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Purdue hires Illinois DC Ryan Walters as next head coach

The Boilermakers have found a replacement for Jeff Brohm, who left for Louisville.

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive coordinator Ryan Walters signals to an official during the college football game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Illinois Fighting Illini on November 12, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Purdue Boilermakers announced Tuesday that Illinois DC Ryan Walters has been hired as the next head coach for the football program.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to serve as the head football coach at Purdue University,” Walters told the Purdue Athletics official website on Tuesday. “I am grateful to Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski and to President Daniels for this incredible opportunity. Purdue is a world-class university, and our football program will pursue the same excellence exhibited across our campus. My wife Tara and I, along with our boys, are beyond excited to join the Purdue and West Lafayette communities. Boiler Up!”

Walters comes in to replace Jeff Brohm, who left the program after the regular season to go back to Louisville as head coach. Brohm’s brother, Brian, took over as interim head coach for the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl against No. 17 LSU on Monday, Jan. 2. Illinois also plays in a bowl game that Monday, in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Mississippi State, which unfortunately just lost head coach Mike Leach after he passed away due to a heart attack.

The Illini enter bowl season as the top-ranked defense in the country, allowing 12.3 points per game. The one team that was able to give Illinois and Walters trouble on the offensive side? Purdue in a 31-24 Illinois loss this season. The Illini held CFP-bound Michigan to just 19 points in a close 19-17 loss. Purdue went 8-5 this season and lost 43-22 to Michigan in the Big Ten title game.