Opinion: Brohm to Louisville Not a Sure Thing

AthleticBusiness.com has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

Copyright 2018 Gannett Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved



The conclusion is not foregone. Oh, that's not what you're reading. That's not what you're hearing.

Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm to Louisville? No-brainer. Going to happen. Matter of time. That's what you read. That's what you hear.

And if this were another time, and if that were another man, then yes β€” foregone conclusion. Because in another time, a time not so long ago, Purdue football was a job to leave. And football coaches often do what football coaches do, preaching loyalty while their agent is on the phone, listening to offers.

But this is not that time, Purdue is not that job, and Brohm is not that man.

Listen, none of this is to say: He's staying at Purdue. Especially not with that job open, the Louisville job, the one job in America where you really couldn't blame Brohm for leaving Purdue, even after just two years, to take it. He grew up in Louisville. He played at Louisville. Coached there. Recruits there. Has family there. Still owns his old house there.

And Brohm didn't exactly squash the Louisville talk at his weekly news conference Monday, when he acknowledged that he's "heard the noise just like everyone else. ... It's important for me to not comment on any speculation. Right now, I have a job to do. ... I'm going to stay focused on that. I'm very appreciative of the job I have right now."

The job you have ... right now?

Those words, this whole story, are a nightmare scenario for Purdue fans. They have suffered for so long with this football program, neglected by an administration that wouldn't invest in it, forcing the Boilermakers to erode inside fading facilities under bargain hires such as Danny Hope. Only in 2013, when they hired Kent State's Darrell Hazell, did the Boilermakers join the rest of the Big Ten and pay a seven-figure salary to its football coach ... who went 9-33 overall, 3-24 in the conference.

Perceptions die hard. Purdue is not that job anymore, and hasn't been since Mike Bobinski became athletics director on Aug. 9, 2016, and fired Hazell less than 21/2 months later. To get Bobinski out of Georgia Tech, Purdue had to assure him the school was ready to invest in its football program. Because for so long, after a glorious tradition that included Bob Griese and Leroy Keyes and Drew Brees, "the cradle of quarterbacks" and all that, Purdue football had no commitment and no money, not even lights for Ross-Ade Stadium.

Look now at this program on the ascent. But don't look up there for too long β€” those lights might hurt your eyes. Yes, Ross-Ade has permanent lighting now. More is coming, too, much more.

And Purdue's $65 million football facility still smells of fresh paint, the school's first major investment in the program β€” while a major arms race was escalating around college football β€” since the $10.3 million Mollenkopf Athletic Center opened in 1990.

Those are elements the world can see. Behind the scenes, Purdue has increased its budgets in areas unseen by fans: recruiting staff, strength and conditioning coaches, assistant salary pool, the video and graphic communications that provide the bells and whistles noticed by recruits.

Brohm is in the first year of a seven-year, $29 million contract the school renegotiated with him after last season. His $3.8 million salary this season ranks in the upper quadrant of the NCAA (27th nationally, according to USA TODAY's coaches salary database) and in the middle of the Big Ten (eighth, more than state flagship schools Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland and Indiana).

And recruiting? It's going better than anyone could have dreamed. After scraping together the Big Ten's 14th-ranked recruiting class of 2017 in his first few months on the job, Brohm pushed Purdue's ranking to 11th in the league in 2018, and the Boilermakers sit fifth in 2019.

This is sustainable, what Brohm is building, his first team going 7-6 and winning a bowl game and his second team sitting at 5-5 (4-3 Big Ten), that 41-10 disaster Saturday at Minnesota notwithstanding. Purdue beat No. 2 Ohio State this season, then beat No. 16 Iowa.

But is it believable, that Jeff Brohm would turn down Louisville to stay at Purdue? Not in Louisville, where the media peppered athletics director Vince Tyra with Brohm references at the Sunday news conference where he was announcing the firing of Bobby Petrino.

There are reasons, as I've already written here, that Brohm would want to be at Louisville. But there are reasons to avoid the job at this moment, one huge one in particular: Louisville football is a dumpster fire. The team is being blown out on the field and losing recruits off it, and the athletics department is in the middle of turmoil amid an NCAA investigation into former coach Rick Pitino's basketball program and the loss of school sugar daddy John Schnatter, the Papa John's founder whose financial support for the school (and name on the stadium) were removed after his use of a racial epithet this year.

Meanwhile, Purdue is stable. Bobinski and President Mitch Daniels offer a strong, united front in the administration, and for most coaches, that ranks higher than you can possibly imagine.

Brohm said this year: "I want recruits around the country, especially in the state of Indiana, to know I'm going to be here. I want to do this thing. I want to make a difference here. I want to recruit guys that want to come in and make a difference and put Purdue on the map."

He meant those words then, I promise you that, but the Louisville job β€” his dream job β€” wasn't open. But now that it popped open, is Brohm still "going to be here"? Thought I told you earlier: I don't know that. But I do know this:

The conclusion is not foregone, not just because of who Jeff Brohm is, but also because of what Purdue football has become.

Read More of Today's AB Headlines

Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter

November 13, 2018


Copyright Β© 2018 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy
Page 1 of 466
Next Page
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2024 in New Orleans
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Nov. 19-22, 2024
Learn More
AB Show 2024