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Purdue plans to bring embattled football coach Darrell Hazell back for a fourth season in 2016, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The school has not yet announced that Hazell will return.
With a 6-26 record, Hazell has the worst winning percentage in school history (.188) for any coach who was at Purdue for longer than one season. But he scored his biggest victory with the Boilermakers on Saturday, a 55-45 upset of Nebraska that raised the team’s 2015 record to 2-6. That was the most points Purdue has scored since 2012, and improved Hazell’s Big Ten record to 2-18.
With Purdue announcing plans for a $60 million upgrade to its football facilities last month, there was speculation that a coaching change may be coming to enhance fundraising for the project. But the school hasn’t had a football coach for fewer than four years since Bob DeMoss from 1970-72, and all signs point to that streak remaining intact.
After coaching two years at Kent State, Hazell signed a six-year contract worth $2 million a year when he was hired in December 2012, making him the highest-paid coach in Purdue history.
Former coach Joe Tiller, the winningest coach in school history, said the prospective buyout alone might be enough incentive for Hazell to get a fourth season.
“Purdue is pretty close to the buck, and they’re not going to pay him that kind of money to [buy him out],” Tiller told Yahoo Sports. “People have asked me during the course of this fall if coach Hazell is on his way out and I said, ‘I don’t think Purdue will replace him for at least one more year, and maybe two.’
“More power to him. I like Darrell. Having been a coach for more than 40 years, I hate to see any coach get fired.”