FBS wins and single Big Ten win have him behind even interim Bill Cubit).
If Purdue keeps Hazell for a fourth season it will go into a situation where consistency will no longer be an excuse for continued losing. If Hazell is fired Morgan Burke is now battling three conference coaches for the next hire. It is a hire Burke simply cannot afford to miss on after striking out twice with Danny Hope then Darrell Hazell, who has been a clear miss so far. In fact, I would go as far to say that Burke should not be allowed to take part in the hiring process.
The new Minnesota coach would be walking into a good situation too. Kill has built the gophers into a dangerous team that was hampered by injuries this year. They also have a still new stadium and a new "Excellence Center" being built that makes our own addition look like we're adding on a new bathroom with Lincoln Logs. If you fire Hazell and you're in the market for a new coach where is said coach going to go, a place well down the rebuilding path or one that is basically at square one? Given Kill's mastery of Purdue it is clear the Boilers have a long way to go to even reach where the Gophers are now.
Barring a miracle in the final five games, keeping Hazell puts Purdue even further behind the rest of its peers. Kill did a fine job in building Minnesota up to a place where his successor has a platform for taking the next step. That makes it that much harder for Purdue to get even to Minnesota's level.