Purdue named Ryan Walters as their 37th head football coach today, replacing Jeff Brohm, who returned to his alma mater, Louisville. Clearly, the jury remains out of Walters' impact in West Lafayette, but we know how things worked out under D. M. Balliet, Purdue's fifth and ninth coach.
Balliet played football for two years at Lehigh before transferring to Princeton, where he started two years at center for the Tigers. Balliet then went to Auburn, coaching them in their first football game, a win over Bama.
Baillet then headed north to Purdue, leading them to a 5-2-1 record in 1893, 9-1 in 1894, and 4-3 in 1895. Since Purdue went undefeated against instate competition in 1892 through 1894, they added the Lafayette Trophy (seen below) to their permanent collection. (I could not find any information about the Lafayette Trophy, so you'll have to take delight in the following factoid.)
Americans borrowed the term "coach" from the British. "Football coach" first appeared in an American newspaper in 1889. Some folks, however, referred to the role not as a "coach," but as a "coacher." The folks writing for the 1895 Purdue yearbook were among the coacher fans.
Baillet, a lawyer, left Purdue after the 1895 season to pursue his practice but, within the year, had swapped the Purdue gold and black for the gold up in the Yukon Territory. He must not have found much because he returned to Purdue for the 1901 season and then went to Washington and Lee to coach for two years.
Only time will tell whether Ryan Walters proves to be as good a coacher as D. M. Baillet was for the Boilermakers.
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