Purdue’s football team has picked its next leader.
Jeff Brohm has been an assistant coach in the Big Ten before, serving as quarterbacks coach at Illinois for three seasons. He was also an assistant coach at his alma mater, Louisville, for five years and has been the head man at Western Kentucky for the last three seasons, including bowl appearances in each one.
Purdue hasn’t been to a bowl game in five years – and it’s coming off the worst four years in school history, with respect to winning percentage.
Brohm says he plans to recruit extensively within a three-hour radius of West Lafayette, but also try to leverage connections in the Deep South – places such as Texas and Florida – where football is king.
Brohm’s contract is the same length as Hazell’s was – six years – but despite reports the contract will pay the new coach close to $20 million, athletics department spokesman Tom Schott says the terms have not yet been finalized.
That contract length that became a financial albatross around the athletic department’s neck once it became clear Hazell’s teams were not going to win with regularity.
But he’s hyped as a coach whose offenses score large numbers of points and play an exciting brand of football – something Purdue will need to put more fans back in the seats of Ross-Ade Stadium and help prop back up the financial interests of an athletic department which University President Mitch Daniels insists will not be subsidized by Purdue’s general fund.
Where Hazell was criticized for seeming cold and unapproachable, Brohm told the crowd Monday he’s listened to his wife for input in inserting trick plays into games and plans to take advice from the many armchair quarterbacks who criticized his predecessor.
“I’m open to any suggestions that anyone has," Brohm says. "My family gives me a lot; my wife gives me a lot; I never think I know more than the other person. And if there’s something we need to do, just let me know.”
Under Brohm, Western Kentucky went 30-10 in his three years at the helm, including winning conference titles each of the last two seasons.