Purdue's Matt Painter Ready For the Next 500 Games


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — When you coach college basketball, it's all about the moment. So for Purdue coach Matt Painter, getting ready for game No. 501 Tuesday night against Rutgers is more important that celebrating hitting the 500 mark. 

Still, after 15-plus years of coaching at his alma mater, it was a nice gesture to acknowledge such a milestone. That doesn't happen often.

"I didn't even know it was my 500th game until the day of the game somebody said it to me,'' Painter said Monday.  "It was very nice that they put something together, but I think you get excited for a win plateau, not a participation plateau.''

The wins have come too, of course, since he took over as head coach in 2005 for Gene Keady, his former coach and boss. He's accomplished a lot at Purdue, including five Sweet 16 appearances, an Elite Eight game a year ago and four Big Ten Coach of the Year trophies.

He's done well, but the best is yet to come, he said Monday. 

"Even though it was nice the things they did and said, and this comes from Coach Keady, our goal is to win the Big Ten, and get in the NCAA Tournament and do damage.

"I think our best days are ahead of us. I want to be able to get to a Final Four and win a national championship for Purdue fans.''


Here are some of the 49-year-old Painter's superlatives during that 500-game run:

  • He has won 332 games to 168 losses, a .664 winning percentage.
  • He has taken 11 Purdue teams to the NCAA Tournament, which is the sixth-most for any coach in Big Ten history.
  • Painter's 332 wins are the 10th-most in Big Ten history.
  • His 162 Big Ten wins are the 10th-most in league history. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is No. 9 on the list with 172. (Purdue's Gene Keady and Ward Lambert are Nos. 3 and 4 respectively.)
  • Painter has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times, the third-most total in league history
  • His 357 career wins — he had 25 at Southern Illinois during his one year there before coming to Purdue —are second-most nationally of any coach under the age of 50 (Mick Cronin at UCLA has 374)
  • Of coaches with at least 300 wins and under the age of 55, Painter is one of six coaches to make an Elite 8, and his five Sweet 16 trips are the second-most to Arizona's Sean Miller (7).
  • Painter is one of just nine coaches in Big Ten history with 500 games coached in the Big Ten. He is just 60 games behind Michigan State’s Jud Heathcote for fifth place on the chart (560 games). The league record is Bob Knight at 901 games.
  • He is one of two active coaches to have won a Big Ten title of any kind along with Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.
  • His 12 NCAA Tournament appearances (Purdue 11, Southern Illinois 1) are the 16th-most among active coaches, and   the most among any coach under the age of 55.
  • Painter's 15 years of service is second-most in the Big Ten, behind only Tom Izzo of Michigan State (25-plus years).
  • Painter has coached against 33 different coaches in Big Ten games.
  • Since being hired in 2005, arch-rival Indiana has had FIVE different coaches, Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson, Dan Dakich, Tom Crean and Archie Miller.