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Purdue Football Coaching Search: What We Know

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I tried to track down the few facts we know about Purdue’s secretive search.

Wisconsin v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This whole coaching search thing could be over in a few days. We addressed this last night on the podcast, but Purdue seems to be intent on closing things up as close to the end of the Bucket game as possible. I suppose that means there is a possibility the search could end even BEFORE the Bucket game, but we’ll see. This could be a good thing, as it might mean that a candidate like Miles is already lined up. It could also be a bad thing, as it might mean a milquetoast candidate like Greg Olson could be in line.

That’s all speculation, however. Let’s try to collect exactly what we know:

Purdue wants to end this quicklyOne advantage to a midseason firing is that you can do legwork behind the scenes before anyone else gets in on the coaching carousel. The only Power 5 conference teams in with us right now are LSU (who was in before Purdue), Baylor (potentially radioactive), and Texas (who opened yesterday). Purdue has had about 6 weeks to conduct this search, but an announcement his week would seem to eliminate anyone out there still coaching, like Fleck.

Les Miles has at least spoken with Purdue – This comes from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, but Purdue has at least talked with Miles. What the result of those discussions was or even when they occurred, we don’t know. At least we had a conversation with him.

Miles is not shy about who he wants as his coordinators – To me, this could be a very good thing. Miles is already working on the team he wants and that can streamline the process even more. Remember: We still have to accumulate a recruiting class somewhere in all this mess, and it is a class that likely needs more than a few instant impact players. The sooner Purdue can get a staff in place to get recruiting, the better.

Greg Olson has been interviewed – The former Purdue assistant has the blessing of Brees and was interviewed for the job after being fired by the Jaguars. He is also perhaps the most underwhelming candidate out there.

Troy Calhoun is “on the short list” – Another name that doesn’t sound like much of a fit, Calhoun is an option coach at a service academy, yet he has been in contact with Purdue.

Fleck “a focal point” – As we reported last week from 247Sports, Fleck is “intrigued” by Purdue in this and Purdue has made him “a focal point” in the search. I am not sure how far things have gotten, but if Purdue can be in contact with Calhoun while he is actively coaching a season I suppose it can be with Fleck as he is in the midst of an undefeated season.

Ed. Note: Fleck has NOT spoken with Purdue and will not until after the MAC title game on December 2.

No real confirmation on other names – Skip Holtz, Craig Bohl, and Brock Spack are foten mentioned, but I have not tracked down anything serious about them being interviewed. The most I have heard about is Holtz, as GBI has often cited him as being in contact, but who knows.

Begin Wild Speculation!

If Purdue is going to announce a hire this week by Sunday I think that makes Miles the favorite. I base this on complete conjecture and no inside information whatsoever. I think it just makes sense because Miles has been out there looking at the job landscape and has been very public about his plans in terms of coordinators and everything else. Naming him the successor this week would also lock him up before something bigger comes along. Texas could be interested. Notre Dame might come open and he would be a good fit. A few other programs could open up.

It just seems like there could be a match there because a lot of what Miles has said publicly (wants a challenged, wants a school’s backing, etc.) lines up perfectly with what Purdue has to offer (Purdue’s BoT says it will make a financial commitment, rebuilding Purdue is, indeed, a challenge, etc.).

Where we are is just an exciting, but also scary place. If the administration really wants to compete and show it wants to compete it makes the big move in getting someone like Miles. It is scary because with all this talk, I can see them picking Olson. That would be a 100% Burke-style move.

And maybe I am wrong. Maybe Purdue hires Miles and it turns out to be a disaster. Maybe Purdue hires Olson and we get a complete surprise. Both of those just seem unlikely. Miles would instantly improve recruiting, even if he did top out at 7-8 wins a year it is a huge improvement from where we are now. Miles would also at least create “a buzz”, which sometimes is more important. Besides, I would much rather swing for the fences here. Purdue needs to do SOMETHING to break its perception, and getting Miles would be it.

There is one litmus test out there I hope those in charge take. The public certainly shouldn’t hold final sway when it comes to a hire like this, but the reaction when a candidate is named should be considered because the fans know their stuff and they know who is successful and who is not. When the name Greg Olson was mentioned for Purdue the general reaction from other fans was laughter and derision. When Les Miles is mentioned it is generally a “Purdue would never do that, but if they did, it would be impressive.”

Shouldn’t that say something?