Fourth-year head coach Danny Hope is the epitome of the Boilermaker spirit. He is hardworking, results-oriented, enthusiastic and passionate.
Last season those traits paid off with a bowl bid and a winning record for the first time at Purdue since 2007. The 2011 Boilermakers recorded a number of signature wins, including a victory over previously undefeated Illinois, beating Ohio State in overtime, downing Indiana in Bloomington and winning the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl with a victory over Western Michigan in Detroit. Purdue finished third in the Leaders Division in the Big Ten standings and the win over the Buckeyes marked the first time the Boilermakers have beaten Ohio State in back-to-back home games in program history. Hope's 2011 Boilermakers also became the first Purdue team to lead the nation in a statistical category - kickoff return average - since 1954, and true freshman Raheem Mostert led all players individually.
In 2010, the Boilermakers endured injuries rarely seen by any collegiate football program. Starting four different signal callers in the same season for the first time at the school dubbed the "Cradle of Quarterbacks," Purdue went the entire year largely without the services of its leading returning rusher and receiver, as well as their second- and third-string backups. Despite the numerous injuries, Hope's team jumped out to a 4-2 start, which when combined with a strong finish to the 2009 campaign, put the Boilers at 8-4 over a 12-game stretch. Highlights of the 2010 season included a come-from-behind victory at 25th-ranked Northwestern, a school-record tying five straight games with over 200 yards rushing and senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan earning the first unanimous All-America honors at Purdue since 1980.
In 2009, Hope completed his first season as the program's head coach with a 5-7 overall record and 4-4 Big Ten Conference mark. Sitting with a 1-5 record in mid-October, the Boilermakers began a second-half ascent with a thrilling 26-18 win over seventh-ranked and eventual Rose Bowl champion Ohio State at Ross-Ade Stadium. The victory snapped a 19-game losing skid to ranked opponents. Three weeks later, the Boilermakers again were riding high, defeating Michigan 38-36 for their first road victory since 2007 and their first win in Ann Arbor in 43 years. Moreover, Purdue beat Ohio State and Michigan in the same season for only the third time in school history (also 1984 and 2000) and Hope became the only person in Big Ten history to defeat the two in his first season as the head coach. The Boilermakers capped the season with a 38-21 win at Indiana to keep possession of the Old Oaken Bucket.
Hope became the 34th head football coach in Purdue history Jan. 1, 2009. He spent the 2008 season as associate head coach, working with the offensive line, managing recruiting and monitoring academics. He was named to the position Jan. 11, 2008, with a succession plan in place for him to become head coach upon the retirement of Joe Tiller at the end of the year. Hope is under contract through the 2014 season.
An assistant under Tiller at Purdue from 1997 to 2001, Hope returned to the Boilermakers from Eastern Kentucky University - owner of the longest non-losing season streak in NCAA Division I football - where he served as head coach from 2003 to 2007. His five-year record was 35-22 (.614 winning percentage), including 32-8 (.800 winning percentage) in Ohio Valley Conference games.
Hope has a career record of 40-29 (.580 winning percentage).
During the 2007 season, Eastern Kentucky finished 9-3 and won the OVC championship with an 8-0 mark. The Colonels advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) playoffs and were ranked 13th in the final poll. The nine wins were the most by an Eastern Kentucky team since 1995 and the conference championship was the first since 1997. Hope was named OVC Coach of the Year, FCS Region 3 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for both American Football Coaches Association and Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year honors.
In addition to its conference championship in 2007, Eastern Kentucky finished second in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The Colonels led the OVC in total offense on three occasions and were tops in pass efficiency defense, tackles for loss, sacks and turnover margin in 2007. Eastern Kentucky produced four All-Americans and 24 first team all-conference performers under Hope.
Hope was an active figure both on campus and in the Richmond, Ky., area. He and his team were involved in many community service initiatives, including an annual blood drive. Other projects included the Free Others of Deprivation food, toy and clothing drive; Special Motor Fitness Clinic for children with special needs; EKU Student Organization Breast Cancer Awareness Auction; and Backfield in Motion for underprivileged children in the Nashville, Tenn., area.
"The thing I like best about Coach Hope is that he's a player's coach. He makes sure we come first in every aspect of our program and always keeps us updated on what's going on. He's also like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going and going. When you see your head coach always working, all you want to do is work for him."
All-Big Ten wide receiver Keith Smith
Hope serves as spokesman for the Purdue Cancer Center Challenge, an annual 5K run/walk beginning and ending at Ross-Ade Stadium. He asks Boilermaker fans to "Take the Challenge, Get Up, Get Fit and Give Back" by raising funds for cancer research at Purdue.
In his previous stint with the Boilermakers, Hope coached the offensive line. Seven of his players went on to the National Football League: Ian Allen, Kelly Butler, Mark Fischer, Brandon Gorin, Matt Light, Gene Mruczkowski and Chukky Okobi. The Boilermakers played in the Alamo Bowl in 1997 and 1998, the 2000 Outback Bowl, 2001 Rose Bowl and 2001 Sun Bowl while averaging nearly eight wins per season.
In 2000, Light became the Boilermakers' first All-America offensive lineman since tackle Karl Singer in 1965 and first All-Big Ten offensive lineman since tackle Steve McKenzie and guard Dale Schwann in 1979.
Upon leaving Purdue, Hope served as assistant head coach at Louisville in 2002.
Hope initially worked with Tiller at Wyoming during the 1996 season. Hope's other experience includes stints as an assistant at Louisville (1987-94) and Oklahoma (1995). Among the players he coached at Louisville was Roman Oben, an offensive tackle in the NFL for 12 seasons.
"I would not be in the NFL today if it were not for Danny Hope. Not only did he help me from a technique standpoint, but he taught me what it takes from an intensity level. He is absolutely the right guy to build on the current foundation of Purdue football."
Matt Light, All-America left tackle at Purdue, two-time Pro Bowl selection and member of three Super Bowl championship teams with the New England Patriots
Hope began his coaching career as an assistant at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla., from 1981 to 1984. Manatee won the Florida Class 4A state championship in 1983. He was a graduate assistant at Louisville in 1985 and 1986.
Regarded as a tireless recruiter with a keen eye for talent, Hope was named one of the nation's best in 1993 and 2000 by Tom Lemming, editor of Prep Football Report. Hope has extensive contacts in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and Florida - specifically the Gulf Coast, Miami and Orlando - as well as in Chicagoland. He also has recruited in the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Hope started as an offensive guard at Eastern Kentucky from 1977 to 1980 for the legendary Roy Kidd, whom Hope succeeded as head coach. Hope was a member of the 1979 Division I-AA national championship team and captain of the 1980 national runner-up squad. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in health education.
The Hopes - Chaz, Sally and Danny.
A native of Gainesville, Fla., Hope (born Jan. 7, 1959) attended Miami Killian Senior High School. He and his wife, Sally, have a son, Chaz, who played for the Colonels.