Former NFL and Purdue quarterback Drew Brees will serve as an interim assistant coach for his alma mater’s Citrus Bowl game against LSU.
Brees will aid the Boilermakers (8-5) in preparation for the Jan. 2 game and also participate in recruiting activities, per Purdue’s news release on Thursday.
“Purdue University is fortunate to have alumni who are impactful leaders in industries and careers across a wide spectrum, including professional football,” said Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski.
“For more than two decades, Drew Brees has shown the world what makes the Boilermakers special. He was an elite football player, but most of all, Drew is an extraordinary leader. Gaining his insights on the football field and in our coaching offices during this time of transition will be of great value to our student-athletes and staff.”
Purdue hired Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as its new head coach on Tuesday.
This is the first head coaching job for Walters, 36, who was named college football’s top assistant coach in 2022. He has been with the Illini for two seasons following a six-year tenure on the Missouri coaching staff, the last two as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
“I am extremely excited to work with our team over the next few weeks as we prepare for the Citrus Bowl,” Brees said in a statement. “I see it not only as an opportunity to coach and mentor this group of young men, but represent all the former Purdue players that care so much about our program.
“This is also preparation for the future of Purdue Football with new head coach Ryan Walters. I had a great conversation with Coach Walters last night, and love the energy, passion and detail he will bring to our program. The future is bright, and there is no better time to be a Boilermaker!”
Brees and Walters may have their work cut out for them. ESPN reported that Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will announce Thursday that he is skipping the Citrus Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-3 senior completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games this season, leading the Boilermakers to the Big Ten West division title.
“When I first heard about Drew coming back to help coach our guys for the bowl game, I was hoping the rumors were true,” Walters said. “Our players have the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest leaders in football history, a valuable experience that they will never forget. Drew taking time out of his busy schedule to coach the bowl game is a perfect example of Purdue Football being one big family, and I cannot wait to see him on the sidelines in Orlando.”
Walters received a five-year contract and replaces Jeff Brohm, who left last week to become the head coach after six seasons and a 70-36 record in West Lafayette, Ind.
Brees, 43, retired following the 2020 season — his 20th in the NFL. He threw for 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns — second only to Tom Brady in both categories — for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints. A 13-time Pro Bowl selection, he led the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV.
Brees played quarterback at Purdue from 1997 to 2000, winning the Maxwell Award.
–Field Level Media