UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Patrick Higgins jokes that he's “interim everything.” He was Purdue's interim offensive coordinator the last three weeks of the season. Now he's Purdue's interim head coach for the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Oklahoma State.
Neither job came under pleasant circumstances. Offensive coordinator Gary Nord was hospitalized with a back injury. Then coach Danny Hope was fired.
And it's not like Higgins' future is secure. Purdue has hired a new head coach, Darrell Hazell, and Higgins claims he doesn't know where his next job will be.
Yet Higgins claims the experience has been fabulous.
“I've gotten an opportunity to be a head coach for a month, take it for a test drive,” Higgins said, “and it's been awesome. The experience has been invaluable.
”The assistant coaches have been great. The kids have been great. I couldn't have asked for a better situation.”
Purdue has been on a roller coaster. The Boilermakers had to win their final three games just to become bowl eligible. They did that, but Hope was fired on the same day the bowl bid arrived.
“It felt strange when it first happened, but now we're comfortable with Coach Higgins,” said Purdue All-American defensive tackle Kawaan Smart. “He brings excitement. Coach Higgins is doing the same thing Coach Hope does.”