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Former Boilermakers head coach Tiller dies

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Former Purdue Boilermakers head coach Joe Tiller has passed away. He was 74-years-old.

He passed away on Saturday in Buffalo, Wyoming. He was the Boilermakers head coach from 1997 through 2008, where he had a 126-98-1 record.

“Today is a very sad day for me and the entire Purdue family,” Drew Brees, former Boilermakers quarterback from 1997 to 2000, said. “Coach Tiller was an important person in my life and to so many other guys, who played for him. He did so much more than teach us how to win. He taught us life lessons and how to be great leaders and men. My thoughts and prayers are with Arnette, Julie, Renee, and Mike.”

Joe Tiller (Getty Images)

Joe Tiller (Getty Images)

Tiller is also considered one of the innovators of the spread offense.

He was one of the most beloved figures at Purdue. Prior to his arrival at Purdue, he was the Wyoming Cowboys head coach for six seasons, where he had a 39-30-1 record.

Tiller was hired by Purdue in Nov. 1996. Prior to his arrival, the team went to just five bowl games. They also had just a 54-107-5 record in the previous 15-years prior to his appointment.

Once he implemented the spread offense, including using five wide receivers and forcing the opponents to use both sides of the field, the Boilermakers went to 10 bowl games, including the 2001 Rose Bowl. They averaged seven wins a season — and also won the 2000 Big Ten Championship.

“Joe took a chance coming back to Purdue, and all Boilermakers, and me in particular, are grateful,” former Boilermakers athletic director Morgan Burke said, who hired Tiller, said. “Joe was the best evaluator of talent I have ever seen. His dry wite endeared him to his players, and he knew how to coach and motivate them. I know the Purdue family joins me in expressing our condolences to Arnette and all of his family.”

His coaching tree includes Danny Hope, Brock Spack and Kevin Sumlin. Hope was previously the Eastern Kentucky Colonels and Boilermakers head coach.

Spack has been the Illinois State Redbirds head coach since 2009. He’s 65-35 over that time with the team, including a loss in the FC Championship game in 2014.

Sumlin, his most well-known assistant coach, was previously the Houston Cougars head coach, before being the Texas A&M Aggies head coach since 2012.

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