NCAA Football

With Boilers Eligible for a Bowl, Coach Hope Lobbies for an Extension

Purdue finished the regular season at 6-6 and clinched bowl eligibility with its 8 point win over Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry. If Purdue had fallen to IU last week, Danny Hope may already be holding a pink slip. But now Morgan Burke is perhaps faced with an even tougher decision: go all-in for Danny Hope and grant him an extension to his contract beyond 2014? Or put some real pressure on Hope and put an extension on hold until after next season.

Even though 2014 may seem like a long ways away, it’s typical for college football coaches to be signed on contract for at least four years into the future for recruiting purposes (a recruit wants to be assured that the head coach who is recruiting him will be there while he’s playing for that team). Although Danny Hope has tried to dodge questions from the media about his job, he didn’t shy away from telling reporters that he feels he’s earned an extension:

Asked if he deserves an extension after what he’s accomplished, Hope said: “I certainly do, but I don’t believe we’re going to have this conversation right now.”

It’s no secret that not all Purdue fans agree with Hope. In fact, many are unhappy with Hope’s combined 15-21 record over three years. Declining ticket sales at Ross-Ade indicate as much. Purdue has totaled 10 Big Ten wins over its three years under Hope.

Hopeful Danny’s tenure has had its ups and downs. In just his first year, Hope knocked off a top 10 Ohio State at home and beat Michigan in Ann Arbor for Purdue’s first win at Michigan Stadium since 1966. Despite the victories over Michigan and Ohio State, the Boilers finished with a 5-7 record and failed to reach postseason. It didn’t help that Purdue was upset by Northern Illinois and littered the field with turnovers to lose to Northwestern at home.

2010 is the hardest year to judge for Hope. He was dealt a terrible hand as the Boilers suffered from season-ending injuries to Robert Marve, Ralph Bolden, and Keith Smith. Purdue battled through more injuries and eventually started four different quarterbacks in 2009. The injuries resulted in just 4 wins and the Boilers missed a bowl for their third straight season. Losses included Indiana and Toledo, and Purdue’s largest margin of victory was just a mere 11 points to Minnesota as Hope’s squad only finished with two Big Ten victories.

You know the story in 2011 — Purdue went 4-4 in the Big Ten. But as Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star points out, did we get any quality wins? Purdue’s conference wins came against the now-fired Ron Zook of Illinois and three first-year coaches Jerry Kill (Minnesota), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), and Luke Fickell (Ohio State). And Purdue suffered an embarrassing loss to the 4-8 Rice Owls earlier in the season.

So what will Morgan Burke do now? What should Morgan Burke do? In this blogger’s opinion, he should pat Danny Hope on the back and wait another year to consider a contract extension. The results just aren’t there yet to justify an extension beyond 2014.