As you're aware, we're taking an
in depth half-assed look at each of the Big Ten's 12 football coaches. The plan? To give you a little background on the coaches, their coaching past, and how they roll. We've already introduced you to Nebraska's Bo Pelini, Indiana's HR Puff n Stuff Kevin Wilson, and Michigan State's Lestat Mark Dantonio. So now it's time to get back to the series and introduce you to Purdue's Danny Hope:
Purdue in 2010: 4-8
I have to admit, there's somewhat of a soft spot in my blackened, shriveled heart for Purdue's current Mustachio Supreme. Maybe in part it's because of the mustache. Maybe it's because if you shave his mustache and gell the hell out of his hair, he and Ron Zook could be twins. I was watching both of them a Big Ten Media Days and I'm fairly certain they were never in the same room together. It was even more obvious when you saw Zook (or Hope, which was it) setting up a cardboard cut out of himself when it was time to do the Zope interviews. Don't believe me, look for yourself:
Doppelgangers aside, I think the real reason I like Hope is, for lack of a better phrase, the guy's kind of a dick. Sure he talks a little folksie and has that "aw shucks coach" outward exterior, but he's a dick. And that's a good thing. even as a Michigan fan I was startled by the size of Hope's man boulders when he stuck it to Rich Rodriguez following Purdue's shocking 38-36 win over Michigan in 2009. By way of background, Rodriguez's whining got one of Hope's linemen suspended for a game. Hope, shall we say, wasn't pleased. So after Purdue beat Michigan in '09 Hope brought the kid Rodriguez got suspended to the post game handshake to introduce him to Rodriguez and torque the knife Hope's team had just shoved into Rodriguez's gut up towards his Adam's apple. You've gotta have cajones the size of a '63 Cadillac to pull a stunt like that and Hope did it as if it was as casual as waxing his mustache.
Now, we don't know for sure, but we're certain the mid-field, post-game handshake after Michigan somehow beat Purdue in 2010 went something like this:
Rodriguez: Good game Danny.
Hope: Go fuck a tailpipe, dickface.
/handshake, awkward smiles for the cameras/
I really want to believe there's an evil genius behind those Walmart shades and Burt Reynolds mustache. He's vindictive. He's unpolished. He's coaching at the last place on earth you'd expect to find an evil genius. If SPECTRE had set up shop in West Lafayette, James Bond never would've found them and the world would now be in their tyrannical clutches. Sadly, Hope's coaching and recruiting record suggests he is not that man.
But we don't care. Hope brings a little bit of color to the otherwise drab Big Ten coaching circle, with his enemies list, inability to form a facial feature other than a snarl, and penchant for occasionally beating teams Purdue should in no way be able to compete with. The guy looks like he should be a State Trooper doesn't he? Put a sheriff's hat on the guy and some mirrored sunglasses and BOOM! He's chasing down the Bandit and the Snowman from Texas to Georgia. Shave his mustache and he's Bob Zook, Ron's evil twin. There's just so much fun to be had with him.
more after the jump......
As a coach... well... the jury's still out on him Purdue is Zook's Hope's first BCS head coaching gig, and he's finding out that it's not as easy as it looks. Hope was Eastern Kentucky's head man from 2002(ish)-2007 before taking an offer from Joe Tiller to replace him a year later at Purdue. Hope was the "coach in waiting" for a year then, miraculously, as a "coach in waiting" he became the head coach. You see people. It can actually work, especially if the head coach in question is Wilford Brimley and has DIABEETUS medication to peddle.
Hope had a 35–22 record at Eastern, but only made the FCS playoffs once, losing in the first round. Now he's the head mustache at a school that hasn't gone to a real bowl game since 2006 (no, I'm not counting the Motor City Bowl). We'll see what happens. Last year's Purdue team was a MASH unit. This year everyone's back, but they're coming off injuries and Hope's said he's going with a QB rotation (which is always a good idea /...snickers..../). Looking like Bob Zook, having a mustache and being a dick will only get you so far. Now he's got to win. And judging by his personnel and his coaching record, it's going to be a tough road to get there.
(Previously: Getting To Know You: Nebraska's Bo Pelini, Getting To Know You: Indiana's Kevin Wilson, Getting to Know You: Michigan State's Mark Dantonio).