Purdue Boilermakers name Ryan Walters as new head coach
Lafayette, Indiana - And just like that, the Boilermakers have quickly found their new leader in Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who will serve as Purdue's next head coach!
"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," Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski said in a statement.
Walters was a huge member of the Illini coaching staff as defensive coordinator and was credited for Illinois' No. 1-ranked defense unit as defensive coordinator.
The Fighting Illini defense rose to the top spot in several major statistical categories this fall and finished the regular season first in the fewest points allowed and second in the fewest yards allowed.
Walters will become the first Purdue coach with a primarily defensive background since Leon Burtnett in the 1980s.
"I am incredibly humbled and honored to serve as the head football coach at Purdue University," Walters said in a statement. "I am grateful to Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski and to President [Mitch] Daniels for this incredible opportunity. Purdue is a world-class university, and our football program will pursue the same excellence exhibited across our campus."
Walters' new hiring makes him the third Black head coach hired in the FBS this season, joining Colorado's Deione Sanders and Western Michigan's Lance Taylor.
At 36 years old, Walters also becomes the fourth-youngest coach in FBS football behind Arizona State's Kenny Dillingham (32), South Alabama's Kane Wommack (35), and Oregon's Dan Lanning (36).
Cover photo: Collage: GREG FIUME / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP / Screenshot / Instagram / thenicolewalters