After days of speculation that Missouri was making its final push to bring in Matt Painter to replace Mike Anderson as its men’s basketball coach, Purdue finally made its move to retain their coach Tuesday.
“Last night the board of trustees, President (France) Córdova, and (Athletic Director) Morgan Burke clearly demonstrated Purdue University’s commitment to him and to our men’s basketball program,” Purdue assistant athletic director Tom Schott said in a teleconference Tuesday morning. "We are proactive and while we will not go into details at this time, we have encouraged Matt Painter to stay through our words and actions. We want Matt to remain a Boilermaker.”
Schott’s statement comes a day after Athletic Director Mike Alden and members of his staff traveled to Orlando to meet with Painter and negotiate a potential move to Columbia.
Schott declined to comment when asked why Purdue has waited to make its pitch to Painter.
It is considered a common courtesy among universities to seek permission before negotiating with another team’s coach. It is still unclear if Missouri sought permission to speak with Painter, but Schott said he has no reason to believe MU is handling the situation less than professionally.
“I truthfully don’t know (if Missouri has asked for permission to speak with Painter),” Schott said. “I know Morgan Burke and Mike Alden are good acquaintances, so my guess is that probably did take place, but I was never informed if permission was formally sought. I’d be hard pressed to believe that Missouri would have handled it any less than professionally.”
Missouri Athletics spokesman Chad Moller declined to comment on the status of the coaching search, only mentioning that the search is “ongoing.”
Although, on the surface, this may appear to be a power-move by Painter to get more money out of Purdue, his former coach, Gene Keady, doesn’t believe salary is that big of an issue. Painter played under Keady at Purdue and took over for him as coach in 2005.
"I don't think pay has anything to do with it," Keady said in an interview with The Indianapolis Star." I think it's the other stuff. 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."
A tweet last night from New York Daily News writer Dick Weiss claimed that Painter had accepted a 7-year offer from Missouri worth $14 million. Although that report is unconfirmed, the numbers do make sense.
The final offer Missouri made to Anderson would have extended his contract to a total of seven years, increasing its value to $2 million per year. During a news conference held at Mizzou Arena following Anderson’s departure last week, Alden declined to speculate on specific financial figures for a contract offer but said Missouri is prepared to compete for the person its sees as the best candidate.
“Certainly we are going to identify the right person with the right fit and be prepared to be competitive with the things we think we need to be doing," Alden said.
After adding in the various bonuses he earned, Painter will make $1.9 million this year. Painter’s incentive-laden contract pays an annual salary of $1.3 million, ranking him in the bottom half of all Big Ten coaches.
"Matt wants a situation where he will be able to make a run for a national championship," Keady said. "The administration here has to step up and help him."
Alden outlined four criteria he said the search committee is looking for in each candidate: commitment to academic success, ability to recruit on a national stage, mentor of good behavior and a strong work ethic.
Aside from those four points, Alden also stressed the importance of a total commitment to Missouri.
"We believe that our program at Mizzou has developed and continues to develop to a destination place," Alden said. "This needs to be a place that folks want to be at and where they want to be for a long time."
Following a meeting Tuesday afternoon, both the Kansas City Star and The Indianapolis Star have reported that Alden has asked Painter to make a decision by noon Wednesday.
Painter has won three Big Ten Coach of the Year Awards and led the Boilermakers to their first unbeaten home schedule (16-0) since 1968-1969. Under Painter, Purdue has won at least 25 games each of the past four years. Purdue is just one of eight programs in the nation to accomplish that feat.