Purdue Boilermakers: Former coach Joe Tiller dies

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Purdue Boilermakers Twitter
Purdue Boilermakers Twitter


Legendary Purdue coach Joe Tiller, the school's all-time winningest coach over 12 seasons, died Saturday at his home in Wyoming. He was 74.

Tiller coached Purdue from 1997 to 2008 before retiring, leading the Boilermakers to the 2000 Big Ten championship. He had an 87-62 record with only two losing seasons in West Lafayette, Ind.

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The university made the announcement on Twitter: "We are saddened to report that Joe Tiller has passed away in Buffalo, Wyoming. Condolences to Arnette, Julie, Renee and Mike. RIP."

Tiller had been in poor health for several months, although he was hoping to return to Purdue next week for the game against Minnesota, according to ESPN. The school will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tiller's first Purdue team.

"Joe took a chance coming back to Purdue, and all Boilermakers, and me in particular, are grateful," former Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said in a statement released by the school. "Joe was the best evaluator of talent I have ever seen. His dry wit 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."


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and other players from Tiller's 1997 team are scheduled to attend the Minnesota game next Saturday.

Brees threw for more than 11,000 yards and 90 touchdowns during three years as a starter from 1998-2000. It was during that 2000 season the Boilermakers won a share of the Big Ten and made the Rose Bowl, where they eventually lost to Washington 34-24.

"Today is a very sad day for me and the entire Purdue family," Brees said in a statement. "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."

Tiller, a Toledo, Ohio, native, began his coaching career at his alma mater, Montana State, in 1965. He served as Purdue's defensive coordinator from 1983-86 before landing his first head coaching job at Wyoming in 1991, going 39-30-1 in six seasons.

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