Jeff Brohm had a decision to make this offseason. He would either stay at Purdue, continuing to build upon the momentum a program has established after two years, or return to Louisville, his hometown and alma mater, to restore the passion and tradition in that program.
After intense talks with both sides, Brohm settled on a return to West Lafayette. Everyone from players to fans to administration breathed a major sigh of relief.
Keeping Brohm on the sidelines at Purdue was a huge priority for athletic director Mike Bobinski and president Mitch Daniels. And because it was Brohm’s alma mater that was doing the courting, the administration understood there was a chance their football coach could be headed out the door.
But before Brohm’s potential interest in Louisville picked up steam, Daniels penned a hand-written letter to his head coach. And that gesture was one of the factors that helped Brohm realize that he was in a good situation at Purdue.
“I don’t want to talk about it too much, but I would say that I understood the situation he was in an clearly could empathize,” Daniels told Mike Carmin of the Journal & Courier. “I wanted to do everything we could, but I did not want to pressure somebody who had an unusually difficult call.
“I didn’t want to leave him in any doubt that we love having him here and I was excited about it.”
Brohm arrived in West Lafayette in 2016, prepared to take over a faltering program ahead of the 2017 season. In two years with the Boilermakers, Brohm has led his teams to a 13-13 record, back-to-back bowl appearances and upset wins over Ohio State, Boston College and Iowa.
His arrival has sparked new life into a program that had been a train wreck during the Danny Hope and Darrell Hazell eras. And now, the Boilermakers are expected to be frequent contenders in the B1G West and a regular bowl team.
A big reason why Brohm decided to stay and continue to build in West Lafayette is because of Daniels’ letter.
“When you get a handwritten letter and when you get things delivered to you – I got other letters on my doorstep from other important people as well – but when those people reach out and open up the line of communication and say you can call them if you need anything or call them when you have a chance, yes, you build a trust factor there and it does make you feel more comfortable when decisions are being thrown at you that you have to make,” Brohm said.
For Purdue’s on-field success, Brohm and the players will receive all of the credit. But Daniels will be equally responsible for future Boilermakers wins. Without his letter, Purdue could’ve been on the search for another head coach.