College Hoops

Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter’s process is paying off

Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter

Purdue alum, now head coach Matt Painter’s hoops program always evolving

When enduring the toughest moments of an otherwise tremendously successful 2022-23 season, Purdue men’s basketball head coach Matt Painter reverts to what he knows best.


Work ethic.

Search for excellence.

Humility and gratitude.

“It’s all about the process, and whether we win or lose, that is what we have to focus on,” Painter tells the media following a rivalry game setback against Indiana.

Anybody can have a good team; a good program has sustained success. And they do it within the rules, and they graduate their players. There is nothing more, nothing less.

Matt Painter
Purdue men’s basketball coach

Albeit with inevitable bumps in the road during the latest run by Painter’s crew, there has been much winning lately. After all, the Boilermakers earned their 25th Big Ten Conference championship with two games to spare in the regular season. But that doesn’t change anything for the Boilermaker team or staff. It’s on to the next practice with a focus on improvement.

Painter’s program has been among the elite in college basketball, reaching even higher levels in the past two years. The Boilermakers became the first Big Ten team in 45 years to be ranked No. 1 in back-to-back seasons. Yet the word elite isn’t at the top of Painter’s vocabulary.

He refers to legendary football coach Bill Walsh, who used the term excellence when working to build an NFL dynasty with the San Francisco 49ers.

“Excellence is just sustained success; that’s all it is,” says Painter, known in basketball circles for his “beautiful” basketball mind and the rare ability to communicate through simplicity. “Anybody can have a good team; a good program has sustained success. And they do it within the rules, and they graduate their players.

“There is nothing more, nothing less.”

This Is Purdue podcast, Ep. 43: Matt Painter, October 2021

‘He just outworked everybody’

But achieving that success has, indeed, been a process. After serving as coach-in-waiting for the legendary Gene Keady, Painter won just nine games in 2005, his first season at the helm. But that is where the rebuilding began – getting enough talent to compete at the Big Ten’s highest level.

He spent the apprentice year in 2004-05 doing the things necessary to lay the foundation for winning and recruiting four top-level players, three of whom would…

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