Back in 2013 Purdue was in the market for someone who could elevate a stagnant football program. At the time, Purdue had only been to two bowl games in the previous five seasons and had not finished with more than 7 wins since 2007. We thought a good hire, such as the highly lauded Darrell Hazell, would be able to take a decent foundation and boost it to new heights.
Well, it is plain to see that the move was a complete and utter failure. Now, prepare to be depressed as we see what ever other Power 5 program who has made a coaching change has done since:
Arkansas – Bret Bielema – 22-21 record – The Razorbacks went north to steal Bielema from a pretty successful Wisconsin program and have had mixed results. He was 3-9 in his first season, but last year, in one of the luckiest plays ever, he helped Alabama win a national title. Seriously. If Arkansas does not convert a crazy lateral fourth and long against Mississippi in overtime the Rebels win the SEC, not Alabama, and the Tide likely misses the playoff. This season Arkansas is 4-1, but 0-1 in SEC play with a loss to Texas A&M. They have a nice win at TCU to their credit, too.
Colorado – Jim MacIntyre – 14-28 record – Before this season MacIntyre was the only coach close to Hazell’s record of futility. He was 10-27 in his first three years at Colorado. Now he has the Buffaloes at 4-1 this season with only a loss at Michigan (where they held an early two TD lead). After sweeping the Oregon schools Colorado is in the top 25 for the first time in 11 years. If there was a road map to success finally coming in year four, this is it.
Wisconsin – Gary Andersen – 19-7 record – Andersen gets an incomplete as he lasted only two years at Wisconsin before moving to Oregon State, where he is only 3-13. He was 13-3 in the Big Ten, however, but was replaced by the coach that should have some to Purdue in place of Danny Hope: Paul Chryst.
Auburn – Gus Malzahn – 30-15 record – Purdue fans would be doing backflips right now if we had a coach with a 30-15 record. In the SEC West, however, that is considered putrid even if you did play for a national title in year one and came within a possession of winning it. There is a very good chance that had Auburn not beaten LSU, it would be Malzahn on the open market right now and not Les Miles.
Texas Tech - Kliff Kingsbury – 22-20 record – The jury is still out on Kingsbury, but he has had a typical Texas Tech team that is decent, but not spectacular. They have one hell of an offense, however, as they have scored at least 55 points in all four games this year. They are No. 1 in points at 59.5 per game and in passing at 547.8 yards per game. The defense sucks, but when you score 55 per game as long as you have a defense that can keep teams under 45 you are good.
North Carolina State – Dave Doeren – 21-21 record – The Wolfpack has been about as mediocre as you can get. Doeren’s best season was last year at 8-5 with a bowl win, but a closer look reveals they have beaten absolutely no one. Doren is 7-18 vs. the ACC and 14-3 out of conference. The losses were to Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl, and east Carolina twice. He has built a record on soft non-conference scheduling and beating the bottom of the ACC. This season’s win over Wake Forest is their only win over a conference foe with a winning record.
California – Sonny Dykes – 17-25 record – Like Hazell, Dykes was 1-11 in his first season. Since then he has produced a No. overall draft pick and got California to a bowl last season with an 8-5 record. This past week Cal upset No. 18 Utah to move to 3-2 on the season and could play spoiler in the Pac-12 North.
Kentucky – Mark Stoops – 14-27 record – Stoops joins Hazell in not having led Kentucky to a bowl game yet, but he has a pair of 5-7 seasons to his credit before this year’s 2-3 start. There have been a few near misses on ending their lengthy drought against Florida, but also a near loss last year to Eastern Kentucky. Stoops is a dismal 5-22 vs. the SEC.
Tennessee – Butch Jones – 26-17 record – Purdue actually interviewed Jones, but did not land him. He has had a questionable tenure off the field, but this year he has Tennessee at 5-0 as the luckiest team in America. They could easily be 0-5, but keep overcoming slow starts to notch impressive wins. They are now ranked 9th nationally.
Boston College – Steve Addazio – 20-23 record – Boston College went to bowl games in each of Addazio’s first two seasons, but were simply awful on offense last year. If you had Addazio’s defense paired with Kingsbury’s offense you would have the best team in America. Last year they were 3-9, but had losses to Florida State (14-0), Duke (9-7), and Wake Forest (3-0) in games where the offense did them absolutely no favors.
Purdue - Darrell Hazell – 8-32 record – We all know Hazell has been a complete failure, but this list makes the comparison more stark. Only Stoops at Kentucky has as few conference wins, and Hazell was damn lucky to get one of those because of the Ryker Fyfe meltdown last season. Fully half of Hazell’s wins have come against the FCS. Addazio has more with 5, but he has at least made a bowl game and has a lights out defense. None of this group has lost to an FCS team, though Stoops has come closer than Hazell because he was taken to overtime.
What really hurts is that Purdue could have had many of these candidates. Jones was at least interviewed. Dykes and Doeren were considered and while not great, are far, far better than Hazell. Kingsbury (offense) and Addazio (defense) both have attributes that would make them very desirable right now.
None of these coaches have yet to be fired, however. MacIntyre’s work this year with Colorado is quite impressive and may have him get Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Hazell and Stoops have the hottest of seats, and it appears they are racing to see who gets fired first.
Even then, Stoops has been better because Kentucky has at least been competitive.
Tommy Tuberville – Cincinnati – 28-16 record – Cinicinnati is one of the better “group of Five” programs and Tuberville has been decent there with two 9-4 seasons to start. He has been in a bowl game each of the last three years and has twice handed Hazell his hat.
P.J. Fleck – Western Michigan – 22-21 record – Fleck’s record is skewed because of a 1-11 first season, which was really a 1-12 start since Hazell beat him in the first game of 2014, but since then he is 21-9 and he has an undefeated Western Michigan in the top 25 this week. They could legitimately go undefeated this year.