Boilermakers head coach opts to stay at alma mater
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Purdue’s sales pitch to Matt Painter was good enough.
After talking with Missouri about its coaching vacancy, Painter decided to stay at his alma mater Wednesday and has agreed to an eight-year contract through the 2018-19 season.
“I am extremely excited about continuing my career at Purdue,” Painter said in a statement. “I believe we have built something very special. At the same time, I feel we have much more ahead of us to accomplish. At the end of the day, my heart is at Purdue, and this is a place where I want to win a national championship.”
Purdue officials spoke with Painter by telephone Monday, then he met with Missouri officials Tuesday while on vacation in Florida. The Tigers are hoping to fill a vacancy left open when Mike Anderson left for Arkansas after a similar public bidding battle just a week ago.
The 40-year-old Painter has been selected the Big Ten’s coach of the year three times and led the Boilermakers to Sweet 16 appearances in 2009 and 2010. Purdue (26-8) made it to the third round of this year’s NCAA tournament but was knocked out by Final Four participant Virginia Commonwealth.
Last year, Purdue rewarded Painter with a contract through the 2016-17 season. It included a $1.3 million base salary and up to $1 million in incentives.
Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to announce that Matt will continue his leadership of our men’s basketball program,” athletics director Morgan Burke said. “He has been at the helm of the winningest four-year period in the storied history of Boilermaker basketball, and we pledge to work with him to win championships.”
After it became clear that Painter was talking with Missouri, Purdue made clear it was serious about keeping him.
“The Board of Trustees, president (France) Cordova and Morgan Burke clearly demonstrated the university’s commitment to him and to our men’s basketball program,” Purdue spokesman Tom Schott said Tuesday. “We are proactive. Although we will not go into any details at this time, we encourage Matt to stay, through our words and action. We want Matt to remain a Boilermaker.”
Purdue was successful this season despite losing top returning player Robbie Hummel to a torn ACL during preseason practice. Led by JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore, Purdue finished with a 16-0 record at Mackey Arena, the program’s first undefeated home season since 1968-69. Johnson was chosen the conference player of the year and a first-team All-American, and Moore was an All-Big Ten selection.
Painter joined elite company by earning conference coach of the year honors again. Since the award’s inception in 1974, just three others — former Purdue coach Gene Keady, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and former Indiana coach Bob Knight — have won it at least three times.
Hummel will return next season, along with starters D.J. Byrd, Ryne Smith and Lewis Jackson.
“There’s a lot to be excited about right now with Purdue basketball,” Painter said. “We are moving into our new offices and locker room complex over the next couple of weeks. Our program is built on hard work, and we are ready to get back to improving as a team and a staff.”