Friday, March 8, 2013,
This is the first time that I’ve blogged in a long time and also the first time that I’ve blogged since I interviewed former Purdue Head Football Coach Danny Hope in late February.
The amount of feedback that I received on the interview with Coach Hope was staggering. In a nutshell, I was glad that Coach Hope gave me the time for a nearly one hour interview. I’ve always liked Coach Hope and felt like we’ve had a solid relationship. However, I’ve also been critical of him on several occasions and he knows that. He did some good things at Purdue but there were enough setbacks—-mainly costly losses and poor attendance—-that cost Coach Hope his job. The interview, in my opinion, gave Coach Hope a chance to say some of the things that he was feeling and move on. He’ll coach again, whether it’s this upcoming season or the 2014 season. He’s too good of an offensive line coach to be on the unemployment line.
As far as the interview goes, I had several conversations with Coach Hope leading up to the interview. I wanted him to know that I had to ask tough questions but we also felt that a confrontational interview wouldn’t be productive for either one of us. A couple of local media scribes—writers that I respect and like—felt I should have asked follow-up questions . They are entitled to their opinion and I respect that. I just felt at the time the interview was taking place a follow-up question would turn the tone of the interview to be confrontational. I wanted it to stay interesting and informative, which I think it was.
With that being said, I think Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke had no choice but to make a coaching change. Attendance was awful last season and the majority of the fans’ patience with Hope had worn thin. I have always respected fans’ rights and opinions. They choose how they spend their hard-earned money. And one thing I know about Burke from being around him for 6 1/2 years: he’s smart and he cares dearly about Boilermaker sports. And I think he’s made a terrific hire in Darrell Hazell.
Coach Hazell did a live interview with Sports 18′s Ross Bolin at 5:45 THIS MORNING (Friday) prior to the Boilers’ final day of early conditioning drills. It’s very clear that Hazell is going to be a very accessible coach to the media and the community. And that’s a very good start to his Boilermakers head coaching tenure. As far as on the field in 2013, if Hazell navigates the Boilermakers to five wins in a brutally tough schedule he’ll continue to build on his strong first impression with Boilermaker Nation.
Blog to you soon,