Dec. 23, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue Director of Athletics Morgan Burke announced today that the University has extended head football coach Danny Hope's contract for two additional years, through Dec. 31, 2016. Details are being finalized and will be available once completed.
"Purdue football has taken many important steps in pursuit of developing champions, scholars and citizens in Danny Hope's first three years as head coach," Burke said.
Following a season with an abnormal number of injuries in 2010, Purdue has returned to postseason play for the first time in four years, as the Boilermakers will appear in their 11th bowl game in the last 15 years when they square off against Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 27.
"Returning to postseason play is something we thought would happen last year, but the unbelievable and unprecedented number of injuries set us back," Burke said. "The 2011 team fought its way back to the bowl scene by winning two of its final three games, including a victory over Indiana to return the Old Oaken Bucket to Purdue."
"I believe this season was a step in the right direction and reinforced the positive impact of the plan that Morgan and I had when I returned to Purdue," Hope said. "We still have ground to cover and lots of work to do in order to develop the type of physical team that performs consistently and can take on the best in the Big Ten Conference. But the first step was to help these young men get back to playing a game in late December or early January.
"I am especially happy for and proud of our seniors, who can say they helped restart the postseason tradition which is part of our recent heritage. The extra practices, in preparation for the bowl, have been invaluable to some of the younger players our fans have yet to see in action. To top it off, we get to play another game and have the opportunity to become bowl champions.
The development of a strong program requires perseverance and a willingness to critically address all aspects of our program each year, so we can amend and update our plan. Morgan and I have started that process and will continue to look at how to accelerate our improvement. But it is nice to see some payoff for the work to date. It will provide the energy for the team, for the entire staff that supports football and for me to press on.
"I really appreciate the fans who were with us this year, and I give special thanks to the Ross-Ade Brigade, our new student section. I am told we have sold more tickets for the 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl than we did for the 2007 Motor City Bowl. We feel fortunate to have such great fans.
Since I returned to Purdue in 2008, a number of positive steps have taken place to support Purdue's commitment to compete for football championships," Hope continued. "We have a new outdoor practice complex to complement the best indoor facility in the country and a new state-of-the-art sports medicine complex. In addition, we have seen significant investments made in the areas of academic support, player development, sports performance and overall program operations The return on these investments are just beginning to be realized both by our current student-athletes and in the ability to attract talent that can compete on the field and in the classroom.
"In addition, over the next year, we will complete the Drew and Brittany Brees Academic Center, look to upgrade equipment in the Mollenkopf weight room and remodel our office area in the Mollenkopf Center to further strengthen our academic and player personnel areas.
"With the continued development of the current roster and addition of the prospects that will form our next class in February - a class we are very excited about - we are positioned to close the gap on the championship teams and look forward to 2012 and beyond.
Burke detailed that while Hope and his coaching staff work on improving on the field, a number of changes in football marketing will go on concurrently.
Danny has control of the outcome on the field, but Barb Kapp, Nancy Cross, Tom Schott, Chris Peludat, Matt Rector, Derick Stoulil and I are looking at how we can bolster the fan experience leading up to game day, how we can enhance the use of our ticketing technology to make it easier for all of our fans who have different needs and wants," Burke said. "These efforts will have a focus on taking customer service to new levels and to employing a sales force that will allow us to reach out to all our fans and to ensure our offerings meet their needs.
"We also will continue to have a specific focus on our students. We were pleased with the first year of the Ross-Ade Brigade. Next semester, a team of Purdue professionals, led by Chris Clopton, director of the Varsity P Club and a former Boilermaker football player, will be tapping into our student body to help us tailor a plan to better meet the needs of our undergraduate and graduate student population of 40,000.
"In addition, we will build off the Boiler Bridge Walk to deepen ties with the Lafayette-West Lafayette community to ensure the Boilermakers are the team of choice in this area. So there is lots of work for all of us and lots of opportunity to reinvigorate our fan base. Channeling all of our energy toward the pursuit of a championship is priority No. 1 for me, for Danny and our team and for all our fans. Some of that channeling has taken a special meaning this week as a $2 million commitment was received to support Purdue football, which we will detail in 2012."