There’s been a huge question on the minds of every Cubs fan since the season ended, and I’m finally going to answer it once and for all:
Is Jeff Brohm going home to coach Louisville?
There are compelling reasons for him to stay and go. I’m here to break it down for us all.
Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Indiana (full disclosure: I am an alum of Purdue University, so I am not unbiased here). Purdue’s best asset is that it’s close to I-65, so it’s easy to leave. The Wabash River is nice if you enjoy smelly, disgusting water; we planted the wrong trees, so in fall the entire campus reeks of gingko, and the waste treatment plant provides a “pleasant” odor the other 9 months of the year. Seriously, West Lafayette is a secretly smelly campus. As far as night life, there’s a few bars and a movie theater. That’s about it. You can find fun, but you have to look. The campus itself is quickly becoming more and more beautiful; people’s opinion that Purdue is ugly was true 15 years ago but isn’t true anymore. It’s a nice campus.
The University of Louisville is in a highly underrated city. Louisville is pretty awesome; there’s a ton of bourbon, fourth street live! is a fun little place, and instead of a dirty river, you get a nice one. Jeff Brohm agrees – he lives in Louisville in the offseason. One of my closest friends lives in Louisville and had this to say: “A city most known for horse-racing and bourbon, Louisville has many of the advantages and amenities of a large city without the accompanying headaches; and perhaps due to its long-time lack of professional sports franchises, it is one of the largest college sports markets in the country, home to rabid fans and a bitter rivalry.”
Advantage – Louisville
Purdue was a horribLe program when DarreLL HazeLL was reLieved of his duties. Brohm took a team full of middle-MAC talent and won 7 games in his first year (including a bowl win) and won 6 games (pre-bowl) in his second year, including a 49-20 beatdown of Ohio State. This is a fancy way of saying that it doesn’t matter a single bit how good a program was before Brohm got here. He can take a 2-10 Louisville team to ACC championship contention just as easy as he can take Purdue to B1G championship contention.
Almost. Purdue is situated in a slightly better place, in the lesser of the two B1G divisions. Wisconsin (and Northwestern, to some extent) are the only real obstacles to winning the B1G West every year until something changes, and Wisconsin (in my opinion) is on the beginning of a slide into irrelevancy. The division is anyone’s for the taking. Meanwhile, Clemson is in Louisville’s division, as is Florida State. It’s going to be hard to consistently win that division.
Somewhat paradoxically, I think Brohm would have an easier time recruiting at Purdue than at Louisville. The reason: Brohm already recruits Kentucky well. He was able to get Rondale Moore to decommit from Texas to go to a team that plays in West Lafayette. He nabbed Milton Wright from many bigger and better teams that were on him heavily. Would he have landed Wandale Robinson if he was in Louisville instead of Purdue? Maybe, but not certainly. Purdue is in play for a lot of the talent in Kentucky, and figures to be for some time. Brohm is able to recruit in ACC territory from a B1G location (and recruit from that position of strength). Neither Indiana nor Kentucky is a football factory, so I’d default to Indiana being a better territory than Kentucky, recruiting-wise.
Advantage (slight) – Purdue
Purdue would literally be happy with going 8-4 every year. We had a coach named Joe Tiller who coached for 12 years, never won 10 games in a season, and we built the man a statue. There are people who already want to build Jeff Brohm (13-12 in his Purdue career) one. The expectations literally could not be lower for a non-doormat Power 5 team.
Louisville ALREADY fired Jeff Brohm once, back when he was the offensive coordinator (in a move that was panned at the time – nobody remains from that decision in Louisville). Brohm is the favorite son of Louisville football, but that only matters right now and the season after he’s hired (if he’s hired). Just think about Tennessee football – it’s a program that was good like 20 years ago where everybody expects to win 11 games a year, and they riot when that never happens. Expectations at Louisville will be very high for Brohm – while I’m confident he could meet them, there is no doubt that he’d have a lot more pressure on his shoulders.
Advantage – Purdue
Purdue just finished a huge renovation to their football facilities (their home facilities – Michigan will tell you the away facilities still suck). It’s one of the better facilities in the Big Ten. That said, Louisville is about to finish their own renovation, and their stadium itself is unquestionably better than Ross-Ade Stadium (one of the worst football stadiums in the Power 5 conferences). Purdue has an advantage here against many peer teams, but Louisville isn’t one of them.
Advantage – Louisville
Purdue loves Jeff Brohm. It’s hard to imagine a campus and a program more fully embracing somebody than Purdue has with him. It was a slam dunk hire from the minute he was announced. He’s the prototypical Purdue guy – quiet strength, no frills, principled, flashy offense (Purdue literally reinvented college football in the 90s with Drew Brees and basketball on turf). There’s no doubt that Purdue is a statue job if Jeff Brohm wants it.
Unfortunately, you can say the exact same about Louisville AND add the fact that it is home. He still lives there. His family went there, including his dad. He flies there all the time, which is a nice way of saying he’d rather just live there all the time. His heart is in Louisville, and that’s a powerful thing.
Advantage – Louisville
The National Football League
Jeff Brohm is an extremely competitive guy. The dude wouldn’t quit the NFL, even when the NFL wanted to quit him. He played for a half-dozen teams even though he barely started. He tried hanging on to the point where he played in the XFL! What I’m trying to say is that Jeff Brohm will seriously think about coaching in the NFL if those teams come calling (and they will come calling, believe you me).
He can more easily jump to the NFL from Purdue, and I’ll tell you why.
If Brohm leaves for Louisville, he has to stay for at least 4 years before he leaves unless he wants to be unwelcome there the rest of his life. Louisville will be his job whenever he wants it, if he ever wants it and it’s close to open. Meanwhile, he can feel like he accomplished something at Purdue in another year or two and leave with no hard feelings. Not a single soul will begrudge him if he leaves Purdue for Cleveland, while nearly everyone in Louisville will. When you happen to live in Louisville, that has to mean something.
Advantage – Purdue
Three Most Famous Alumni
Purdue – Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Drew Brees (we own the skies)
Louisville – Mitch McConnell, Gina Haspel, uhhh, Jeff Brohm (we’re screwed, aren’t we)
Advantage – Jeff Brohm attended the goddamn University Of Louisville
This is a tough decision. Brohm likes it here. We like him here. That said, the heart wants what the heart wants. It’s not coming down to money – I don’t think either team is going to lose this battle over money, they’ll both pay him up to top-10 in the country – so it’s really just a matter if Brohm thinks it’s time to come home (and if really DOES want to come home). I think he does, and I’ll hate to see him go.