Before we get started we want to make one thing clear. Like, as transparent as we possible can be: THIS IS NOT A LIST OF CANDIDATES PURDUE AD MIKE BOBINSKI IS USING TO FIND THE NEW HEAD COACH. This is just who we believe Purdue would be smart to contact and would make a great hire for the football program (or not in Drew’s case). Some of these choices are realistic and others are a shot in the dark. Either way, these are the guys that would have a lot of success at Purdue if given the chance. With that being said, let’s get into it!
Jeff Brohm’s $1 million buyout leaves Purdue in a bad position. A buyout of $4-5 million would allow Purdue to off set the costs associated with pursuing coaches with large buyouts.
*Note: This is a Drew and Jed collaboration. Jed did all the leg work, I’m providing my response to each coach. - Drew
NCST HC Dave Doeren
NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren revitalized the Wolfpack program, turning them into a yearly contender in the ACC. He has compiled a record of 72-53 in his 10 years at NC State. Before that, Doeren had a great two year stint at Northern Illinois where he went 23-4. He recently signed a contract extension in February of this year that paid him roughly $5 million a year through 2026 and appears to have a buyout in the realm of $7 million. Doeren is the of the most successful coaches to come from former Wisconsin Head Coach Barry Alvarez’s coaching tree.
Doeren is a known commodity. He’s going to pair a tough defense with a ball control offense and try and grind teams down (must have learned that from Barry). He has ties to the region and is a competent, but not spectacular recruiter.
Is Purdue going to pay a 7 million dollar buyout for a coach that hasn’t won his division (granted, Clemson is in his division) in a decade at NC State? He was in perfect position to win the ACC in 2021 after knocking off Clemson in overtime, but fell apart down the stretch. 2022 was supposed to be set up for NC State, but they lost to Clemson, then lost 2 quarterbacks, and the wheels fell off. He righted the ship towards the end of the season, but NC State’s 2022 campaign can be judged as nothing but a disappointment.
Resume not worth the price.
Pittsburgh Head Coach Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi is familiar with the B1G from his time at Michigan State as the defensive coordinator under Mark Dantonio. At MSU his defenses were consistently near the top of the B1G. He helped the Spartans to four 11 win seasons in his seven seasons as D.C. He was named the 2013 Broyles Award winner (top assistant coach in College Football).
He was named the head coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers in 2015 and in 8 seasons has amassed a record of 61-41, including an ACC Championship. More importantly, Narduzzi has had the Panthers ranked in 6 of those seasons with 2021 finishing at 13th in the AP poll.
Like Doeren, he recently signed an extension through 2030 following his 2021 ACC Championship season. That buyout would almost certainly be a hindrance in getting him to Purdue. The only way this one is possible is if there is a low buyout agreement similar to Jeff Brohm’s $1 million agreement. Terms of his Pitt extension were not disclosed, but it’s safe to say Purdue would have to break the piggie bank to bring him back to the Big10.
Like Doeren, he’s a known commodity. Unlike Doeren, he’s won his division twice, and won the ACC in 2021. He’s a defensive minded coach reliant on his offensive coordinator. When the offense works, his defense can push a team over the top.
While a great defensive mind, he makes mind numbingly bad in game coaching decisions, usually on the ultra conservative side. When he has an offensive coordinator in place, they don’t tend to stay long. In his 8 years at Pitt, the Panthers have finished ranked in the top 25 once.
A high floor, low ceiling coach with a high price tag? Pass
Kansas State Head Coach Chris Klieman
This is the longest shot of the coaches on the list. Kansas State just won the Big 12 and Klieman signed a multi-year extension that brought his yearly salary to $3.5 million in 2022. He has successfully followed coaching legend Bill Snyder, and that can’t be overlooked. He’s the guy that followed the guy (Kansas State plays in Bill Snyder Family Stadium...can’t get more “the guy” than that) and won over a disillusioned fan base.
Klieman is four years into his Kansas State tenure and has compiled a record of 30-19, featuring a Big12 Championship Game win over CFP bound TCU last weekend. Before heading to Manhattan, he won 4 national championships in five season at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. His record for putting quarterbacks into the NFL is unparalleled, at ND State, he coached Carson Wentz, Easton Stick, and recruited Trey Lance, and helped revitalize Skylar Thompson’s career at Kansas State. Overall, Klieman has a 102-32 record in his 9 seasons as a head coach.
Klieman’s buyout is reported to be between $4 and $5 million which may be something Purdue can handle with the new media rights deal starting next season and Purdue looking to accrue over $100 million due to that deal by 2025.
Coach Klieman has won everywhere. He’s a defensive minded coach, but isn’t afraid to field an aggressive offense. He’s assembled one of the best P5 coaching staffs at Kansas State, and in theory, would bring several of his coaches with him if he left Manhattan. His ability to mold quarterbacks and win big without big talent would fit perfectly at Purdue.
I wouldn’t put him on this list. He’s not available. Nebraska was interested in his services and he wouldn’t take their call. He and K-State A.D. Gene Taylor have a long professional and personal relationship, dating back to their time together at North Dakota State. Taylor put his career (at least at Kansas State) on the line by bringing in an FCS coach to replace Bill Snyder. Needless to say, there is mutual loyalty between Taylor and Klieman.
The Million Dollar Man was famous for saying “Everybody has a price.” That’s normally true, but Klieman is a different type of coach. He’ll be at Kansas State as long as the Wildcats will have him. If Taylor leaves, things could change, but after hiring Taylor and Jerome Tang, I don’t see Gene leaving Manhattan any time soon.
Best coach on the list, would be thrilled if Purdue managed to pry him out of Manhattan, you’ve got to give him a call, but I would be shocked if he picks up the phone.