Purdue hired Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as its new head coach on Tuesday.
This is the first head coaching job for Walters, 36, who was named college football’s top assistant coach in 2022. He has been with the Illini for two seasons following a six-year tenure on the Missouri coaching staff, the last two as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
“From an early point in the search process, Coach Walters stood out because of the energy, passion and intelligence he displayed as a defensive coordinator in both the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference,” athletic director Mike Bobinski said in a news release. “His meteoric rise in the coaching profession is in large part due to his unique ability to connect with his student-athletes as both a coach and mentor. With that in mind, we look forward to the culture and atmosphere of success he and his staff will instill in and around our football program, and we see him as a perfect fit for our University and this community.
Walters received a five-year contract and replaces Jeff Brohm, who left last week to become the head coach after six seasons and a 70-36 record in West Lafayette, Ind.
Under Walters, Illinois held seven opponents to 10 or fewer points in 2022. The Illini rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense (12.3) and No. 2 in yards allowed per game (263.8).
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to serve as the head football coach at Purdue University,” Walters said. “I am grateful to Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski and to President (Mitchell) Daniels for this incredible opportunity. Purdue is a world-class university, and our football program will pursue the same excellence exhibited across our campus. My wife Tara and I, along with our boys, are beyond excited to join the Purdue and West Lafayette communities. Boiler Up!”
Brohm’s brother, Brian Brohm, is serving as the Boilermakers’ interim coach for the Jan. 2 Citrus Bowl against LSU.
Purdue (8-5) finished atop the Big Ten West division and lost to Michigan in the Dec. 3 conference title game.
Walters played safety at Colorado from 2004-08. He began his coaching career as a student assistant with the Buffaloes in 2009 before spending time at Arizona (2010-11), Oklahoma (2012), North Texas (2013) and Memphis (2014).
–Field Level Media