With a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, six NCAA Tournament berths, Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and an international gold medal on his résumé, ninth-year head coach Matt Painter is widely regarded as one of the brightest young minds in all of college basketball.
In eight years at the helm, Painter has restored his alma mater's place among the nation's elite college basketball programs. His work has earned him three USA Basketball appointments, and been roundly acknowledged by both his coaching peers and the media with a trophy case full of awards.
Painter affirmed his long-term commitment to Purdue in March of 2011, agreeing to a new eight-year contract that will keep him in West Lafayette through at least the 2018-19 season.
Entering the 2013-14 season, Painter owns a 201-100 (.668) record in nine years as a head coach, while attaining a 176-95 (.649) mark at Purdue and an 84-56 (.600) record in the Big Ten. He finished the 2012-13 season tied with Ray Eddy for third place on Purdue's coaching wins list.
In addition to his on-court success, Painter has dedicated himself to developing student-athletes who represent their university with pride on college basketball's biggest stages.
Painter's tenure has seen Purdue basketball restore its status among the upper echelon of college basketball programs. The last eight years have seen six 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament berths, two Sweet 16 appearances, a regular-season Big Ten title and a Big Ten Tournament crown.
Painter has averaged 22 wins per season during his tenure at the helm of the Purdue program, including at least 20 victories in six of those seasons. The Boilers' streak of six-consecutive 20-win campaigns from 2007-12 equaled the program record laid down by the legendary Gene Keady from 1983-88. The Painter-led 2009-10 edition of the Boilermakers matched the program record with 29 victories.
The three winningest classes in program history are the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2010, respectively, and five of the 10 winningest individual players Purdue has ever seen have come from the Painter ranks.
Painter has guided the Boilermakers to consecutive Sweet 16 appearances (2009, 2010) and six NCAA Tournament berths, while instilling a recruiting plan that places an emphasis on bringing the top talent from both the Midwest and the state of Indiana to West Lafayette.
Success, however, didn't happen overnight.
As part of a planned transition into the head coaching job, Painter was tabbed in April of 2004 to succeed Keady. He spent the 2004-05 campaign as associate head coach as the Boilermakers won just seven games and finished 10th in the Big Ten.
Painter officially became the 18th head men's basketball coach in Purdue history on April 1, 2005, and immediately set about laying the groundwork for a dramatic reversal in the program's fortunes.
The 2005-06 campaign saw a two-game improvement, from seven wins to nine, over the previous season despite the fact that star guard David Teague missed the entire season with injury and standout forward Carl Landry played only five games before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.
Perhaps the biggest impact of Painter's initial season at the helm was his tenacious recruiting of the state of Indiana. In the fall of 2006, Painter and his staff signed four in-state products, including future Purdue stars Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, in a class that was ranked first in the Big Ten and regarded as one of the nation's five best by various recruiting publications.
Painter rode the momentum of that recruiting haul into the 2006-07 season, which turned out to be a landmark campaign for the program.
Led by Landry and Teague, who both garnered All-Big Ten honors as seniors, the Boilermakers won 22 games en route to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. Purdue won nine conference games in 2006-07, setting a program record for improvement after capturing just three league victories the previous season. The Boilers' 13-game overall turnaround was also a program record, and ranked as the fourth-best in the nation that season.
Painter picked up his first NCAA Tournament win as a head coach along the way, as Purdue defeated Arizona in the first round before dropping a seven-point decision to eventual national champion and top overall seed Florida.
Having to compensate for the loss of his two senior leaders didn't slow Painter down in 2007-08, as the year proved to be another pivotal step in Purdue's resurgence.
Despite counting four true freshmen, two sophomores and a junior college transfer among his top seven scorers, Painter guided the Boilermakers to a 25-9 record, a second-place finish in the Big Ten and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
With a 15-3 record in the Big Ten, the Boilers finished just one game out of first place and swept league champion Wisconsin to hand the Badgers their only two Big Ten losses of the year. Painter also took a team known as the "Baby Boilers" and directed it to an 11-game winning streak during conference play, as Purdue didn't lose for more than a month during the run.
Purdue ranked as high as 14th in the polls in 2007-08, wrapping up the campaign at No. 20 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today rankings. The Boilers also showed a knack for knocking off some of the nation's top teams in 2007-08, posting three victories over squads ranked in the top 11 spots of the polls.
The season's efforts also brought individual honors for Painter's players, as Hummel became the first Purdue freshman ever to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, while Moore was named to the second team and Chris Kramer took home Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
Painter kept the ball rolling in a 2008-09 season that proved to be an historic one for the Boilermakers. Purdue was a constant presence in the national polls, rising as high as ninth to mark its first appearance in the AP top 10 since 1999, while its 27 victories were its most in more than a decade.
The Boilermakers were at their best during the 2009 postseason run, rattling off double-digit victories over Penn State and Illinois to reach the Big Ten Tournament final, where they dispatched Ohio State, 65-61, to earn the first conference tournament crown in program history.
The Big Ten Tournament, however, was just the first act of Purdue's postseason script in 2009, as the Boilers earned the fifth seed in the West Region and headed out to Portland, Ore., for the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Northern Iowa in its first-round game, Purdue earned a 76-74 triumph over Washington in front of a highly-partisan UW crowd at the Rose Garden to capture its first Sweet 16 berth since 2000.
Acclaim was once again forthcoming for Painter's players following the success of the 2008-09 campaign. Johnson, Moore and Hummel were named first, second and third-team All-Big Ten, respectively, while Kramer was an honorable mention all-league pick and Lewis Jackson earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Hummel and Johnson were also named to the USBWA All-District V team, making Purdue the only school with multiple honorees, while the latter also earned inclusion on the NABC District 7 first team.
With a core of talented and experienced players back in the fold, expectations were high for the Boilermakers heading into the 2009-10 season, and Painter and Co. didn't disappoint.
Ranked seventh to open the season, Purdue won the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, defeated Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and came out on top of a top-10 showdown with West Virginia on New Year's Day en route to matching the best start in program history with a 14-0 run to open the year.
Painter's team faced adversity after a 2-3 start to Big Ten play, but rebounded to win 10-straight league games, and 12 of their last 13, to earn a share of the program's first Big Ten title in 14 years. Along the way, the Boilermakers set a program record with four wins over top-10 teams, tied the 1993-94 squad's program standard of six wins over top-25 teams, vanquished decade-long losing streaks at Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State, and became the first Purdue team ever to win at Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State in the same season.
With his team once again facing doubters due to a late-season knee injury to Hummel, Painter orchestrated yet another storied postseason run for the Boilermakers.
Fourth-seeded Purdue was a popular pick to be upset by Siena in first-round action in Spokane, Wash., but used a second-half surge to pick up an eight-point win over the Saints.
Outsized by Texas A&M in the second-round, the Boilers battled back from a second-half deficit to force an overtime session that would decide a berth to the Sweet 16. Trailing by two with just over a minute left in the extra frame, Moore sank a baseline jumper to tie the score at 61-61. After a defensive stop, Painter called timeout and drew up a play that would see Kramer beat his man off the dribble for the game-winning layup with four seconds on the clock, sending the Boilermakers to their second-consecutive Sweet 16.
The 2010 awards season was also bountiful for Painter's charges, as both Hummel and Moore were named All-Americans - the former earning second-team honors from the coaches' association and both garnering honorable mention recognition from the AP - after earning inclusion on the All-Big Ten first team. Johnson was named second-team All-Big Ten following his junior season, while Kramer captured his second-career Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and became the first player in league history to be named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in each of his four seasons.
The Boilermakers were widely written off before the 2010-11 season began as they lost Hummel to another knee injury at the beginning of fall practice. Painter, however, was undaunted and led Purdue to another of the finest seasons in program history.
The Boilers finished 26-8 overall, and 14-4 in the Big Ten to finish second in the league. Purdue posted separate winning streaks of seven and 10 games during the campaign, and knocked off a pair of top-10 teams at Mackey Arena in the same week, defeating No. 10 Wisconsin on Feb. 16 and toppling second-ranked Ohio State by 13 points on Feb. 20.
Painter also piloted the Boilermakers to their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth, where they defeated Saint Peter's in the second round before falling to eventual Final Four participant VCU in the third round.
The 2010-11 season also saw Painter protégés Johnson and Moore post two of the best individual campaigns that the program had ever seen.
Johnson led the Big Ten in scoring and blocks en route to being named a consensus All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while Moore earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was named an All-American for the second-straight season after becoming just the fifth Boilermaker in history to break the 2,000-point barrier for his career.
The winningest players in program history at the conclusion of their careers, Johnson and Moore became the first pair of teammates in program history to both score more than 600 points in the same season in 2010-11.
Johnson also earned the Pete Newell Big Man Award from the NABC, given annually to the nation's top interior player as voted by the NABC membership.
Behind a senior core of Hummel, Jackson and Ryne Smith, Painter guided the Boilers to their sixth-straight 20-win season and NCAA Tournament selection in 2011-12. Purdue led the nation in fewest turnovers per game with an average of 8.74, the sixth-best in college basketball since the NCAA began keeping the stat in 1993.
The Boilermakers also finished third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54) and ninth in the NCAA in turnover margin (+3.8).
Tenth-seeded Purdue was an underdog to No. 7 seed Saint Mary's in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Omaha, but toppled the Gaels, 72-69, to win their 14th NCAA Tournament-opening game in a row. Despite a heroic effort from Hummel, the Boilers dropped a 63-60 decision to Kansas in the round of 32.
Hummel was once again named an All-American after ranking fourth in the Big Ten in both points and rebounds per game, and also earned the third first-team All-Big Ten nod of his career. At the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans, he garnered the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in recognition of both his on and off-court achievements.
Painter oversaw an influx of youth in 2012-13, directing a Boilermaker team that fielded only two seniors and relied on a talented nucleus of four freshmen to a 16-18 record and an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Freshmen A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson turned in two of the most prolific rookie seasons in the history of the program, with the former earning Big Ten All-Freshman Honors after leading conference in blocks per game during league play.
Painter has also resurrected Mackey Arena as one of the country's best home-court advantages, piling up a 111-23 (.828) record at home over the last eight seasons. In 2010-11, the Boilermakers went 16-0 at home, marking just the second undefeated home slate in the history of Mackey Arena, and the first since the 1968-69 campaign. From March 2010 to January 2012, the Boilers embarked on a 26-game home winning streak that was the second-longest in Mackey Arena history and the fourth-longest in the nation when it was snapped.
The 2007-08 campaign also included Purdue's first 9-0 home Big Ten record since the 1987-88 season. On Jan. 5, 2010, Painter presided over the program's 500th win at Mackey Arena.
The Next Level
With Painter at the helm of the Purdue program, a host of Boilermakers have earned the opportunity to play basketball at the professional level.
Carl Landry became the first NBA draft choice of the Painter Era in 2007, when Seattle called his name with the No. 31 selection and traded his rights to Houston. Landry went on to earn a place on the 2008 NBA All-Rookie Team, and recently completed his sixth season in the league, and first with the Golden State Warriors.
The 2011 NBA Draft was a seminal moment in the history of the program, as Johnson and Moore were both selected and, by the end of the night, reunited as members of the Boston Celtics. After being selected 27th overall by New Jersey to become Purdue's first first-round pick since 1994, Johnson was traded to Boston, which later chose Moore with the 55th overall selection.
After battling back from injuries to post a standout senior season, Hummel was chosen 58th overall by Minnesota in the 2012 draft.
Former Purdue standouts Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant and Lewis Jackson have also started promising professional careers. Kramer attended training camp with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010 before successful stints in the D-League, Puerto Rico and Germany, while Grant played for the D-League's Sioux Falls Sky Force in 2010-11 before heading over to the Czech Republic and subsequently to Greece. Jackson spent the 2012-13 playing in Lithuania.
Numerous players who studied under Painter in West Lafayette have also forged professional careers overseas, including recent Boilermakers David Teague, Nemanja Calasan and Marcus Green.
Honors and Awards
As the architect of some of the finest season's in Purdue's long basketball history, it is only fitting that Painter has been recognized time and again by both his coaching peers and the media for his efforts.
Painter has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times in the last six seasons, earning the consensus award in 2008 and 2011, and winning the coaches' vote in 2010. He is one of only five men to win the award more at least three times since its inception in 1974, along with Keady, Ohio State's Thad Matta, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and former Indiana coach Bob Knight. Painter's three wins, combined with Keady's seven, give Purdue a league-best 10 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
While at Purdue, Painter has also been named a district coach of the year by the NABC three times and the USBWA twice, as well as a three-time finalist for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year award. He was also selected as a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award and the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award in 2008.
Commitment to Success Off the Court
Winning championships, however, is only one part of Painter's equation for success. He has also focused himself on developing student-athletes who will represent Purdue with pride.
To that end, Painter has seen a total of 17 players earn a combined 34 Academic All-Big Ten honors during his tenure as head coach. Painter has also mentored an Academic All-American, as Moore earned second-team honors during the 2009-10 season.
A commitment to the community is also part of Painter's focus on student-athlete development, and his players devote themselves to that cause during their time under his watch.
In addition to participation in Special Olympics clinics, Painter's players have also visited local elementary schools and hospitals, and devoted time to the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. For the last two years, the Boilermakers hosted shopping sprees for disadvantaged area families during the holidays.
In each of the last four years, the team has also participated in The Challenge, a 5K run/walk that benefits the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.
In 2012, Hummel became Purdue's first-ever winner of the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the Division I men's basketball player who exemplifies four areas of excellence: classroom, character, community and competition.
In July of 2009, Painter extended his reach past the collegiate game and into the international arena, serving as an assistant coach with the United States' squad that captured the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Despite medaling in seven of the previous nine U19 Worlds, Team USA hadn't won gold since 1991.
Two of Painter's players also garnered international attention in 2009, as Hummel and Johnson were both invited to the World University Games Trials. Hummel eventually made the squad and helped lead the Americans to a bronze medal.
In the summer of 2010, Johnson was chosen as part of an elite group of college players known as the USA Men's Select Team, whose charge was to help Team USA train for its gold-medal run at the FIBA World Championship.
Painter himself once again ventured into the international spectrum in the summer of 2011, serving as head coach for the U.S. World University Games Team in Shenzhen, China. Despite being knocked from medal contention with a loss in the quarterfinals, Painter led the USA to a 7-1 record that tied for the best in the tournament.
In 2013, Painter was tabbed for the U.S. Men's Junior National Team Committee, where he will help select coaches and athletes for USA Basketball's college-aged competitions from 2013-16.
A hardnosed guard with excellent court vision and passing skills, Painter played under Keady at Purdue from 1990-93, leading the Boilermakers to three NCAA Tournament bids and an NIT appearance. He piled up 276 assists during his playing days, a figure that still ranks 20th on the program's career chart.
Painter served as team captain as a senior in 1992-93, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after averaging better than 4.5 assists per game.
Prior to Purdue
Painter wasted no time in beginning his journey through the college coaching ranks, joining former Purdue assistant, and current Boilermaker associate athletics director, Tom Reiter at Washington & Jefferson College for the 1993-94 season. He helped guide Washington & Jeff to a 22-3 record and an appearance in the Division III Elite Eight in his only season on the bench.
After spending the 1994-95 campaign as an assistant at Division II Barton College, Painter broke into the Division I coaching ranks as an assistant at Eastern Illinois. Painter's stint in Charleston, Ill., lasted from 1995-98. During his tenure, Painter was heavily involved in recruiting EIU stars Kyle Hill and Henry Domercant, who later led the Panthers to the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
In 1998, Painter reunited with former longtime Purdue assistant Bruce Weber at Southern Illinois, where he spent five seasons as the latter's top assistant and helped quickly reverse the fortunes of a program that had suffered three-straight losing season prior to his arrival.
Painter helped return Southern Illinois to the national spotlight during the 2001-02 season, mentoring a team that set a school record with 28 wins and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Salukis made a return trip to the Big Dance with Painter on the bench in 2003, and were featured in a nationally-televised documentary on MTV.
Painter was introduced to the head coaching ranks at Southern Illinois in 2003-04, when he succeeded longtime Purdue assistant Bruce Weber in Carbondale and led the Salukis to a 25-5 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. SIU rose as high as 15th in the AP poll during the campaign, and Painter was rewarded with Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honors.
The Painter File Date of Birth: Aug. 27, 1970 Hometown: Muncie, Ind. Education: Purdue '94 (B.A.); Eastern Illinois '98 (M.S.) Children: Maggie, Brayden and Emma
Hired at Purdue: April 9, 2004 Overall Record: 201-100 (.668), eight seasons Record at Purdue: 176-95 (.649), seven seasons Big Ten Record: 84-56 (.600)
Purdue - 1989-93 (honorable mention All-Big Ten, 1992-93)
Washington & Jefferson, assistant coach - 1993-94
Barton College, assistant coach - 1994-95
Eastern Illinois, assistant coach - 1995-98
Southern Illinois, assistant coach - 1998-03
Southern Illinois, head coach - 2003-04
Purdue, associate head coach - 2004-05
Purdue, head coach - April 1, 2005-Present
Big Ten Coach of the Year - 2008, 2010, 2011
District V Coach of the Year (USBWA) - 2004, 2010, 2011
District 7 Coach of the Year (NABC) - 2010, 2011
District 10 Coach of the Year (NABC) - 2008
Naismith Coach of the Year finalist - 2008
Jim Phelan Coach of the Year finalist - 2008, 2010, 2011
Skip Prosser Man of the Year finalist - 2008
Henry Iba Award nominee - 2008, 2009
Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year - 2004