Update: The school has announced the move. Wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Gerad Parker has been named interim head coach.
“From the first time I met Darrell, I could tell he was a man of high character – a quality person who you would want leading a group of young men – but our inconsistent performance and inability to generate positive momentum thus far this season, along with the disappointing results of the past three seasons, made it clear to me that we needed to make a change. This is not a decision taken lightly, and I respect and appreciate the dedicated effort Darrell has put forth on behalf of Purdue,” Purdue AD Mike Bobinski said in a statement.
After four seasons in West Lafayette, reports state that Darrell Hazell has been released from his duties as the head coach. Nathan Baird of the Journal and Courier was among the first to report the move.
Darrell Hazell out as #Purdue football coach. More details coming.
— Nathan Baird (@nbairdjc) October 16, 2016
Sources have since confirmed the news to us at FootballScoop, making Hazell the third coach fired during the 2016 season, joining Les Miles at LSU and Ron Turner at FIU.
I can confirm Darrell Hazell will not return at Purdue https://t.co/QfmosqHhdr
— Zach Barnett (@zach_barnett) October 16, 2016
So far this year, Hazell was 3-3 with losses to Cincinnati, Maryland, and Iowa, and wins over FCS Eastern Kentucky, Nevada, and Illinois (in overtime).
Hazell went 9-33 leading the Purdue program since 2013, starting with a 1-11 mark his first season, followed by 3-9, and 2-10 seasons in the years that followed before his 3-3 start to 2016. Hazell went winless in Big Ten play his first season, and won has won just one league game in each of the years that have followed.
Before coming to Purdue, Hazell led the Kent State program for two seasons, going 5-7 in 2011 and then 11-3 in 2012. Past coaching stops for him include Oberlin (D-III – OH), Eastern Illinois, Penn, Western Michigan, Army, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Ohio State – where he was from 2004-2010 serving as the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach under Jim Tressel.
Moving forward, how attractive are coaches going to find the Purdue job one might ask? Well playing in the Big Ten West, opposite of Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State, will be considered an advantage for some. The West can certainly be considered an up and coming division with teams like Wisconsin and Nebraska having solid starts up to the midway point of the year, as well as Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois on the league schedule as well.
As far as history goes, the last time the program won a Big Ten title was 2000 under Joe Tiller, when they finished 8-4, and 6-2 in the league. The Boilermakers have made post season bowl trips 17 times in their history, including 9 trips since 2000, and have of course churned out NFL talent like Drew Brees, Bob Griese (both two-time Heisman candidates), Rod Woodson, Ryan Kerrigan, Stuart Schweigert, Matt Light, and my personal favorite Purdue alumnus – Mike Alstott.
As far as recruiting goes, Indiana isn’t exactly located in a recruiting hotbed, and competing with Ohio State and Michigan in the state of Ohio for prospects isn’t ideal right off the bat, but there is a plus side to the location in West Lafayette: you’ve got Chicago about a 2-hour drive away, Cincinnati and Lousiville are both under three-hours, and St. Louis and Detroit are right around four-hour drives. Then you’ve also got some really good Midwest-style programs in your home state just up the road in Indianapolis. And West Lafayette will be a great place for guys who want good internships (again – Indianapolis is just up the road), and the town can give prospects the warmth of a small city, while still giving the feel of a Big Ten caliber town.
A number of outstanding assistants have come through the Purdue program over the years. Guys like Kevin Sumlin, Dino Babers, Stan Parrish, Hank Stram, George Steinbrenner, Bob Spoo, Brock Spack, and Mike Sanford all donned the Boilermaker logo at one time during their coaching journey.
In short, the pieces, and a sense of history is there to build on for the right guy. It won’t be easy, but it’s very possible if they land the right guy.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest developments.