WEST LAFAYETTE — New Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is using some old lessons to map out his new adventure.
His father helped him understand the intricacies of football, while baseball taught him how to cope with failures. Howard Schnellenberger showed him how to build a program, the XFL demonstrated he could have fun and win and at Western Kentucky, Brohm proved just how good he could be following in his father's footsteps as a head coach.
He'll need all of those things to rebuild the Cradle of Quarterbacks.
Brohm looks like a perfect fit for the Boilermakers. He's young, passionate, tough, creative and eager to win.
But with six bowl teams on this year's schedule and an opening night date against his alma mater, No. 16 Louisville and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Brohm knows just how challenging this hike will be.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Brohm talked about the challenges that lie ahead, what the Boilermakers need to do to win back fans and how his experiences can help Purdue produce better results in the future.
AP: What do you need to do to start winning games and winning back Purdue fans?
Brohm: "I think for us to win in the Big Ten right now, we're going to have to find a way to be different. We're going to have to think outside the box, we're going to have to be creative. And like you said, with coach (Joe) Tiller, that's what they did and that's what we're going to have to do. We're going to have to give our fans a chance to have some excitement and see if that works. I think it's important to make the game exciting and entertaining to watch, exciting and entertaining to play and exciting and entertaining to coach. I think without question, that has to be our goal here.""
AP: How would you describe your coaching style?
Brohm: "I try to be a players' coach and kind of put myself in their shoes and try to do things the right way, find a way to win games and hopefully have some fun, too."
AP: Years ago, you turned down a chance to work with Nick Saban. Why did you not take the job and was it a decision you later regretted?
Brohm: "I think the first year that I went down there and got offered a job, my younger brother was coming back for his senior year at college and I didn't think that was the right thing to do — to leave him. So I let the family override what was best for me and wait this thing out. Believe it or not, another opportunity came about and just the timing of it all was tough. You know, I probably was too comfortable with where I was. The only reason I said I regretted it, not that it was the wrong decision, was that whenever you have a chance to work with a Hall of Fame coach, you can learn some things from him. But I don't really regret it."
AP: From all appearances, it looks like you made the right decision to give up baseball for football. What did you learn from baseball that has helped you with football or coaching?
Brohm: "I don't know if I did (make the right decision). Playing baseball was a great experience. But back then, football was what I loved doing. Baseball, I was just blessed to be pretty good at and I got drafted twice and got to play with guys like Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. I probably should have stayed with it. But football was more exciting. Baseball, no offense, is much more dull and boring. If you take away the fun aspect of it, the longevity and all the money you could make, football was just more exciting. But baseball teaches you to deal with failure."
AP: Some of Purdue's past players have been very vocal about needing to get this program up and running. Have you talked to any of those players and if so, what have they told you?
Brohm: "I've talked to quite a few of them and the great thing is they all take great pride in their roots here. It means something to them, and they want this thing to get back on track. They've said they're behind us and they're willing to do their part if we need them. I think the tradition and history here is something pretty special and we need to try and get that back."