Purdue fires coach Darrell Hazell; Boilermakers will face Nebraska on Saturday with interim coach

Purdue fires coach Darrell Hazell; Boilermakers will face Nebraska on Saturday with interim coach
Darrell Hazell (Photo Courtesy: AP)

Purdue fired coach Darrell Hazell on Sunday midway through his fourth season, ending his tenure with the worst winning percentage of any Boilermakers coach in 95 years.

Hazell was 9-33 overall (.214) since taking over in 2013, and his dismissal had seemed almost inevitable entering this season. A 3-2 start with victories against FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky, Nevada and Illinois gave some hope that he would be given one last full season to show progress. But new Purdue Athletic Director Mike Bobinski, who was hired away from Georgia Tech in August, decided to make the change in the middle of the season.

Wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Gerad Parker was named interim coach. Parker is in his fourth season on staff.

“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,” Bobinski said in a statement.

The Boilermakers lost 49-35 at home to Iowa on Saturday and trailed 42-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Purdue has averaged 32,078 in attendance at Ross-Ade Stadium, capacity 62,000, for four home games. That’s down from 37,152 last season.

Purdue is in the process of building a $65 million football facility.

“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,” university president Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “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 last Purdue coach to have a worse winning percentage than Hazell was William Henry Dietz, who went 1-6 in 1921.

The Boilermakers play at No. 8 Nebraska on Saturday.

Hazell, 52, was hired away from Kent State, where the former Ohio State assistant went 16-10 with a Mid-American Conference championship in 2012. He replaced Danny Hope at Purdue. Hope had gone 22-27 in four seasons as successor to Joe Tiller, the winningest coach in school history, with 87 victories.

Hazell has two years left on his original six-year contract worth $12.75 million.

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