Matt Painter: Purdue Better Do Whatever It Takes to Keep Its Head Coach

Brian GoldsmithContributor IIIMarch 29, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 09:  Matt Painter the Head Coach of the Purdue Boilermakers gives instructions to Ryne Smith #24 during the Big Ten Conference game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Mackey Arena on January 9, 2011 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Purdue won 75-52.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Matt Painter, Purdue head basketball coach and reigning Big Ten coach of the year (for the second year in a row!), is currently in discussions with the University of Missouri about its head basketball coach opening.

Painter is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big Ten, making $1.3 million per year. Missouri is offering around $2 million per year, but salary is only part of the reason Painter is contemplating leaving his alma mater, Purdue.

In the last few years, Purdue has lost assistant basketball coaches to other schools. The assistant coaches are also underpaid, and as former Purdue coach Gene Keady said, “There are other perks that assistants should get, things that help you recruit, other things coaches look for to get up to snuff to other national powers.”

Just look at what Painter has done. He has put Purdue basketball back on the map. Even though this season didn’t end as expected, remember how it started.

Purdue lost Robbie Hummel, again, to a season-ending knee injury. After Hummel’s injury, most of the experts wrote Purdue off for the season. Purdue proceeded to go undefeated at home for the first time since 1969. It finished second in the Big Ten and was in contention for the Big Ten title all season.

Not many coaches in the country could do what Painter did after losing arguably the best player on the team for the second season in a row—and that’s just this season! He’s won at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons. Only seven other teams in college basketball can say that.

Painter is without a doubt one of the best coaches in the country. He played at Purdue. This is the job he wanted when he was brought in as the successor to Gene Keady. This should be a slam dunk.

Purdue needs to step up and pay him AND his assistants. Give him whatever he wants, because if it loses him to Missouri, who is it going to get to replace him? Who can come in and do what he has done here? An even better question—who would want to?