Purdue’s all-time winningest football coach said the Boilermakers’ next coach should have Division I head coaching experience and understand the school’s culture.
“I suspect (Athletic Director) Morgan (Burke) is going to hire a head from another university in Division I,” Joe Tiller, who coached at Purdue from 1997-2008, said. “The only thing I think would be a mistake is if they hired some coordinator that has never been a head coach.”
Tiller said with attendance and support dropping, Purdue needs an experienced head coach with a good track record to bring credibility to help increase the fan base.
“You don’t want to be the one to hire some coordinator who has never been a head coach and have him be kind of an on-the-job training type guy,” Tiller said.
Tiller said head coach experience is vital because a coach’s role is so much different as a head coach than as an assistant.
Tiller referred to Charlie Weis as a successful assistant who has struggled as a head coach. Weis was a Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, but has compiled just a 36-37 record in five years as a collegiate head coach, including a 1-10 mark this year at Kansas.
“Just because he coached on a Super Bowl winning team, that didn’t make him a successful coach at Notre Dame,” Tiller said. “If you can’t succeed at Notre Dame ... that’s one of the premier jobs in the nation.”
Tiller also stressed the importance of its next head coach understanding the way the Purdue program works.
“I think Purdue is a unique job,” Tiller said. “We don’t have the biggest stadium in the league. We don’t have some of the academic freedoms that some of our sister institutions enjoy. We’re not in a metropolitan area. Overall, if you would put a label on the Purdue campus, you would consider it a conservative campus.”
Tiller said Brock Spack, his defensive coordinator for the entirety of his 12-year stint at Purdue, was the “perfect candidate” to replace him in 2008, but the fact that he now coaches at the Football Championship Series level where Danny Hope came from would hurt his chances.
Spack is 27-17 in his fifth year as Illinois State’s head coach, including an 8-3 mark this year. He is one of 20 finalists for FCS Coach-of-the-Year honors.
“I think Brock is a unique candidate because of his insider
information about Purdue,” Tiller said. “Being a graduate and alumnus, he has a love for Purdue. In my opinion, he is proven his worth by what he did ... but that wasn’t to be the last time around.”
Tiller declined to speculate on other potential coaching candidates.