|Purdue hoping for smooth transition to new coach|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 23 November 2008 23:51|
Players appreciated his honesty, students liked his high-scoring offense and alums embraced the way Tiller put Boilermakers football back on the national map.
At least they won't have to completely start over next season.
After 12 years, 10 bowl games, 10 Bucket victories and 87 career wins, Tiller bid an emotional farewell to Purdue on Saturday, officially turning over the reins to his successor, Danny Hope.
``I think he's a good fit for Purdue,'' Tiller said after a 62-10 shellacking of Indiana. ``Whenever I look back and say why did I stay at Purdue for so long, it was because I was a good fit for Purdue and Purdue was a good fit for me.''
Purdue (4-8, 2-6 Big Ten) can only hope the sequel is as good as the original.
from 1997 to 2001, then left for Louisville before taking his first college head coaching job at Eastern Kentucky.
Hope turned the Colonels into a perennial offensive powerhouse, something that should sound familiar to Purdue fans who were uncertain how things might go when Tiller was brought in after the 1996 season.
And, unlike other successions, this one has gone according to plan.
Athletic director Morgan Burke hired Hope in January, making him the official head coach-in-waiting. Hope was put in charge of the offensive line, and Tiller said things went smoothly all year as the two coaches met on a weekly basis to share ideas.
But when Hope starts making the calls, what can fans expect?
Not much of a difference.
``We have three major areas that we have to devote our lives to,'' Hope said. ``One of them is going to be recruiting, one is going to be academics and one is player development. When we sit down and ask ourselves on a daily basis 'What's on the to-do list today?' I want to ask myself 'Is this going to impact academics, is this going to impact recruiting, is this going to impact player development.' If it doesn't, then I'm not focusing on the right things.''
Hope already faces some major obstacles.
he Big Ten's career list in total offense; record-setting running back Kory Sheets; and receivers Greg Orton, Desmond Tardy and Brandon Whittington. He'll lose defensive tackle Ryan Baker and linebacker Anthony Heygood, the defensive leaders, too.
Plus, Hope takes over from the winningest coach in school history, one who had a propensity for beating the dreaded Hoosiers as he did again Saturday.
Should Purdue need more than Hope to win Bucket games, Tiller will be just a phone-call away.
``I told coach Hope before the game today, 'We are going to win this game today and if you ever stub your toe in this one, I am the head coach emeritus,'' Tiller said, drawing laughter.
Those stakes just got higher.
Purdue produced the fourth-highest point total in the history of the 111-game series, and the 52-point margin was the largest between the teams since Purdue beat Indiana 64-0 in 1893.
It was never close.
Painter opened the game with a 9-yard TD pass to Tardy, followed that with a 79-yard TD pass to Aaron Valentin, and then the Boilermakers recovered a pooch kick that Indiana couldn't get to. The miscue led to a 24-yard field goal from Carson Wiggs to make it 17-0 just 8:54 into the game, and the rout was on.
For Tiller, it was an emotional day. And he savored every moment.
acknowledged it was time to let Hope get started.
``Danny is a very passionate guy, and I think the program needs energy,'' Tiller said. ``I've run out of energy. I'm going to be honest, I've run out of energy and that's why I need to go fly fishing more often.''
``I've tried to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of who they've been. You hear the term, the guy is a good guy. I think my legacy will be that I'm a genuine Joe.''