Purdue made Jeff Brohm its new head football coach on Monday. He spent three seasons as Western Kentucky’s coach, going 30-10 with two Conference USA titles and just five losses in league play.
The 45-year-old Brohm takes over a Purdue program that went 9-39 in the last four seasons, 3.5 of those with Darrell Hazell, who was fired in October. It hasn’t won eight games since Joe Tiller’s second-to-last season in 2007.
Here are five things to know about Brohm, the Boilersmakers’ new coach.
Brohm’s offenses have been really, really good
Brohm is an offense-first coach who calls his own plays. And those Western Kentucky offenses have been unbelievably good under him, and not just for a Group of 5 school.
Per FootballOutsiders/SB Nation writer Bill Connelly’s metrics, the Hilltoppers had the ninth-best offense (adjusted to their competition) in the country this season after finishing fourth in 2015.
Oh, and WKU lost quarterback Brandon Doughty, who threw for almost 5,055 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior, in the offseason. The Toppers still averaged 45.1 points per game in 2016, second-best among FBS teams.
Brohm’s offenses are pass-heavy. Per Connelly’s numbers, his passing games have ranked in the top 10 in efficiency in each of the last three years. They spread you out and can kill you with the run or pass.
Brohm’s offenses are explosive. Per those same numbers, WKU has had one of the two most explosive offenses in the country in each of the last two seasons. It had 94 plays of 20-plus yards and 30 plays of 40-plus yards this fall, both second-most in the country.
Brohm comes from the Bobby Petrino coaching tree
Say what you want about Bobby Petrino — but the man can coach offense.
Brohm was an assistant at Louisville from 2003-2008, coaching quarterbacks and the passing game before eventually becoming the offensive coordinator. Petrino was the head coach for the Cardinals from 2003-2006.
Brohm reunited with Petrino in 2013 at Western Kentucky, serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. When Petrino went back to Louisville after one season, Brohm became the head coach — his first time leading a program.
Brohm took a good program and made it better
When Petrino left, Western Kentucky was already on the way up. But he took it to new heights.
After 2015, the Hilltoppers lost Doughty, a three-year starter who threw for 12,855 yards and 111 touchdowns in his career, three of their five receivers, seven of the 11 players in the front seven and their two best cornerbacks.
Western Kentucky has only been an FBS program since 2007 and won 10 games for the first time under Brohm in 2015. Brohm was the team’s third consecutive strong hire — Willie Taggart, now at South Florida, coached there from 2010-2012.
Brohm has been a hot name this coaching carousel
This time of year, any desired coaching candidate is linked to a lot of jobs. Brohm reportedly interviewed at Baylor and was a logical link to the Cincinnati job, which opened this past weekend.
But Purdue, which reportedly missed out on Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, turned its sights to Brohm and locked him up with a 6-year, $20 million deal.
Brohm was a multisport athlete
The Montreal Expos drafted Brohm in the seventh round of the 1989 MLB Draft, but he didn’t sign and went to play quarterback at Louisville instead. After his freshman season, Brohm decided to pursue both football and baseball and spent the next two summers playing minor league baseball.
But ultimately, Brohm was a football player. He played at Louisville for five years, throwing for 5,461 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Brohm then played in the NFL for the Chargers, Redskins, 49ers, Bucs, Broncos and Browns from 1994-2000 before spending a year in the XFL.
His brother, Brian, was also a star quarterback at Louisville and his sister, Kim, played softball, volleyball and basketball at Spalding University.