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Purdue Does the Inevitable, Drops Hammer on Hazell Era

Few will be shocked to hear the news, but on Sunday Purdue University did what many saw coming and fired head football coach Darrell Hazell. It came on the heels of his team falling 49-35 to the Iowa Hawkeyes.

New athletic director Mike Bobinski announced the move on Sunday after consulting with board of trustees chairman Michael Berghoff and president Mitch Daniels.

Bobinski sited inconsistent results so far this season and Hazell’s previous three years at Purdue as the reasoning behind making the move now.

“From the first time I met Darrell, I could tell he was a man of high character – a quality person who you would want leading a group of young men – but our inconsistent performance and inability to generate positive momentum thus far this season, along with the disappointing results of the past three seasons, made it clear to me that we needed to make a change,” said Bobinski. “This is not a decision taken lightly, and I respect and appreciate the dedicated effort Darrell has put forth on behalf of Purdue.”

While announcing Hazell’s dismissal as head coach, Bobinski also announced that wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Gerard Parker would take on the role of interim head coach.

“We have a lot of football still ahead of us this season, and it’s important that our primary focus be on providing our team with the best possible preparation and opportunity for success. I appreciate Gerad taking over on an interim basis and look forward to his leadership and the continued commitment and efforts of our entire football coaching staff.”

The message was pretty clear from Purdue’s new athletics director, as he pulled the trigger on Hazell’s firing before the season was even half over. It was a move that his predecessor, Morgan Burke, had been reluctant to make, even after three seasons of bad football.

Hazell leaves the Boilermakers with a record of 9-33 overall, including a record of  just 3-24 in Big Ten Conference games.

The move was made one week after the Boilermakers beat Illinois on the road to give Hazell just his third win against Big Ten competition.

However, upon returning home it was more of the same against the struggling Hawkeyes who abused the Purdue defense to the tune of 49 points and 365 yards on the ground. Purdue countered with just 46 yards on the ground, meanwhile 458 yards and five passing touchdowns from David Blough were not even close to being enough to come back from a 35-7 deficit.

President Daniels heaped praise on Hazell for his character and morals, but noted that those also have to come with competitive football to continue on as the leader of the Boilermakers football program.

“College athletics can’t have a better man than Darrell Hazell, and I would like to see more individuals with his virtues in Division I athletics,” Daniels said. “But while character is mandatory every day at Purdue, positive performance also must be there.

“With new leadership and the rapidly evolving Football Performance Complex, I’m confident that better days are ahead. The Board and I fully understand and support the need for a successful football program and recognize the positive impact it brings to the intercollegiate athletics department, the campus community and Boilermaker alumni and fans everywhere.”

No doubt that Bobinski has a plan in place and that won’t include many (if any) of the coaches on this staff as long-term options. A press conference is set for 4:30pm ET and will be carried live on BTN.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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