With a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, eight NCAA Tournament berths, Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and an international gold medal on his résumé, 12th-year head coach Matt Painter is widely regarded as one of the brightest young minds in all of college basketball.
After reaching his eighth NCAA Tournament a year ago while at Purdue, Painter has returned the Boilermakers to the Big Ten's hierarchy and has the program positioned near the top of the league again.
Entering the 2016-17 season, Painter owns a 263-139 (.654) record in 12 years as a head coach, while attaining a 238-134 (.640) mark at Purdue.
Painter enters the 2016-17 season third on the school's all-time wins list (238) behind legendary mentors, Gene Keady and Ward "Piggy" Lambert, both of which have been inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Painter has averaged over 21 wins per season during his tenure at the helm of the Purdue program, including at least 25 victories in five of those seasons and at least 20 wins in eight years.
Painter's tenure has seen Purdue basketball restore its status among the upper echelon of college basketball programs. The last 10 years have seen eight 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament berths, two Sweet 16 appearances, a regular-season Big Ten title and a Big Ten Tournament crown.
The three winningest classes in program history are the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2010, respectively, and five of the 10 winningest individual players Purdue has ever seen have come from the Painter ranks.
As part of a planned transition into the head coaching job, Painter was tabbed in April of 2004 to succeed Keady. He spent the 2004-05 campaign as associate head coach as the Boilermakers won just seven games and finished 10th in the Big Ten.
Painter officially became the 18th head men's basketball coach in Purdue history on April 1, 2005, and immediately set about laying the groundwork for a dramatic reversal in the program's fortunes.
The 2005-06 campaign saw a two-game improvement, from seven wins to nine, over the previous season despite the fact that star guard David Teague missed the entire season with injury and standout forward Carl Landry played only five games before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.
Perhaps the biggest impact of Painter's initial season at the helm was his tenacious recruiting of the state of Indiana. In the fall of 2006, Painter and his staff signed four in-state products, including future Purdue stars Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, in a class that was ranked first in the Big Ten and regarded as one of the nation's five best by various recruiting publications.
Painter rode the momentum of that recruiting haul into the 2006-07 season, which turned out to be a landmark campaign for the program.
Led by Landry and Teague, who both garnered All-Big Ten honors as seniors, the Boilermakers won 22 games en route to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. Purdue won nine conference games in 2006-07, setting a program record for improvement after capturing just three league victories the previous season. The Boilers' 13-game overall turnaround was also a program record, and ranked as the fourth-best in the nation that season.
Painter picked up his first NCAA Tournament win as a head coach along the way, as Purdue defeated Arizona in the first round before dropping a seven-point decision to eventual national champion and top overall seed Florida.
Having to compensate for the loss of his two senior leaders didn't slow Painter down in 2007-08, as the year proved to be another pivotal step in Purdue's resurgence.
Despite counting four true freshmen, two sophomores and a junior college transfer among his top seven scorers, Painter guided the Boilermakers to a 25-9 record, a second-place finish in the Big Ten and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
With a 15-3 record in the Big Ten, the Boilers finished just one game out of first place and swept league champion Wisconsin to hand the Badgers their only two Big Ten losses of the year. Painter also took a team known as the "Baby Boilers" and directed it to an 11-game winning streak during conference play, as Purdue didn't lose for more than a month during the run.
Purdue ranked as high as 14th in the polls in 2007-08, wrapping up the campaign at No. 20 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today rankings. The Boilers also showed a knack for knocking off some of the nation's top teams in 2007-08, posting three victories over squads ranked in the top 11 spots of the polls.
The season's efforts also brought individual honors for Painter's players, as Hummel became the first Purdue freshman ever to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, while Moore was named to the second team and Chris Kramer took home Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
Painter kept the ball rolling in a 2008-09 season that proved to be an historic one for the Boilermakers. Purdue was a constant presence in the national polls, rising as high as ninth to mark its first appearance in the AP top 10 since 1999, while its 27 victories were its most in more than a decade.
The Boilermakers were at their best during the 2009 postseason run, rattling off double-digit victories over Penn State and Illinois to reach the Big Ten Tournament final, where they dispatched Ohio State, 65-61, to earn the first conference tournament crown in program history.
The Big Ten Tournament, however, was just the first act of Purdue's postseason script in 2009, as the Boilers earned the fifth seed in the West Region and headed out to Portland, Oregon, for the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Northern Iowa in its first-round game, Purdue earned a 76-74 triumph over Washington in front of a highly-partisan UW crowd at the Rose Garden to capture its first Sweet 16 berth since 2000.
Acclaim was once again forthcoming for Painter's players following the success of the 2008-09 campaign. Johnson, Moore and Hummel were named first, second and third-team All-Big Ten, respectively, while Kramer was an honorable mention all-league pick and Lewis Jackson earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Hummel and Johnson were also named to the USBWA All-District V team, making Purdue the only school with multiple honorees, while the latter also earned inclusion on the NABC District 7 first team.
With a core of talented and experienced players back in the fold, expectations were high for the Boilermakers heading into the 2009-10 season, and Painter and Co. didn't disappoint.
Ranked seventh to open the season, Purdue won the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, defeated Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and came out on top of a top-10 showdown with West Virginia on New Year's Day en route to matching the best start in program history with a 14-0 run to open the year.
Painter's team faced adversity after a 2-3 start to Big Ten play, but rebounded to win 10-straight league games, and 12 of their last 13, to earn a share of the program's first Big Ten title in 14 years. Along the way, the Boilermakers set a program record with four wins over top-10 teams, tied the 1993-94 squad's program standard of six wins over top-25 teams, vanquished decade-long losing streaks at Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State, and became the first Purdue team ever to win at Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State in the same season.
With his team once again facing doubters due to a late-season knee injury to Hummel, Painter orchestrated yet another storied postseason run for the Boilermakers.
Fourth-seeded Purdue was a popular pick to be upset by Siena in first-round action in Spokane, Wash., but used a second-half surge to pick up an eight-point win over the Saints. Outsized by Texas A&M in the second round, the Boilers battled back from a second-half deficit to force an overtime session that would decide a berth to the Sweet 16. Trailing by two with just over a minute left in the extra frame, Moore sank a baseline jumper to tie the score at 61-61. After a defensive stop, Painter called timeout and drew up a play that would see Kramer beat his man off the dribble for the game-winning layup with four seconds on the clock, sending the Boilermakers to their second-consecutive Sweet 16.
The 2010 awards season was also bountiful for Painter's charges, as both Hummel and Moore were named All-Americans -- the former earning second-team honors from the coaches' association and both garnering honorable mention recognition from the AP -- after earning inclusion on the All-Big Ten first team. Johnson was named second-team All-Big Ten following his junior season, while Kramer captured his second-career Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and became the first player in league history to be named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in each of his four seasons.
The Boilermakers were widely written off before the 2010-11 season began as they lost Hummel to another knee injury at the beginning of fall practice. Painter, however, was undaunted and led Purdue to another of the finest seasons in program history.
The Boilers finished 26-8 overall, and 14-4 in the Big Ten to finish second in the league. Purdue posted separate winning streaks of seven and 10 games during the campaign, and knocked off a pair of top-10 teams at Mackey Arena in the same week, defeating No. 10 Wisconsin on Feb. 16 and toppling second-ranked Ohio State by 13 points on Feb. 20. Painter also piloted the Boilermakers to their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth, where they defeated Saint Peter's in the second round before falling to eventual Final Four participant VCU in the third round.
The 2010-11 season also saw Painter protégés Johnson and Moore post two of the best individual campaigns that the program had ever seen.
Johnson led the Big Ten in scoring and blocks en route to being named a consensus All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while Moore earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was named an All-American for the second-straight season after becoming just the fifth Boilermaker in history to break the 2,000-point barrier for his career.
The winningest players in program history at the conclusion of their careers, Johnson and Moore became the first pair of teammates in program history to both score more than 600 points in the same season in 2010-11.
Johnson also earned the Pete Newell Big Man Award from the NABC, given annually to the nation's top interior player as voted by the NABC membership.
Behind a senior core of Hummel, Jackson and Ryne Smith, Painter guided the Boilers to their sixth-straight 20-win season and NCAA Tournament selection in 2011-12. Purdue led the nation in fewest turnovers per game with an average of 8.74, the sixth-best in college basketball since the NCAA began keeping the stat in 1993.
The Boilermakers also finished third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54) and ninth in the NCAA in turnover margin (+3.8).
Tenth-seeded Purdue was an underdog to No. 7 seed Saint Mary's in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Omaha, but toppled the Gaels, 72-69, to win their 14th NCAA Tournament-opening game in a row. Despite a heroic effort from Hummel, the Boilers dropped a 63-60 decision to Kansas in the round of 32.
Hummel was once again named an All-American after ranking fourth in the Big Ten in both points and rebounds per game, and also earned the third first-team All-Big Ten nod of his career. At the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans, he garnered the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in recognition of both his on and off-court achivements.
Four years ago, the young Boilermakers reached the postseason again with a quarterfinals appearance in the College Basketball Invitational. Purdue showed its potential late in the season winning at Wisconsin and at home against Minnesota, both teams that reached the NCAA Tournament.
The 2013-14 season saw Purdue start 5-0 before ending with a 15-17 overall record. The Boilermakers were saddled with inconsistency as nine of its top 10 players were in their first or second year in the program.
The season did include its highlights though. The Boilermakers won their fifth straight Big Ten / ACC Challenge by handing Boston College its worst loss of the season in an 88-67 victory at Mackey Arena. The five straight victories are the longest streak for a Big Ten team in Challenge history.
In addition, sophomore A.J. Hammons was a member of the Big Ten's All-Defensive Team and Kendall Stephens earned a spot on the Big Ten's All-Freshman Team.
Purdue entered the 2014-15 season as a relative unknown and after some bumps in the road in the non-conference, the Boilermakers surged through Big Ten play and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Purdue started the season 11-8, but then won eight of its next nine games, including wins over nationally-ranked foes Iowa and Ohio State and a season sweep of Indiana. The Boilermakers also reached the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010 and were rewarded with a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue's turnaround was one for the history books. The Boilermakers might have been the Big Ten's worst-defensive team in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but led the league (in league games only) in field goal percentage defense for the first time in school history, owning the ninth-best field goal percentage defense since the 1973-74 season. Individually, A.J. Hammons was named second-team All-Big Ten, while Rapheal Davis became Purdue's eighth recipient of the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award.
With expectations high after returning almost every key piece as well as landing Purdue's first McDonald's All-American in 25 years, the Boilermakers didn't disappoint in 2015-16, posting a 26-9 overall record, a Big Ten Tournament title game appearance, a Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic title, win their seventh straight Big Ten / ACC Challenge game and advance to their second straight NCAA Tournament.
Purdue, which was 1-of-10 teams nationally to be ranked the entire season, started the year 11-0 and ranked as high as No. 9 nationally. Purdue owned back-to-back wins over top-10 ranked programs Michigan State (No. 8) and Maryland (No. 10) and had one of college basketball's premier homecourt advantages, posting a school record for home wins (17) and ranking in the nation's top 20 for attendance.
Among NCAA stats, Purdue was ranked among the nation's top 75 in 13-of-17 statistical categories, while setting a school record and ranking third nationally in rebound margin (+10.9).
Individually, Purdue players raked in the honors. A.J. Hammons was Purdue's first All-Big Ten first-team selection and All-American since the 2011-12 season. He was also named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, the league-best ninth Defensive Player of the Year award for the Boilermaker program.
Caleb Swanigan was named to the All-Freshman team and one of the nation's top freshmen after smashing the school record for rebounds by a freshman.
Lastly, Rapheal Davis was named to the All-Defensive Team for the second straight year.
On The Recruiting Trail
Purdue has been a fixture in the country's top-30 recruiting classes under Painter, being ranked in the nation's top 30 four times. This year's current freshman class consists of just one player, Carsen Edwards, who was ranked No. 88 in the final ESPN.com rankings. In 2015, Painter landed the nation's No. 9-ranked prospect Caleb Swanigan, Purdue's first Indiana Mr. Basketball since 1991 and the first McDonald's All-American since 1996, in addition to Ryan Cline and Grant Weatherford to give the Boilermakers the No. 23-ranked class according to ESPN.com.
Counting back from last year (2016), Purdue's classes have been ranked 23rd, 26th (2014), 38th (2013), 19th (2012), unranked (2011), unranked (2010), unranked (2009), unranked (2008) and 11th (2007).
Painter has also resurrected Mackey Arena as one of the country's best home-court advantages, piling up a 154-32 (.828) record at home over the last nine seasons, including a remarkable 82-7 (.921) record against non-conference opponents.
Last year, Purdue set the school record for home wins with a 17-1 record and the Boilermakers have won 23 of its last 24 games in the facility and have been 8-1 in Big Ten play in each of the last two seasons.
Two years ago, Purdue posted a 14-3 record at home, including an 8-1 Big Ten record at home -- the lone loss being a setback to No. 11 Maryland in early January.
In 2010-11, the Boilermakers went 16-0 at home, marking just the second undefeated home slate in the history of Mackey Arena and the first since the 1968-69 campaign.
The 2007-08 campaign also included Purdue's first 9-0 home Big Ten record since the 1987-88 season. On Jan. 5, 2010, Painter presided over the 500th win at Mackey Arena.
Mackey Arena continues to be one of the loudest arenas in America, registering an ear-splitting 119 dB twice during the 2015-16 season.
The Next Level
With Painter at the helm of the Purdue program, a host of Boilermakers have earned the opportunity to play basketball at the professional level.
Carl Landry became the first NBA draft choice of the Painter Era in 2007, when Seattle called his name with the No. 31 selection and traded his rights to Houston. Landry went on to earn a place on the 2008 NBA All-Rookie Team, and recently completed his fifth season in the league, and second with the New Orleans Hornets.
The 2011 NBA Draft was a seminal moment in the history of the program, as Johnson and Moore were both selected and, by the end of the night, reunited as members of the Boston Celtics. After being selected 27th overall by New Jersey to become Purdue's first first-round pick since 1994, Johnson was traded to Boston, which later chose Moore with the 55th overall selection.
After battling back from injuries to post a standout senior season, Hummel was chosen 58th overall by Minnesota in the 2012 draft.
Former Purdue standouts Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant have also started promising professional careers. Kramer attended training camp with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010 before successful stints in the D-League, Puerto Rico and Germany, while Grant played for the D-League's Sioux Falls Sky Force in 2010-11 before heading over to the Czech Republic.
Numerous players who studied under Painter in West Lafayette have also forged professional careers overseas, including recent Boilermakers Terone Johnson, David Teague, Nemanja Calasan and Marcus Green.
Honors and Awards
As the architect of some of the finest season's in Purdue's long basketball history, it is only fitting that Painter has been recognized time and again by both his coaching peers and the media for his efforts.
Painter has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times in the last eight seasons, earning the consensus award in 2008 and 2011, and winning the coaches' vote in 2010.
Painter is one of only six men to win the award more at least three times since its inception in 1974, along with Keady, Ohio State's Thad Matta, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and former Indiana coach Bob Knight. Painter's three wins, combined with Keady's seven, give Purdue a league-best 10 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
While at Purdue, Painter has also been named a district coach of the year by the NABC three times and the USBWA twice, as well as a three-time finalist for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year award. He was also selected as a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award and the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award in 2008.
Success Off The Court
Winning championships, however, is only one part of Painter's equation for success. He has also focused himself on developing student-athletes who will represent Purdue with pride. To that end, Painter has seen a total of 24 players earn a combined 44 Academic All-Big Ten honors during his tenure as head coach. Painter has also mentored an Academic All-American, as Moore earned second-team honors during the 2009-10 season.
In addition, the program has received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for posting a multi-year academic progress rate among the top 10 percent of their respective sports in two of the last four years.
A commitment to the community is also part of Painter's focus on student-athlete development, and his players devote themselves to that cause during their time under his watch, spending numerous hours volunteering their time to read to youth at local elementary schools.
In addition to participation in Special Olympics clinics, Painter's players have also visited local elementary schools and hospitals and devoted time to the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
The Boilermakers have hosted a shopping spree for disadvantaged area families in each of the last five years. Every year, members of the Boilermaker men's basketball program have voted unanimously to give up part of their holiday per diem to aid in the shopping spree. In each of the last five years, the team has also participated in The Challenge, a 5K run/walk that benefits the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.
In 2012, Hummel became Purdue's first-ever winner of the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the Division I men's basketball player who exemplifies four areas of excellence: classroom, character, community and competition.
Lastly, over the last five years, Painter has raised over $160,000 for the Smith Family BreaKThru Fund as part of the Coaches Charity Challenge. After three runner-up finishes in the national competition, Painter finally took home the title in the 2015 competition, before earning another final-four finish in 2016.
In July of 2009, Painter extended his reach past the collegiate game and into the international arena, serving as an assistant coach with the United States' squad that captured the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Despite medaling in seven of the previous nine U19 Worlds, Team USA hadn't won gold since 1991.
Two of Painter's players also garnered international attention in 2009, as Hummel and Johnson were both invited to the World University Games Trials. Hummel eventually made the squad and helped lead the Americans to a bronze medal.
In the summer of 2010, Johnson was chosen as part of an elite group of college players known as the USA Men's Select Team, whose charge was to help Team USA train for its gold-medal run at the FIBA World Championship.
Painter himself once again ventured into the international spectrum in the summer of 2011, serving as head coach for the U.S. World University Games Team in Shenzhen, China. Despite being knocked from medal contention with a loss in the quarterfinals, Painter led the USA to a 7-1 record that tied for the best in the tournament.
It was announced in May 2016 that Purdue would represent the United States in the World University Games in Taipei during August 2017. The Boilermakers' program is just the third collegiate team to represent the United States in the event (UNI 2009; Kansas 2015).
These past three summers, Painter served on the committee to select the team for the United States U18 and U19 National Team.
Several of his players, including Hummel, Johnson, Hammons, Swanigan, Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas, have spent time in US National Team training camps. Swanigan and Edwards tried out for the U19 FIBA World Championship team in June, making Purdue one of three schools (Arizona, Villanova) to have two players on the tryout roster.
A hard-nosed guard with excellent court vision and passing skills, Painter played under Keady at Purdue from 1990-93, leading the Boilermakers to three NCAA Tournament bids and an NIT appearance. He piled up 276 assists during his playing days, a figure that still ranks 20th on the program's career chart.
Painter served as team captain as a senior in 1992-93, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after averaging better than 4.5 assists per game.
Prior to Purdue
Painter wasted no time in beginning his journey through the college coaching ranks, joining former Purdue assistant and Boilermaker associate athletics director, the late Tom Reiter at Washington & Jefferson College for the 1993-94 season. He helped guide Washington & Jeff to a 22-3 record and an appearance in the Division III Elite Eight in his only season on the bench.
After spending the 1994-95 campaign as an assistant at Division II Barton College, Painter broke into the Division I coaching ranks as an assistant at Eastern Illinois. Painter's stint in Charleston, Ill., lasted from 1995-98. During his tenure, Painter was heavily involved in recruiting EIU stars Kyle Hill and Henry Domercant, who later led the Panthers to the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
In 1998, Painter reunited with former longtime Purdue assistant Bruce Weber at Southern Illinois, where he spent five seasons as the latter's top assistant and helped quickly reverse the fortunes of a program that had suffered three-straight losing season prior to his arrival. Painter helped return Southern Illinois to the national spotlight during the 2001-02 season, mentoring a team that set a school record with 28 wins and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Salukis made a return trip to the Big Dance with Painter on the bench in 2003, and were featured in a nationally-televised documentary on MTV.
Painter was introduced to the head coaching ranks at Southern Illinois in 2003-04, when he succeeded longtime Purdue assistant Bruce Weber in Carbondale and led the Salukis to a 25-5 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. SIU rose as high as 15th in the AP poll during the campaign, and Painter was rewarded with Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honors.