WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - In his first public comments since being dismissed as the head football coach at Purdue, Danny Hope said poor ticket sales played a prominent role in him losing his job as the Boilermakers gridiron leader.
Hope, an exclusive interview with WLFI Sports Director Mike Cleff, also expressed disappointment with how his firing was handled by Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke.
"It came down to ticket sales. But ticket sales have been dropping here since 2000. It's not all about what happens just behind the whistle. You have to have some accountability behind the necktie as well," Hope said.
Average attendance for Purdue football games was slightly over 43,000 per game in 2012 at Ross-Ade Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 62,500.
Burke announced the dismissal of Hope on November 25, 2012, one day after the Boilermakers retained possession of the Old Oaken Bucket by defeating Indiana.
"I know it wasn't an easy thing for Morgan (Burke) to do," Hope said. "But I felt like if he had been a little more accountable then he would not have had to...exercised the responsibility of dismissing me. We had finished strong. And the players wanted us to be there. We hoped we had done enough. But I knew it was close. We had a tough stretch there and didn't come through at a critical time of the season and, obviously, had lost the support of our administration, athletic administration, and fan base."
When given a chance to respond to Hope's remarks, Burke declined News 18's request for an interview.
Hope declined numerous interview requests following his dismissal at Purdue before agreeing to break his public silence. The former Boiler head coach felt waiting to talk on the record was the best for all parties involved, starting with himself.
"I was very disappointed after I was terminated, or dismissed, if you will. Was angry," Hope said. "So it was best for me to get out of dodge and reflect on my experience at Purdue. Just cool off a bit."
Hope, who finished his four-year head coaching tenure with a record of 22-27, said being let go was a new experience for him, something that he went through for the first time and, hopefully, the last time.
"Very, very difficult to be fired. I've never been fired before. How they went about doing it, I really didn't appreciate. I thought it was handled unprofessionally. I don't need to elaborate on that, I don't think," Hope commented. "I thought we had done enough, made enough commitment to retain our jobs."
Hope On The Record Part Two airs Wednesday, February 27 at six and 11 p.m. on WLFI.
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