Jeff Brohm describes ‘excruciating’ decision in emotional radio interview

Jeff Brohm describes ‘excruciating’ decision in emotional radio interview
Jeff Brohm prowls the sideline in his first game as Purdue's coach back in 2017. It was against Louisville, his alma mater and the team he turned down an offer to coach in November 2018. (John P. Wise)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – In a candid radio interview Friday morning, Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm reflected on a difficult week that led to him turning down an offer to coach the football team at his college alma mater.

Brohm, the former Trinity High School and UofL quarterback who also served as an assistant coach for the Cardinals, spoke with radio host Drew Deener on ESPN 680, describing having to decide between doing what was best for himself and doing the right thing.

“It was a long, close-to-48-hour period that was just very emotional, kind of gut-wrenching, excruciating decision that I knew in the end probably wasn’t going to please everyone,” Brohm said.

By staying at Purdue, he said he felt he did the right thing. Brohm reiterated that while he could see himself coaching UofL, his situation at Purdue is a good one. And the idea of leaving Purdue after telling some of his current players and potential signees that he would be their coach clearly was a big piece of his decision.

“The question you (have) to ask yourself is, can you turn your back on these people just to do what’s strictly best for you, and not maybe the right thing to do, and that’s what I had to figure out,” Brohm said. “I got a guy like (former Trinity star) Rondale Moore. Up for the Heisman his first year. Achieved things his first year that I don’t even think (he thought) he could do. When I was around him and his family and his uncle, trust me, every time I’m there, they ask me, ‘Hey coach, I only want to come there if you’re gonna be there.’”

Brohm, whose two brothers -- former UofL players Greg and Brian -- are on the Purdue coaching staff, said the family spent two days together trying to hammer out a decision.

“We were locked behind closed doors, and we were trying to just talk everything through,” he told Deener. "And make sure that we make the right decision. And believe me, it was not a comfortable 48 hours. There were some things said that probably shouldn’t be said. There were some temper flare-ups. There were some people giving their opinion.

“You never want to do anything that’s gonna hurt anybody. Unfortunately, being put in this situation, which was a great situation to be put in, I knew in the end it was going to hurt somebody.”

Then things got emotional when Deener asked if Brohm had a hard time telling his father -- Oscar Brohm, also a former UofL quarterback -- that he wasn’t coming home.

“Without question,” Brohm said. “He loves Louisville. That’s where he’s lived his whole life. He loves it.”

Five seconds of radio silence followed before Brohm regained his composure.

“When it comes to parents and grandparents, they want to see their grandkids, they want to see their kids,” he said a moment later. “They want to see them fulfill their goals right there with them.”

Brohm said Louisville’s offer was comparable to his compensation package at Purdue, so money wasn’t a factor. It actually sounded genuine, not always the case in the college football coaching world of seven-figure annual salaries.

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