Commentary: Painter Rumors Aren’t A Bad Thing


The Boiling Point: Get used to Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter being a name on potential candidate lists.

Well Purdue fans, the men’s basketball season has ended and its coach, Matt Painter, is being linked as a potential candidate at Missouri. But, this isn’t a time to freak out. And here’s why.

Isn’t Painter being a hot commodity a by-product of a good program? Yes. No one is going to throw out a name who just finished a bad season or one who hasn’t demonstrated a clear ability to coach and recruit on a list of potential candidates for an opening. Painter is desired. He’s shown the ability to build Purdue back to one of the best teams in the Big Ten in a short period of time. He’s also been able to get the Boilers to be one of the hardest playing teams in the country, too, which a lot of programs don’t see.

Given that Painter and Purdue continue their upward climb over the next handful of seasons, Painter’s going to continue to be a “hot” name for these coaching openings. Why? Because Painter’s young, he hasn’t been in West Lafayette for at least a decade, some still don’t view Purdue as an elite job and the guaranteed money coaching the Boilers isn’t the greatest. That’s exactly why Painter has to love these rumors and fans should, too. The rumors should generate Painter more money one would think. They certainly give Painter leverage when talking about his contract. And fans should hope Painter gets more money because the more he’s making in West Lafayette, the less tempted he is to head somewhere else to cash in on.

Knowing Painter and his low-key persona, there’s ZERO chance he’s communicated to anyone he’s even thought for a second about the Missouri opening. None at all. So, the rumors about him seriously considering the Missouri job are insane. But that’s what coaching rumors are about. Painter gets mentioned on a list of potential candidates and people take that and run with it. Take Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, for instance. He throws Painter into the ring, says he’s got some inside information and asks his readers to trust him…

"* Matt Painter: There’s a little more to this than you’d think. I can’t go into details, sorry. On the surface it seems crazy, the idea of Painter leaving his alma mater and dream job to go to Mizzou. Would I be surprised if it happened? Absolutely. I think it’s a longshot. Do I think Painter could use Missouri to get a better deal at Purdue? Sure. He’s a coach, right? That’s what they do. But you shouldn’t dismiss it. I’ll have to ask you to trust me on this one. And if Painter wants this job, then Mike Alden won’t have to go on a coaching search. The “search” would begin and end with Painter. But yes, I am skeptical."

This is just part of the game. And rather than hearing outrage about Painter’s name being linked to the Missouri gig, if Painter wasn’t mentioned at all Purdue fans would likely get upset about him not getting any love with some of the other young names floating about. I wouldn’t put the percentage of Painter leaving for Missouri higher than 0.0000001, but the rumors aren’t something Purdue fans should lose their lunch over. It shows the program is headed in the right direction and has a quality guy on its sideline.