GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 110

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 11 P urdue will bring into this season all the usual ambitions and aspirations, the hope that it can turn around its struggles in a dramatic, mean- ingful and lasting way. But while that will be the hope, there are realities hov- ering overhead that no one either involved or looking on from the periphery has to be reminded of. This is now Year 4 under this coaching staff, and Purdue has a half dozen wins to show for the first three. And, a new athletic director coming in. With the cover of ample opportunity, a titanic buyout and, most importantly, turnover at A.D. having now lifted, Darrell Hazell is on the clock. This is a hot seat under a heat lamp, and for whoever replaces Morgan Burke, it will be one of the first orders of business to decide which direction to go. Hazell is liked and respected and should be. But he knows as well as anyone — all in that profes- sion must — that this is a results business and to this point, this just hasn't worked. And if it's working, then there's been little corrobora- tive support from those results. It's a pretty dire situation, frankly, for the head coach and his staff, largely overhauled this winter after a series of firings and departures. The results are one thing. Fan engagement — at least productive fan engage- ment, such as ticket sales, John Purdue Club member- ship and word of mouth — is another. Recruiting, too, is another. Put it all together and it raises legitimate question about what would be needed to sidestep a change. It's always an inherently flawed approach to make these calls based off hypothetical win totals. So much more goes into it. Is six wins as the product of the most user-friendly schedule Purdue may ever have again enough to prove that tomorrow is brighter than today? I don't know. But if it's six good wins and a certain looking of the part, to go along with some reason to believe that David Blough or Mar- kell Jones or whoever are bedrocks for big- ger things to come, maybe that's enough. You know it when you see it. If it's four wins against riff-raff and nothing more, then Purdue's probably going to have a new coach come 2017, even if four wins, on paper, would look like progress. But if it's four wins and a bunch of close, competitive, we-belong sorts of losses with some positive indicators to go along with them, maybe that's enough. But Purdue needs its fans, and their open wallets and purses, back, so they will have a say in this, too, and a mountain might have to be moved to change the tone of that say. Nowadays, once a coach decidedly loses the court of public opinion, things aren't going to end well for them. Fan support isn't just important to a program, it's part of a program. Purdue fans seem numb. In 2008, Joe Tiller was nudged toward retirement in part because of "angst" in the fan base. When choosing between angst and apathy, though, you take angst every single time. Angst-ridden folks care. This is where Purdue sits today, the environment its next athletic director slides into. And the conditions that Hazell and his new staff are going to have to find a way to overcome if they're to still be here a few months from now. j Neubert can be contacted at Under Pressure From Editor Brian Neubert

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6