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Settle In: Why Darrell Hazell Won’t Be Fired In 2016

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we had better hope Darrell Hazell can turn it around because we're pretty screwed otherwise.

There should be dollar bills falling on him in this picture.
There should be dollar bills falling on him in this picture.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There is a general consensus around here that Darrell Hazell will be fired after this season. By most metrics, he has earned that firing. He has the worst winning percentage of any long term coach in the history of Purdue football. There is little excitement for the season as Purdue will be picked to finish last in the Big Ten for a fourth straight year. While there is at least a small hope that Terry Malone can turn around a dismal offense, a gigantic question mark of an offensive line negates that hope.

Yeah, we're likely in line for another for 3-9 season, if we're lucky. Normally, that would be enough to fire any coach, as it would leave Hazell at 9-39 through four seasons.

He won't be fired, however.

You see, contrary to what Morgan Burke said last year, his gigantic buyout will prevent the cost-conscious athletic department from making any sort of move. Here is how the buyout breaks down over the next few seasons:

If he's fired: Hazell is paid the money he would have earned through the unexpired part of the contract, except bonuses.

That means he receives his base salary, supplemental compensation (for media and public appearances) and "supplemental retirement contributions." Here are examples of the potential payments.

  • Jan. 1, 2015: $8,700,000.
  • Jan. 1, 2016: $6,600,000.
  • Jan. 1, 2017: $4,450,000.
  • Jan. 1, 2018: $2,250,000.

There really should be quotes around "earned" in the above excerpt. He has not earned jack squat so far, as we have paid him more than a million dollars per win to this point. With $4.45 million due even after another awful season there is no way that we pay that buyout, but it will be explained away as "having seen tangible progress" that may not show up in the team's record.

I am completely confident that Purdue would not even touch that buyout. Nevermind that increased season ticket sales and such would quickly make up for it if a competent coach were hired. This buyout is so bad that Matt Painter, a coach that has actually accomplished a thing or two in his tenure, has only a slightly higher buyout:

If he's fired: Painter is paid the money he would have earned in the unexpired part of the contract, except bonuses.

That means he receives his base salary, supplemental compensation (for media and public appearances) and "supplemental retirement contributions." Here are examples of what it would cost if he's fired on the last day of the fiscal year.

  • June 30, 2015: $9,750,000.
  • June 30, 2016: $7,350,000.
  • June 30, 2017: $4,925,000.
  • June 30, 2018: $2,475,000.

Say what you will about Painter, but he has at least won regular season games, made Purdue a regular in the NCAA Tournament, and is one of only five active Big Ten coaches that can boast a Big Ten Championship. Hazell could barely spell "Big Ten" if you gave him a letter for each win.

The second factor is the departure of Morgan Burke. There is no definite timetable on when he is going to be replaced, but his retirement is not official until next summer. He has said that when his replacement is selected he will basically step back and let the new guy take over. The clock is ticking there. If said replacement is not chosen before the season ends there is even less chance of Hazell being fired. Burke would not have the chutzpah to pull the trigger on a $4.45 million buyout, and there is no way we want him anywhere near the new coaching search. This is the same person that guaranteed more than $12 million for a MAC coach that had one good year and has turned out to be a disaster in the Big Ten. That means a replacement needs to be found and hired in approximately 7 months.

So, to recap, here are the only likely ways we're getting rid of Hazell after the 2016 season:

1. He miraculously directs Purdue to a National Championship and is hired away by a bigger school or the NFL.

2. An anonymous sugardaddy donor fronts the money.

3. A Kickstarter started by this very blog raises $4.45 million.

4. Hazell commits/is framed for a crime that causes him to be fired for cause (no, what he has done to Purdue football is sadly not able to be prosecuted).

5. Hazell commits massive recruiting violations and is fired for cause (which, if so, he is clearly doing it wrong).

6. Aliens abduct him.

7. Burke/his replacement come to their senses and actually fire him, buyout be damned, and go against every financial statement and fiscal history the school has shown under Mitch Daniels.

Buckle up.