Hope has been out of coaching since Purdue fired him at the end of the 2012 regular season. He went 22-27 in four seasons with the Boilermakers, ending his tenure with a 6-6 campaign that began with hopes for a Big Ten Leaders division title.
Hope would take over the offensive line duties from Paul Wulff, who had also served as offensive coordinator before coach Willie Taggart fired him on Dec. 8. Wulff’s firing was part of a larger shakeup in the Bulls coaching staff that included the dismissals of defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, as well.
The 2015 season will be crucial for Taggart, who through two years has yet to turn around the South Florida program after its collapse under Skip Holtz. After Taggart’s 2-10 debut season in 2013, the Bulls showed some improvement this fall with a 4-8 record but actually fell in S&P+ ratings from 104th to 120th. South Florida had one of the worst rushing attacks in the country this year, gaining just 2.9 yards per carry.
Hope and Taggart share a connection to Taggart’s high school, Manatee High in Bradenton, Fla., where Hope got his start in coaching as an assistant in 1981. Joe Kinnan, the offensive coordinator at Eastern Kentucky when Hope played for the Colonels, brought him onto the coaching staff at Manatee High, where Kinnan coached for 29 years. Taggart played under Kinnan and won a state title at Manatee High in ’92.
Before taking over the head coaching duties at Purdue in 2009, Hope spent one year as a coach-in-waiting under Joe Tiller. He coached Eastern Kentucky from 2003-07, was an assistant head coach at Louisville in 2002 and coached the offensive line at Purdue, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Louisville between 1985 and 2001.