A day after sending out a letter that more or less blamed its boosters for men's basketball coach Matt Painter's meeting with Missouri officials, the Purdue athletic department sent out a hasty (or, as tipster and proud Mackey Challenge donor BigTenObsession calls it, "weaksauce") apology to its mailing list. Senior associate AD Nancy Cross is sorry:
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Dear John Purdue Club Members:
As a follow-up to my email of Tuesday morning, I want to offer a heartfelt apology if I offended you.
As a member of the John Purdue Club, you are part of our greatest affinity group whose generosity has been integral to the accomplishments of our Boilermaker student-athletes.
Be assured that we are doing everything we can to make sure Matt Painter remains a Boilermaker.
Nancy L. Cross
The best apology Cross and the rest of the department can offer, of course, is to bring back coach Painter with an extended, pricier contract. That initially seemed to be the likely outcome: Painter is a Purdue grad (probably a donor to boot) and he's established a consistently successful program in Lafayette. But plenty of premature reports today have him leaving his alma mater for Mizzou. Blame the the 11-student rally. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which initially broke news of Painter's meeting with Mizzou, reports that he'll likely accept the job (and whatever booster cash comes with it) later today.
If he lets some tears go in his departing speech (or in his return speech) this saga will nearly have reached Favre levels of silliness. Godspeed, Matt Painter.
UPDATE: ESPN's Andy Katz reports that Painter has turned down Mizzou. Eleven students in Lafayette just did a group high-five.