Purdue’s search for a permanent head coach has been in the works since October, and still, nobody has any idea on who a lead candidate might be.
Several names – Les Miles, P.J. Fleck, Jeff Brohm and Greg Olson – have all surfaced over the past few weeks, but there’s been no concrete evidence if Purdue is interested in those candidates, or if the candidates are interested in a rebuilding project in West Lafayette.
Another name was thrown into the hat on Tuesday.
It was reported that former Purdue defensive coordinator and current Illinois State head coach Brock Spack interviewed for the position.
Per @dennisdoddcbs, Illinois State head coach Brock Spack has interviewed for the Purdue head coaching job. Spack is a Purdue alumnus.
— Tom James (@TribStarTJames) November 22, 2016
Spack has several ties with the University, first playing at Purdue as a linebacker from 1980-1983 and later coaching on the defensive side of the ball in two different stints. He served as the defensive backs coach from 1991-1994 and came back to West Lafayette in 1997 as defensive coordinator on Joe Tiller’s staff.
He ran the defense until Tiller’s retirement in 2008 and helped the Boilermakers win the B1G title in 2000.
After Tiller’s departure, Spack applied to take over the program in 2009 but was passed up for another former Tiller disciple, Danny Hope. It’s been speculated that the separation left a bitter taste in Spack’s mouth and that he wouldn’t return to his Alma Mater.
Spack took over Illinois State in 2009 and has accumulated a 62-34 record in eight seasons. The Redbirds won Missouri Valley Football Conference titles in 2014 and 2015 under Spack’s leadership.
The program also reached the FCS national title game in 2014 with a 13-1 record, but were defeated by powerhouse North Dakota State 29-27.
Illinois State stunned the country early this season, beating Northwestern 9-7 on a last-second field goal in Evanston.
There’s still no real clarity who has an edge for the Purdue vacancy but with Spack’s Boilermaker ties and success at Illinois State, he’d likely be a leading candidate for the position. The job came available in October when Darrell Hazell was fired midway through his fourth season with a 9-33 record.
Athletic director Mike Bobinski has said the University is closing in on a candidate so a decision and an announcement could come sooner rather than later.