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Purdue Football Coach Fashion Through the Years

It could really be the history of the mustache.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It is the offseason, which means there is little to write about. Sure, for now we have baseball and we’re lightly on Francis Okoro watch, but even that will soon give way to the desolate wasteland of June. What better time than to talk about head coach fashion?

Coaches are the face of the program. They are paid millions of dollars each year to often be the front and center face of the entire University. After all, Jeff Brohm is the highest paid Purdue employee, so of course his face is out there. The TV cameras always find the coach on the sideline, so he has to look his best.

Fashion changes over time, however, so let’s see how Purdue coaches have looked over the years.

Albert Berg

Albert Berg was Purdue’s first coach during its single game 1887 season. Purdue lost 48-6 to Butler and he was only 23 years at the time, so the picture here is much later in life. According to his Wikipedia page, he was deaf from a bout with spinal meningitis as a kid, was a paid a dollar for each lesson he taught the football team, and he only had a week to prepare for the first game on October 29, 1887. It was described by the legendary George Ade as:

“a low comedy reproduction of the Custer massacre at Little Big Horn,” and noted that the deaf Berg had been given an unenviable task to “take charge of the halt, the lame, the blind, and the perniciously anemic to imbue them with stamina, courage and strategy.”

There is also this gem:

According to another account, Berg’s coaching “consisted of excited sign language and some rather bizarre sounds from his throat which his players correctly translated as pure profanity.”

I would still take him over Darrell Hazell and John Shoop.

George Reisner

IT’S GENE KEADY WITH A MUSTACHE! Purdue’s second ever coach was the one with the first win. He coached the 1889 team to a 2-1 record, then later became an archaeologist. So not only did he establish the proud Purdue football mustache tradition, he was also Indiana Jones.

Clinton L. Hare

Hare coached Purdue during the 1890 season and this handsome lad was only 26 at the time. He lead Purdue to a 54-0 win over Wabash and a 62-0 win over Illinois. We then lost him to DePauw. It is probably the only time we would ever lose a football coach to DePauw unless Fred Akers fled there.

Knowlton Ames

Ames is the greatest coach in Purdue Football history. There is little doubt of this:

  • He rushed for 62 touchdowns and scored an unofficial college football career record 730 points playing for Princeton from 1886-89
  • His nickname was “Snake”
  • He was 12-0 in two years as Purdue’s coach from 1891-92 at only age 23.
  • It was after the 44-0 defeat of Wabash in 1891 that Purdue was referred to as the “Boilermakers”.
  • His 1891 team outscored opponents 192-0 and the next year was 8-0 by an aggregate of 320-24
  • Mustache? CHECK!
  • He beat Indiana 60-0 and 68-0 in the first two games of the Indiana-Purdue football series and we have never trailed them since.

D.M. Balliet

Balliet is the only coach at Purdue that had two separate stints. He was coach from 1893-95 and again in 1901, amassing a 22-10-2 record in that time. This was after he coached Auburn in the first ever Auburn-Alabama game (won by Auburn 32-22). In 1894 Purdue was 8-1 and beat the famous Amos Alonzo Stagg. His reason for leaving Purdue? He went to join the Klondike gold rush in 1895. He came back for the 1901 season where Purdue was 4-4-1.

Still, the bowler hat and mustache? superb! He looks like Bill the Butcher.

Samuel M. Hammond

Hammond only coached the 1896 season for Purdue, leading us to a 4-2-1 record, but he coached in the first Purdue-Notre Dame game, a 28-22 win.

Mustaches always win.

William Church

Church coached Purdue for only the 1897 season, leading us to a 5-3-1 record. No mustache, but that windbreaker was on point for the modern day. He missed his calling by 120 years.

Alpha Jameson

Jameson was Purdue’s coach from 1898-1900 and went 11-11. he also was the first coach to lose to Indiana after Purdue had won the first six games. He lost to them twice, in fact. It is not a coincidence he had no mustache.

Charles Best

I don’t know who the first coach to wear a bow tie was, but Best, who coached Purdue in 1902 to a 7-2-1 record, definitely could rock it. In fact, he rocked it so hard he was also the basketball coach and had a 10-3 record during the 1901-02 season.

Oliver Cutts

Pretty drab fashion for Cutts here, and as a result Purdue was 13-5 in his two years as coach from 1903-04. He does deserve credit for rallying the team through the Purdue Wreck of 1903.

Albert Hernstein

Purdue was a one-year stop in 1905 for Hernstein, but he led Purdue to a 6-1-1 record before Ohio State hired him away. He is basically the devil in Columbus, as he scored 5 touchdowns in an 86-0 beat down for Michigan over the Buckeyes. Before Purdue he coached at the Haskell Indian School.

Myron Witham

Witham was only at Purdue in 1906 and went 0-5. It was enough that he didn’t coach again for 14 years before resurfacing at Colorado, where he went 63-26-7. His team scored only 5 points all year.

Leigh Turner

Like Witham, Turner was at Purdue just one year and went 0-5. His team scored just 10 points in extending Purdue’s losing streak to 10 games. Purdue wouldn’t lose 10 straight again until 2013 and it only felt like the Shoopfense scored 10 points that year. Not a mustache is in sight at this point.

Frederick Speik

Speik lost the first game in 1908 to give Purdue its longest losing streak ever at 11 games, but recovered to go 6-8 overall in his two years. His hat game was on point.

Bill Horr

I wish Horr coached in shorts, but alas, that is him winning bronze at the 1908 Olympics. Two years later he became Purdue’s coach from 1910-12 where he was a mundane 9-14-2.

Andy Smith

Smith went on to a fantastic career at California, where he was 74-16-7 and went to a pair of Rose Bowls. At Purdue he was 12-6-3 from 1913-1915. That collar though...

Cleo O’Donnell

O’Donnell was coach in 1916 and 1917 with a forgettable 5-8-1 record. Of course, World War I was going on at the time.

Arthur Scanlon

I assume Scanlon was wearing the sweater to ward off the worldwide influenza epidemic. He coached from 1918-20 and was a meager 7-12-1.

William H. Deitz

He looks like a fatter Babe Ruth, but at least Dietz was interesting. He coached Purdue to a 1-6 record in 1921 and was fired for illegal recruiting. Given his 1-6 record he must have been really bad at it. He later claimed to be of Native American heritage when he may not have been.

James Phelan

That image just oozes confidence, and Phelan had it. He was Purdue’s first true long term coach and he had a 35-22-5 record from 1922-29. He also led Purdue to an undefeated season in 1929 and our lone outright Big Ten championship in school history. As a result, it is time to bring back the half-zip pullover.

Noble Kizer

Kizer was dapper off the field and excellent on it. He did not let the Great Depression get in his way as Purdue went 42-13-1 in his seven years from 1930-36. That included consecutive Big Ten championships (yes, in football!) in 1931 and 1932. The 7-0-1 team in 1932 is officially recognized as a Parke-Davis National Champion.

Allen Elward

Purdue’s first openly bald coach was a disaster, going 16-18-6 in five years from 1937-41. He lost more games in five years than Kizer did in his entire tenure. HE DIDN’T EVEN WEAR A TIE!

Elmer Burnham

That simple t-shirt and patience led to maybe Purdue’s best ever team. The Boilers were 1-8 in his first season in 1942, but the influx of talent due to wartime training led to a 9-0 record in 1943 and a legitimate claim to a National Championship.

Cecil Isbell

What is it with the white t-shirts only? It didn’t work too well for Isbell, who was 14-14-1 in his two years. The important thing is we were 3-0 as a country beating Italy, Germany, and Japan (yes, I know the Soviets did the vast bulk of the work against Germany, but USA NO. 1!).

Stu Holcomb

Are we sure Morgan Burke wasn’t in charge earlier? Holcomb might rock a good suit, but he couldn’t even be aggressively mediocre for his 9 years from 1947-1955. Purdue was 35-42-7, but he did win a Big Ten title in 1952.

Jack Mollenkopf

Just look at this beautiful man. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting of a 1960s college football coach. He coached Purdue for a record 14 years from 1956-69, went 84-39-9, and is the only Purdue coach to win a Rose Bowl. His final five teams were all national championship contenders too. I give credit to the hat.

Bob DeMoss

He looks like Bruce Weber and he almost immediately tore down what Mollenkopf built. Even having Otis Armstrong was not enough for better than a 13-18 record.

Alex Agase

He was a fantastic All-American guard as a player in 1943, but a lousy head coach. he was 18-25-1 and did not have a hat or a mustache. did these men learn nothing from Mollenkopf?

Jim Young

It was substance over style for Young. Here he is in a simple sweatshirt, but he was an impressive 38-19-1 from 1977-81 and won three bowl games with one of the first high-octane passing offenses thanks to Mark Herrmann. He is the only coach to take Purdue to a 10-win season, so maybe Brohm needs to borrow the sweatshirt. The oversized glasses scream late 70s/early 80s, too.

Leon Burtnett

Burtnett was 21-24-1 from 1982-86 at Purdue, but we can all agree that he was a much larger fashion criminal. He looks like Saul Goodman.

Fred Akers

This image is worth it for the very early Larry Clisby alone. Akers was 12-31-1 in 4 years as he tried to run the triple-option with Jeff George before he transferred. That’s all that needs to be said.

Jim Colletto

This picture just says that, of all the Purdue coaches, Jim Colletto was definitely one of them. He was 21-42-3 in his 6 season from 1991-96, once said a tie was as good as a win in the Big Ten, and his final game saw Indiana break a 15 game Big Ten losing streak. Just imagine if he didn’t have Mike Alstott.

First coach with a mustache at Purdue since 1896 (Purdue’s first win ever over Notre Dame) and he immediately beats Notre Dame to break a 12-year losing streak. This is not a coincidence. From 1997-2008 Tiller gave us a 12-year ride with an 87-62 record, a Rose Bowl, Drew Brees, and complete ownership of Nick Saban. He’s been gone from this earth for about 7 months now and is still missed. Just look at that beautiful mustache.

Danny Hope

Purdue v Notre Dame

He tried, he really did, but Burke going cheap hamstrung him from day one. Still, the famous mustache did lead him to a 22-27 record in four seasons and a bowl win. Also, it was funny as hell when he beat Ohio State.

Patrick Higgins

Higgins only coached Purdue for one game, as an interim in the Heart of Dallas Bowl massacre after the 2012 season, but man, what a visor.

Darrell Hazell

Purdue v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It took forever to find a Hazell picture after a win, but that damn hat and windbreaker combo... ugh. Brohm could coach a game bare-ass naked and he would be more respected than if he “Hazelled his hat”. That damn hat was 9-33. Nine. And. Thirty-Three.

Gerad Parker

He had about as much chance of success as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but Gerad Parker at least looked better as Purdue’s interim coach for the final six games of 2016. He was 0-6, but was an instant upgrade over Hazell.

Jeff Brohm

NCAA Football: Louisville vs Purdue Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

He’s dreamy! again, function over style. He doesn’t have Hazell’s immaculate suits, but boy he can win.