Carousel of Coaching | Purdue Football Coaching Search | Head Coaches, pt. 1

Before we begin, we want to clarify something. As clearly as we can: This is not a list of candidates PURDUE AD MIKE BOBINSKI is using to find a new head coach.. This is just what we think Purdue is smart enough to handle and make a great hire for the football program (or maybe not in Drew’s case). Some of these options are real and others are a shot in the dark. Either way, these are the guys who will be big winners at Purdue if given the chance. With that said, let’s dive in!

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Jeff Brohm gave up $1 million to buy Purdue in bad shape. A buyout of $4-5 million will allow Purdue to offset the costs associated with pursuing coaches with high buyouts.

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* Note: This is a Drew and Jed team. Jed did all the legwork, I gave my feedback to each coach. – Drew

NCST HC Dave Doeren

NC State v Clemson

Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren revitalized the Wolfpack program, turning them into perennial contenders in the ACC. He compiled a record of 72-53 in his 10 years at NC State. Before that, Doeren had a two-year stint at Northern Illinois where he went 23-4. He signed a contract extension in February of this year that paid him about $ 5 million a year until 2026 and saw a sale in the government of $ 7 million. Doeren is the most successful coach to come from former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez.



Doeren is a known asset. He’ll hold a tough defense with a ball-control offense and try to pick up teams on downs (must have learned that from Barry). He has connections with the country and is competent, but not a good trainer.


Will Purdue pay a $7 million buyout for a coach who didn’t win his division (granted, Clemson has his division) in one year at NC State? He was in prime position to win the ACC in 2021 after knocking off Clemson in the long run, but fell short. 2022 was supposed to be set for NC State, but they lost to Clemson, then lost 2 quarterbacks, and the wheels fell off. He righted the ship by the end of the season, but NC State’s 2022 promotion could be ruled a no-brainer.


Continuity is not worth the price.

Pittsburgh Manager Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh vs. Virginia

Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Narduzzi is familiar with the B1G from his time at Michigan State as the defensive coordinator under Mark Dantonio. At MSU, his defense was near the top of the B1G. He helped the Spartans to 11 wins four times in his seven seasons as DC He was named the 2013 Broyles Award winner (highest assistant coach in College Football).

He was named the head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers in 2015 and in 8 years amassed a record of 61-41, including an ACC Championship. More importantly, Narduzzi had the Panthers in 6 of those seasons with 2021 finishing 13th in the AP poll.

Like Doeren, he signed an extension through 2030 after his 2021 ACC Championship season. That purchase was a sure thing in getting him to Purdue. The only way this can happen is if there is a low buyout contract like Jeff Brohm’s $1 million contract. The terms of his Pitt extension have not been disclosed, but it’s safe to say Purdue will break the streak to get him back to the Big10.



Like Doeren, he’s a popular asset. Unlike Doeren, he won his second division, and will win the ACC in 2021. He is a defensive minded coach who trusts his offensive coordinator. When the offense works, its defense can push a team over the top.


Although he has a great defensive mind, he makes bad decisions when it comes to coaching games, usually on the ultra conservative side. When he gets a controversial set, they don’t stay long. In his 8 years at Pitt, the Panthers finished in the top 25 once.


A high floor, low ceiling coach with a high price tag? Run

Kansas State Director Chris Klieman

Big 12 Tournament - Kansas State v TCU

Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

This is the longest shot of any coach on the list. Kansas State won the Big 12 and Klieman signed a multi-year extension that brought his annual salary to $3.5 million in 2022. He followed head coach Bill Snyder’s record closely, and could not when it is forgotten. He’s the guy who followed the guy (Kansas State plays at Bill Snyder Family Stadium … it doesn’t get much more “the guy” than that) and won over a disillusioned fan base.

Klieman is a four-year stint at Kansas State and has compiled a record of 30-19, including a Big12 Championship Game victory over CFP bound TCU last weekend. Before coming to Manhattan, he won 4 national championships in five seasons at FCS power North Dakota State. His history of getting quarterbacks into the NFL is unmatched, at ND State, he coached Carson Wentz, Easton Stick, and recruited Trey Lance, and helped rebuild Skylar Thompson’s performance at Kansas State. Overall, Klieman has a 102-32 record in his 9 seasons as a coach.

Klieman’s buyout was reported to be between $4 and $5 million and is something that Purdue will be able to keep with the new media rights agreement that begins next year and is looking to Purdue will receive over $100 million as a result of that deal in 2025.



Coach Klieman has won everywhere. He’s a defensive minded coach, but isn’t afraid to run a serious offense. He assembled one of the best P5 coaching staffs at Kansas State, and in theory, he’ll take some of his coaches with him if he leaves Manhattan. His ability to grind out quarterbacks and make big plays without much talent is a perfect fit for Purdue.


I won’t put it on this list. He didn’t get it. Nebraska is interested in his services and he won’t take their calls. He and K-State AD Gene Taylor have a long professional relationship, dating back to their time together at North Dakota State. Taylor put his career (at least at Kansas State) on the line by hiring an FCS coach to replace Bill Snyder. Needless to say, there is a similar commitment between Taylor and Klieman.

The Million Dollar Man is famous for saying “Every man has a price.” That’s true, but Klieman is a different kind of coach. He would be at Kansas State if he had the Wildcats. If Taylor leaves, things could change, but after hiring Taylor and Jerome Tang, I don’t see Gene leaving Manhattan anytime soon.


The best coach on the list, be happy if Purdue gets him from Manhattan, you should call him, but I’ll be surprised if he picks up the phone.


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