1887: Albert Berg
Purdue's first football coach was a 23-year-old by the name of Albert Berg, who lived across the Wabash River. He was chosen as coach because it was believed he had some knowledge of the game from his days as a student at Princeton University. He was hired at the rate of $1 per lesson. But Berg was a deaf mute, brought on by childhood spinal meningitis, and he had merely one week to prepare the squad of 12 volunteer players for its introductory game. No wonder Butler College, which had organized its first team a year earlier, won 48-6 on Oct. 29, 1887, in Indianapolis.
Some 37 years later, as part of the Ross-Ade Stadium dedication festivities, Berg had the following sentiments read on his behalf: "On account of my inability to hear and my ability to talk only to a limited extent ... my instruction was mainly by imitation of my own playing. The way the boys caught on and improved would have delighted and encouraged any coach. They were a willing and loyal lot, full of pep and college spirit, and the foundation, I am sure, was then and there laid for Purdue's subsequent gridiron success."
A one-game season was it for Purdue in 1887, and with no volunteers signing up the following fall, there was no football in 1888. But after the one-year hiatus, the sport returned and has been played ever since by those who eventually would be called "Boilermakers."
1889: George Reisner
J.M. Sholl and another original team member, D. Lotz, remained interested in football in 1889 and recruited 12 others to form Purdue's second squad, coached by George Reisner, a Harvard graduate. Purdue joined Butler, Franklin College, Hanover College, Indiana University and Wabash College in a YMCA league.
Purdue opened the season with a home game against DePauw University on Nov. 16. The contest was played at the Lafayette YMCA park, and Purdue posted the first win in school history by the score of 34-10. One week later, Purdue traveled to Crawfordsville, Indiana, and defeated Wabash 18-4, a victory that legend has it led to speculation that Purdue may have convinced some local Monon Railroad workers - specifically boiler builders - to play football. In the third and final game, Purdue made a return trip to Butler and put on a significantly better showing than it had in its maiden voyage two years earlier, losing 14-0.
1890: Clinton Hare
In 1890, Purdue expanded its schedule to six games and split them under coach Clinton Hare - Butler's coach in 1887 - while competing in the newly formed Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The IIAA consisted of Purdue, Butler, DePauw, Franklin, Indiana, Wabash and later Rose Polytechnic Institute, although Indiana did not field a football team in 1890. Purdue's season opener was historic in that it was played out of state and against a team of eastern university all-stars in Chicago. Purdue lost that one by the score of 10-6 but won three of its next four in convincing fashion: 54-0 over Wabash, 32-0 at DePauw and 62-0 over the University of Illinois. The only loss came at the hands of the University of Michigan, 34-6 in Ann Arbor. Purdue again finished the season at Butler, dropping a 12-10 verdict.
1891-92: Knowlton Ames
Knowlton Ames, who was nicknamed "Snake," came to Purdue from Chicago and brought with him a former teammate, Ben "Sport" Donnelly. Over the course of the 1891 and 1892 seasons, Purdue never was defeated, going 12-0, and absolutely dominated, shutting out its four 1891 opponents 192-0 and outscoring its eight foes in 1892 by a 320-24 margin. Purdue won the first two of four consecutive Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships.
1893-95: David Balliet
Knowlton Ames and Ben "Sport" Donnelly moved on following the 1892 season and were replaced by David Balliet, who had coached Auburn University for one game in February of 1893. Purdue's winning ways continued. On Oct. 21, 1893, the Boilermakers mauled Butler 96-0, setting school records for most points scored and greatest margin of victory that still stand today. Purdue subsequently went 9-1 in 1894.
On New Year's Day of 1895, the Purdue faculty passed an order prohibiting its teams from playing any professional or semi-professional opponents. University president James H. Smart desired to "preserve college athletics from the demoralization of professionalism." Smart subsequently convened a meeting of seven Midwestern schools at the Palmer House in Chicago on Jan. 11, 1895, to discuss the "regulation and control of intercollegiate athletics." Joining Purdue were the presidents from Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin. The presidents agreed that athletic participation be restricted to "bona fide, full-time students who were not delinquent in their studies." At Purdue, 569 men could participate, the second-smallest number among the schools - behind Northwestern. Eleven months later, those seven schools formed the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives or Western Conference, which ultimately became known as the Big Ten Conference in 1917 following the additions of Indiana, the State University of Iowa and Ohio State University.
1896: S.M. Hammond
1897: William Church
The Boilermakers' inaugural game in the newly formed Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives or Western Conference - which ultimately became known as the Big Ten Conference in 1917 - was a 14-0 loss at Minnesota, played Oct. 17, 1896. Purdue went 4-2-1 under S.M. Hammond that season and 5-3-1 under William Church in 1897 before turning to one of its own to become coach in 1898.
1898-1900: Alpha Jamison
Alpha Jamison, the only five-year football letterwinner in school history, played for the Boilermakers from 1892 to 1896 and took the coaching reins in 1898. Purdue was a breakeven team during his three-year coaching tenure, posting an 11-11-1 record. Jamison also was Purdue's basketball coach during the 1899-1900 and 1900-01 seasons and turned down an offer to become athletics director in 1914. Rather, he became a successful businessman and community leader and ultimately was elected mayor of West Lafayette. Jamison was elected to the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
1901: David Balliet
1902: Charles Best
David Balliet returned as coach in 1901 before Charles Best took over and led the Boilermakers to a 7-2-1 record the following year. All seven wins were shutouts, and Purdue outscored its opponents by a 315-68 margin.
1903-04: Oliver Cutts
From Nov. 17, 1900, to Oct. 3, 1903, the Boilermakers won 15 games and all were whitewashes. Under coach Oliver Cutts, Purdue was sitting 4-2 the morning of Halloween in 1903 when tragedy struck. A 14-car train carrying the Purdue team, band and fans to Indianapolis for a game against Indiana crashed into a 10-car section of coal cars being backed down the track inside the Indianapolis city limits. Sixteen Boilermakers died, and some 30 additional passengers, including Cutts, were injured or maimed for life. The balance of the 1903 season was canceled. Proving its fortitude, Purdue returned with a vengeance in 1904, sporting a 9-3 record under Cutts, who also served as athletics director in 1904 and 1905 and from 1915 to 1918.
1905: Albert Hernstein
Under new coach Albert Herrnstein, the 1905 Boilermakers finished 6-1-1, losing only to powerful Chicago 19-0 on Nov. 11 while tying Indiana 11-11 in Bloomington on Oct. 28.
1906: Myron Witham
1907: Leigh Turner
The Boilermakers posted a pair of winless seasons in 1906 and 1907: 0-5 both years under coaches Myron Witham and Leigh Turner. The Boilermakers scored merely five points the entire 1906 season and only 10 in 1907.
1908-09: Frederick Speik
Purdue's next coach, Frederick Speik, was a graduate of Chicago, and in his second game the Boilermakers snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 40-0 victory over visiting Earlham College on Oct. 10, 1908. Purdue won its next three and finished the season 4-3 before backsliding to 2-5 in 1909.
1910-12: M.H. "Bill" Horr
Another coaching change was in store for 1910, with Marquis "Bill" Horr, an All-America tackle from Syracuse University and 1908 Olympic medalist in the discus, becoming the ninth man to lead the Boilermakers since the turn of the century. After going 1-5 in Horr's first season and winning just one of its first five games of 1911, Purdue ended the year with back-to-back victories to finish 3-4.
The Boilermakers won just one of their first three games of the 1912 season, and Horr was dismissed as coach Oct. 30 for "improper conduct." John "Keckie" Moll assumed control of the team, and the Boilermakers did not lose the rest of the season, winning three and tying one. Among their victories was a 91-0 demolition of Rose Poly on Nov. 17. Moll, who was expected to have his contract renewed, also had an offer to become head coach at Ohio State. But he died on Christmas morning of 1912 after a short illness stemming from typhoid fever.
1913-15: Andy Smith
From 1906 to 1914, Purdue athletics were under the directorship of Hugh Nicol, a Scottish-born Major League Baseball player and manager from 1881 to 1897. His search for a new football coach in 1913 took him to the University of Pennsylvania and Andy Smith, an All-America fullback at his alma mater. Smith coached at Pennsylvania for four years and opened many eyes when the Quakers overcame a 21-0 deficit to defeat Michigan 28-21 in 1912. Ohio State also sought his services. According to the Sept. 2, 1913, edition of the "Purdue Exponent," "When Coach `Andy' Smith, who arrives today, reaches Purdue, the general athletic situation will take on a more distinctive football aspect ... He is, without doubt, of the same caliber as Yost, of Michigan, Stagg, of Chicago, Juneau, of Wisconsin, and Williams, of Minnesota." Smith's first victory with the Boilermakers - 26-0 over Wabash on Oct. 4, 1913 - marked the 100th in Purdue history. The Boilermakers went on to post their first-ever winning Western Conference record at 2-1-2 en route to a 4-1-2 overall mark. Moreover, Purdue had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1904 and 1905. The Boilermakers had another winning season in 1914, going 5-2, and then went 3-3-1 in 1915 before Smith left for the University of California, where he would lead the Golden Bears to the 1920 national championship. He later became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1951.
1916-17: Cleo O'Donnell
Following the departure of Andy Smith, Purdue turned to a high school coach, Cleo O'Donnell, of Everett, Massachusetts, but in 1916 and 1917 the Boilermakers lost eight of nine conference games while posting overall records of 2-4-1 and 3-4.
1918-20: Arthur "Butch" Scanlon
Between 1898 and 1917, Purdue managed just one tie while losing 19 times to the University of Chicago, which was coached by the renowned Amos Alonzo Stagg. Under new coach Arthur "Butch" Scanlon, a Chicago alum who was tutored by Stagg, the drought ended Nov. 2, 1918, as the Boilermakers topped the Maroons 7-3 before 6,000 people at Stuart Field. Chicago led 3-0 in the fourth quarter when J.H. Quast completed a 20-yard pass to Bob Markley, who raced the final 25 yards while shedding four would-be tacklers for the game-winning touchdown. The Nov. 4 "Lafayette Journal" reported: "Markley's sensational jaunt goalward put the large crowd in an uproar. When the game was ended and Purdue had won the coaches and players were carried off the field by the delighted fans." That game was the only one Purdue played in the now-named Big Ten Conference that season, but it was enough for a share of the league championship with Illinois (4-0) and Michigan (2-0). However, the Boilermakers did not win another conference game in Scanlon's three-year reign, finishing just 7-12-1 overall.
1921: William Deitz
Next up to coach Purdue was William "Lone Star" Dietz, who played at Carlisle College with the renowned Jim Thorpe for the legendary Pop Warner. Dietz coached Washington State to its only Rose Bowl victory in 1916. But he won just one of seven games in his only season with the Boilermakers, who failed to score in five contests. The victory was a 3-0 verdict over Northwestern on Nov. 5, 1921, in what is documented as the first Homecoming game at Purdue.
During the offseason, Dietz was accused of offering money and railroad fare to high school players on the West Coast to play for him. His contract had expired Nov. 20, but was set to be renewed when the allegations were levied against him by Leslie Ayer, chairman of the faculty committee at the University of Washington. On Jan. 19, 1922, Purdue acting president Henry Marshall announced that Dietz no longer would be employed. Ayer lauded Purdue's decision, saying it "proves that middlewestern colleges are in earnest in their efforts to keep intercollegiate athletics healthy." Dietz went on to coach at Louisiana Tech, Wyoming, Haskell Institute and Albright College - as well as with the Boston Redskins of the National Football League - and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
1922-29: Jim Phelan
In the first three-plus decades of Purdue football, there was little to no stability in the head coaching position. Twenty men came and went, with more than half of them keeping the job for one season or less. David Balliet was the only man to serve more than three years, and he did so over two stints.
All that changed on March 29, 1922, when athletics director Nelson Kellogg hired Jim Phelan.
A quarterback for coach Jesse Harper at Notre Dame from 1915 to 1917 - and team captain as a senior - Phelan went on to serve in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant. He was sent to the University of Missouri as a military instructor and also coached the football team in 1920 and 1921 before coming to Purdue.
Ross-Ade Stadium was dedicated Nov. 22, 1924, in a game against intrastate rival Indiana, which the Boilermakers won 26-7.
An experienced team, led by seniors Glen Harmeson, Elmer Sleight and Ralph Welch, brought lofty expectations for the 1929 Boilermakers. They did not disappoint. The season would be defined in the fourth quarter of the second game, Purdue's first contest against Michigan since 1900. The visiting Wolverines led 16-6 after three quarters on Oct. 12 before Purdue erupted for four touchdowns to win 30-16 before 25,000 fans.
The Boilermakers were unblemished at 6-0 when Iowa came to town as the Homecoming opponent for what the "Purdue Exponent" called "the most crucial game ever played by a Boilermaker football team" on a gloomy Nov. 16 afternoon. Harmeson connected with end Bill Woerner on a 17-yard passing play in the second quarter for what proved to be the game's only score, and Harmeson intercepted a pass by Oran Pape to thwart Iowa's final possession. The 7-0 victory before 26,000 fans guaranteed Purdue its first - and to this point only - outright Big Ten championship. The Boilermakers finished 8-0, including 5-0 in conference play.
Not only did the Boilermakers lose key senior players from their championship squad, they also lost Phelan, who left to become head coach at the University of Washington in the spring of 1930. Welch accompanied him as an assistant, and the Huskies went to the Rose Bowl in 1937. Phelan stayed at Washington through 1941 and was succeeded by Welch. Phelan went on to coach professionally and later served three terms as county commissioner of Sacramento County in California. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
1930-36: Noble Kizer
For its next head coach, Purdue picked Noble Kizer, an assistant who trained the linemen under Jim Phelan and was a fellow Notre Dame alum. That's where the similarities ended. According to Howard Kissell, a halfback who played for both men, Phelan was high strung and had a "crisp tongue," while Kizer was more laid back and "never cursed his players." Kizer, from Plymouth, Indiana, was an offensive guard for the Fighting Irish under coach Knute Rockne from 1922 to 1924 and a member of the 1924 national championship team that featured the fabled "Four Horsemen."
In 1931, Purdue outscored its opponents 192-39 en route to a Big Ten Conference tri-championship with Michigan and Northwestern. The Boilermakers went 9-1 overall (5-1 Big Ten), including a 7-0 victory over Northwestern in a "postseason" game played for charity as the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression.
The Boilermakers were preseason favorites to win the Big Ten in 1932, and a 7-7 tie with Northwestern on Oct. 22 was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season (7-0-1 overall, 5-0-1 Big Ten). Purdue and Michigan, who did not play one another that season, shared the conference crown.
Kizer's popularity and success led him to coach the first College All-Star team against the Chicago Bears, two-time defending champions of the National Football League, at Soldier Field on Aug. 31, 1934. In a nationwide poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune, Kizer received 617,000 votes, some 12,432 more than runner-up Dick Hanley of Northwestern.
In July of 1937, Kizer, who had served as athletics director since 1933 following the resignation of Nelson Kellogg, was stricken with a kidney disorder. He was granted a leave of absence Aug. 28 and tabbed longtime assistant Mal Elward as interim coach. Nearly a year and a half later, Kizer resumed his duties as athletics director after staging a remarkable recovery, but ultimately he succumbed to the illness June 13, 1940, at just 40 years of age.
Kizer's seven-year record was 42-13-3, a snappy .750 winning percentage that is far and away the best in school history.
1937-41: Mal Elward
Allen "Mal" Elward was an assistant with the Boilermakers for 10 years before taking over as interim head coach for the ailing Noble Kizer in August of 1937. Elward was regarded as a keen technician and credited with having a key role in the rise of Purdue football over the previous decade. He had head coaching experience - in high school, the armed services (he was a U.S. Navy pilot during World War I), and at Grinnell College and John Carroll University.
Elward's unique nickname stemmed from his youth, when his French class teacher asked him what "mal" meant. Elward, apparently daydreaming about football, responded that he did not know, to which his teacher snapped, "It means bad, and you're the limit." His classmates were struck by the word, and he was known as "Mal" thereafter.
Like his two predecessors at Purdue, Elward played at Notre Dame. The native of New Brunswick, Canada, was an end from 1912 to 1915, backing up Knute Rockne for two years before becoming a starter his junior and senior seasons.
Purdue went 5-1-2 during the 1938 season and tied Michigan for second place in the Big Ten Conference with a 3-1-1 mark. But, after achieving winning records for a stretch of 12 of 14 seasons (and breakeven marks the other two years), the Boilermakers dropped to 2-6 in 1940.
Elward, who assumed the role of athletics director upon Kizer's death in July of 1940, resigned to enlist in the Navy following the 1941 season. He returned to coaching as an assistant at Stanford University from 1946 to 1956.
1942-43: Elmer Burnham
On Feb. 25, 1942, Purdue named Guy "Red" Mackey athletics director and Elmer Burnham football coach. Mackey played end for the Boilermakers from 1926 to 1928 and was an assistant football coach from 1931 to 1942, while Burnham had been the freshman football coach the previous seven years. Previously, Burnham was a successful prep coach at Central High School in South Bend, Indiana, posting a 118-30-8 record.
During World War II, many schools dropped football due to a lack of able bodies, and service teams emerged. Purdue stayed the course in 1942, despite a roster of 42 players, but managed to win just one game.
The V-12 Navy College Training Program was initiated in 1943 to supplement commissioned officers' duty in World War II. Between July 1, 1943, and June 30, 1946, more than 125,000 men enrolled in the program at 131 colleges and universities across the United States. V-12 participants were required to carry 17 credit hours and 9 1/2 hours of physical training each week. Purdue had such a program, and the football program benefitted from the addition of seven naval trainees and 26 marine trainees.
The 1943 Boilermakers finished 9-0, shared the Big Ten Conference championship with Michigan (both 6-0) and were ranked fifth in the final Associated Press poll. They outscored their opponents 214-55.
In May of 1944, Burnham, a native of West Newbury, Massachusetts, resigned to become head coach and associate professor of physical education at the University of Rochester.
1944-46: Cecil Isbell
Purdue tabbed Cecil Isbell as its next coach, and he became the second alum to guide the Boilermakers. Isbell played for the Boilermakers from 1935 to 1937 and the Green Bay Packers from 1937 to 1942 before returning to his alma mater as an assistant under Elmer Burnham in 1943.
On Nov. 4, 1944, Purdue celebrated Homecoming by beating Wisconsin 35-0. Isbell spent the game coaching from a photographer's booth at the top of Ross-Ade Stadium, becoming one of the first coaches in the country - if not the first - to do so. Wrote Graham in the Nov. 6 "Journal and Courier": "Isbell spotted weaknesses in the Wisconsin defense from this high vantage point and phoned instructions to (assistant coaches) Joe Dienhart and Guy Mackey on the sidelines." The Boilermakers wound up 5-5 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten Conference play, good for third place.
The 1945 Boilermakers won their first four games and moved into the national rankings at No. 9. Their next opponent was fourth-ranked Ohio State in Columbus on Oct. 20. Purdue raced to a 28-0 lead and went on to an improbable 35-13 victory. But the 5-0 start turned into a 7-3 final record (3-3 Big Ten).
In 1946, Purdue limped home with a 2-6-1 record. The Boilermakers did not win any of their six Big Ten games, going winless in league play for the first time since 1925. Isbell resigned in February of 1947 to become head coach of the Baltimore Colts in the year-old All-American Football Conference that sought to challenge the National Football League.
1947-55: Stu Holcomb
Fifty years before Joe Tiller brought "basketball on grass" to Purdue football, the Boilermakers hired a basketball coach to be their football coach. Stu Holcomb, the head basketball coach at Army, was hired March 1, 1947. He also was a football assistant at West Point and previously had been the head coach at Findlay College, Muskingum College, Washington & Jefferson College and Miami University. Holcomb was a fullback and halfback at Ohio State from 1929 to 1931, serving as team captain his senior season.
Holcomb stayed at Purdue for nine seasons - the most of any coach up to that point and still the third-most in school history - and his tenure has been described accurately as a "roller coaster ride." The Boilermakers posted a 35-42-4 overall record, including a 25-26-2 mark in conference play. They had five winning campaigns but never won more than five games in a season.
Holcomb's high point was the 1952 campaign. Heading into the final day of the season, four teams were in the running for the Big Ten Conference championship: Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. The Boilermakers defeated Indiana 21-16 at Ross-Ade Stadium, Wisconsin and Minnesota tied 21-21, and Michigan lost to Ohio State 27-7, leaving Purdue and Wisconsin as co-champions with 4-1-1 conference records.
The co-championship meant the conference athletics directors had to vote to determine "what team best would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl." Purdue's overall record was 4-3-2, while Wisconsin was 6-2-1. The teams did not face one another during the season.
Wisconsin was the choice and, although the results were not made public, it was believed to be at least 7-3 in favor of the Badgers. The announcement came Nov. 24 on what was called "Blue Monday" around Purdue.
Speculation grew immediately after the 1955 season that Holcomb would leave Purdue to become athletics director at Northwestern. He did Dec. 9, with four years left on his contract. Holcomb asked one of his assistant coaches at Purdue, Jack Mollenkopf, to accompany him to Northwestern as assistant athletics director. But Mollenkopf also was a candidate to replace Holcomb as head coach of the Boilermakers, and he was awarded that job Dec. 12.
1956-69: Jack Mollenkopf
Jack Mollenkopf served as head coach of the Boilermakers from 1956 to 1969. Beforehand, he was an assistant under Stu Holcomb from 1947 to 1955.
With Mollenkopf at the helm, Purdue enjoyed the greatest sustained run of success in school history, hailed as the "Golden Years." Mollenkopf patrolled the sidelines longer than any coach before or after him and produced an 84-39-9 overall record (.670 winning percentage), which included a 57-32-5 mark in Big Ten Conference games.
Mollenkopf guided the Boilermakers to their only Rose Bowl victory on Jan. 2, 1967 (14-13 over USC) and a Big Ten tri-championship in 1967. Purdue finished second in the Big Ten twice (1959 and 1966) and third on four occasions (1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969).
In addition, the Boilermakers were nationally ranked for 80 weeks - tied with Joe Tiller for the most under any head coach - including the No. 1 spot the first five weeks of the 1968 season.
"Jack the Ripper" was 11-2-1 against Indiana and 10-4 against Notre Dame.
A total of 14 players were named All-Americans under Mollenkopf. Moreover, a Boilermaker finished in the top three in Heisman Trophy balloting four consecutive seasons: quarterback Bob Griese second in 1966, halfback Leroy Keyes third in 1967 and second in 1968, and quarterback Mike Phipps second in 1969.
A prominent figure on the sidelines of postseason all-star games, Mollenkopf served as head coach of the 1958, 1959 and 1960 Blue-Gray games; 1962 and 1963 East-West Shrine games; 1964, 1967 and 1970 Hula bowls; 1968 All-American Bowl; and 1969 North-South Shrine Game.
Mollenkopf was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and was a member of the inaugural class of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. The Mollenkopf Athletic Center, which houses Purdue's indoor practice facility, was named in his honor in 1990.
1970-72: Bob DeMoss
Having coached the likes of Len Dawson, Bob Griese and Mike Phipps, it's no wonder Bob DeMoss was famed as a "Quarterback Architect." And, after 20 seasons as a loyal assistant under Stu Holcomb and Jack Mollenkopf, it virtually was a forgone conclusion that DeMoss would assume the reins as head coach when Mollenkopf retired.
An affable gentleman, DeMoss' first order of business in 1970 was finding a quarterback to replace Phipps. "DeMo" settled on Chuck Piebes, who had joined the Boilermakers a year earlier as a walkon defensive back and flanker. But after six games, Piebes was replaced by Gary Danielson. The Boilermakers mustered merely one victory in four games with Danielson under center to finish with a 4-6 record, but DeMoss had found the next member of the Cradle of Quarterbacks.
After losing a pair of non-conference heartbreakers to open the 1971 season, Purdue won its first three Big Ten Conference games and was ranked 17th in the Associated Press poll. Danielson became the first quarterback in school history to pass for 300 yards in a game during a 27-13 Homecoming victory over Minnesota on Oct. 9, and he did it in three quarters before being knocked unconscious and suffering a separated left shoulder. With Danielson in and out of the lineup, the Boilermakers lost their final five games to finish with a 3-7 record.
Nevertheless, there was enough talent and depth returning in 1972 to legitimize murmurings of the Rose Bowl. DeMoss decided to instill the wishbone offense, which was growing in popularity around the country. The Boilermakers lost their first three games and then opted to bring back their conventional Power-I formation. Purdue rebounded to finish 6-5 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten, good for third place behind co-champions Michigan and Ohio State (7-1). The Boilermakers had a chance to share the title before losing to the third-ranked Wolverines 9-6 in Ann Arbor on Nov. 18.
Despite coming off a winning season, DeMoss resigned as coach Dec. 3, 1972, saying he and the football program needed a change.
1973-76: Alex Agase
Alex Agase, an All-America guard at Purdue in 1943 while on campus for the V-12 Navy College Training Program, was named head coach Dec. 15, 1972. He returned to the Boilermakers from Northwestern, where he was an assistant under Ara Parseghian for eight years before beginning a nine-year run as head coach. Agase became the first individual in the 76-year history of the Big Ten Conference to serve as head football coach at two member institutions.
Agase, who served in the Marine Corps in 1944 and 1945 and won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart while on the Japanese island of Okinawa, had to replace 15 starters for the 1973 season. The Boilermakers failed to win consecutive games but never suffered more than two straight losses, and the end result was a 5-6 record.
After starting 0-1-1 in 1974, Agase got his first signature win at Purdue with a surprising 31-20 victory over second-ranked and defending national champion Notre Dame in South Bend on Sept. 28. But the inconsistent Boilermakers again did not win back-to-back games and wound up 4-6-1.
Purdue lost its first five games of the 1975 season, despite having a chance in all of them. The Boilermakers went on to finish in a third-place tie in the Big Ten with Illinois and Michigan State at 4-4 as part of a 4-7 overall record.
After a 3-2 start that included a pair of Big Ten wins in 1976, Purdue lost three games in a row. Then the "Spoilermakers" pulled off another upset, knocking off top-ranked and Rose Bowl-bound Michigan 16-14 at Ross-Ade Stadium on Nov. 6. They went on to finish with a 5-6 record for their sixth losing season in seven years since Mollenkopf retired.
Purdue officials announced Nov. 26 that Agase, who had a four-year record of 18-25-1, would not have his contract renewed.
1977-81: Jim Young
On Dec. 5, 1976, Purdue hired Jim Young, the head coach at Arizona. Young was an assistant under Bo Schembechler at Miami of Ohio (1964-68) and Michigan (1969-72). A native of Van Wert, Ohio, Young attended Ohio State for one year - playing on the Buckeyes' 1954 national championship team - before transferring to Bowling Green.
The 1977 Boilermakers started 2-4, won three games in a row and then lost their last two to finish 5-6. But what followed was arguably the most successful three-year run in school history. Purdue went 9-2-1 in 1978, 10-2 in 1979 and 9-3 in 1980 and played in - and won - three bowl games: Peach, Bluebonnet and Liberty. With 28 victories during that stretch, the Boilermakers won more games than Ohio State (27) and Notre Dame (25) and matched Michigan. In Big Ten Conference games, Purdue was 20-3-1, just behind the Wolverines and Buckeyes at 21-3.
Quarterback Mark Herrmann was the Most Valuable Player of all three bowl games and finished his career as the NCAA record holder for passing attempts, completions, passing yards and total offense.
Young faced a rebuilding project in 1981 - dubbed A.H. as in After Herrmann - yet the Boilermakers won five of their first seven games. But a season-ending four-game losing streak saddled Purdue with a 5-6 record.
Three days prior to the season finale at Indiana on Nov. 21, Young announced he was resigning as coach. He said he wanted to devote all his time to the associate athletics director position he had accepted in August. Young subsequently served as head coach at Army from 1983 to 1990. He was inducted into the College Football of Fame in 1999 and the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
1982-86: Leon Burtnett
Immediately after Jim Young announced his resignation in November of 1981, speculation started that defensive coordinator James "Leon" Burtnett would be the Boilermakers' next head coach. Four days later - Nov. 22 - Burtnett, who sculpted the multi-faceted "Junk Defense" that made headlines the previous five years, was promoted.
Back-to-back three-win seasons in 1982 and 1983 had the Purdue faithful growing restless. But Burtnett never quit fighting and reaped the benefits with a memorable season in 1984. It began with a come-from-behind 23-21 victory over eighth-ranked Notre Dame on Sept. 8 in the dedication game of the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. A 28-23 upset of No. 2 Ohio State followed on Oct. 6. The win put the Boilermakers 4-1 overall, atop the Big Ten Conference at 3-0 and into the Associated Press poll at No. 14.
Back-to-back losses stemmed the tide, but Purdue rebounded with a 49-7 victory at Northwestern on Oct. 27 and a 31-29 win over Michigan at Ross-Ade Stadium the following week. By beating Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State, the 1984 Boilermakers joined Michigan State, in 1951 and 1965, as the only teams to defeat those three traditional powerhouses in the same season.
The Boilermakers wrapped up the regular season with a 31-24 victory over Indiana at home Nov. 17 - resulting in a 7-4 overall record and 6-3 Big Ten mark, good for a second-place tie with Illinois - and accepted their second invitation to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. Their opponent was Virginia, and Purdue raced to a 24-14 first-half advantage before the Cavaliers stormed back to win 27-24.
Burtnett, who removed himself from calling the offensive or defensive schemes and concentrated on the mood of the team and getting his players mentally ready to perform, was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
After a season-opening 20-3 win over Ball State on Sept. 13, 1986, the Boilermakers lost six in a row, and alumni and fans called for Burtnett's ouster. On Nov. 6, Burnett resigned, effective at the end of the season.
1987-90: Fred Akers
Following the resignation of Leon Burtnett, athletics director George King pledged that Purdue would look for a coach "with a proven track record, who is successful and has a feel for what this university is all about." The search culminated with the hiring of Fred Akers on Dec. 10, 1986.
Akers came from Texas, where he coached from 1977 to 1986, following the legendary Darrell Royal. The Longhorns went 11-1 in 1977 and 1983 - winning Southwest Conference championships along the way - and had a chance to win the national championship both seasons before losing their bowl game. Despite a gaudy 86-31-2 record, Akers never endeared himself to Texas fans.
Akers' four-year record at Purdue was just 12-31-1 (9-23 Big Ten Conference) and on Nov. 29, 1990, under pressure from the administration, he announced his resignation.
1991-96: Jim Colletto
On Dec. 6, 1990, Purdue hired Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Colletto, an assistant under Leon Burtnett from 1982 to 1984 and a candidate for the head job when Akers was hired in 1987. Colletto had head coaching experience at Cal State-Fullerton from 1975 to 1979 - during which time the Titans moved from NCAA Division II to I-A - and was offensive coordinator at Arizona State from 1985 to 1987.
A season-opening 41-14 victory over 17th-ranked California at Ross-Ade Stadium on Sept. 12, 1992, made headlines, but the Boilermakers proceeded to lose four of their next five games.
Playing the nation's toughest schedule with the Big Ten Conference's youngest and most injured team, Purdue went 1-10 and failed to win any of eight league games in 1993.
On the way home from a 33-25 loss at Wisconsin on Nov. 2, 1996, which dropped the Boilermakers to 2-6, Colletto decided he had had enough. Two days later, on his weekly radio show that doubled as a press conference, he announced his resignation effective as soon as a new coach was hired.
1997-2008: Joe Tiller
Prior to Joe Tiller's hiring on Nov. 22, 1996, Purdue had played in a total of five bowl games. In the preceding 15 years, the Boilermakers managed merely a 54-107-5 record. Tiller introduced the spread offense to Purdue, featuring three, four, even five wide receivers and forcing defenses to cover the field from sideline to sideline. It was a radical change from the smash-mouth Big Ten Conference style and, in the basketball-crazed state of Indiana, was dubbed affectionately "basketball on grass."
The result was 10 bowl games, including the 2001 Rose Bowl, an average of more than seven wins per season and a Big Ten tri-championship in 2000. Tiller coached 64 players who went on to the National Football League, six All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans.
Along the way, Tiller became the winningest coach in school history, winding up his career with an 87-62 record, including 53-43 in Big Ten games and 10-2 against Indiana. Tiller's 149 games coached are the most in Purdue annals. The Boilermakers were nationally ranked for 80 weeks, tied with Jack Mollenkopf for the most under any head coach.
Tiller topped Hall of Famer Jack Mollenkopf for the most wins by a Purdue coach with his 85th victory - a 32-25 verdict over Central Michigan at Ross-Ade Stadium on Sept. 20, 2008.
Perhaps no player is more closely tied to Tiller than Drew Brees, who arrived at Purdue as a little-known quarterback and left as one of the most-decorated players in school history. Brees established two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten records and 19 Purdue records. He was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and two-time first team all-conference selection, while receiving the 2000 Maxwell Award as the nation's outstanding player and being named the 2000 Academic All-American of the Year.
Tiller also endeared himself to Boilermaker fans everywhere with his personality and humility. He was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
2009-12: Danny Hope
Danny Hope assumed the role of head coach Jan. 1, 2009. He spent the 2008 season as associate head coach after being 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 served an assistant under Tiller from 1997 to 2001.
The 2011 Boilermakers returned to the bowl scene for the first time in four seasons and defeated Western Michigan 37-32 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The following year, Purdue played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
In Hope's four seasons, his teams defeated three ranked teams: No. 7 Ohio State in 2009, No. 25 Northwestern in 2010 and No. 23 Illinois in 2011.
On Nov. 25, 2012, it was announced that Hope would not return as head coach.
2013-16: Darrell Hazell
On Dec. 5, 2012, Darrell Hazell was named head coach. Under Hazell, the Boilermakers struggled to win games and maintain fan support. His signature victory was a 55-45 verdict over Nebraska on Oct. 31, 2015. Hazell compiled a 9-33 record, including 3-24 in Big Ten Conference games, before being relieved of his duties Oct. 16, 2016. Assistant coach Gerad Parker served as interim head coach for the final six games of the season.
2017: Jeff Brohm
Jeff Brohm, was hired Dec. 5, 2016, as the 36th full-time head football coach in Purdue history. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative offensive masterminds in college football.
Brohm came to the Boilermakers from Western Kentucky, where he compiled a remarkable 30-10 overall record (.750 winning percentage), including a 19-5 Conference USA mark (.792), from 2014 to 2016. The Hilltoppers were league champions in 2015 and 2016, the school's first back-to-back titles as a Football Bowl Subdivision member. Brohm played quarterback collegiately at Louisville and for seven seasons in the National Football League.