Purdue's Hope hires first two assistants

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Danny Hope era is under way at Purdue, and the new Boilermakers coach has started to form his staff for 2009.

Today, Hope hired Gary Nord as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and Shawn Clark as offensive line coach. He also promoted graduate assistant J.B. Gibboney to special teams coordinator.

The hirings mean that Ed Zaunbrecher will not be retained as offensive coordinator. Purdue ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring before exploding for 62 points in the season finale against Indiana. Clark actually replaces Hope, who coached Purdue's offensive linemen this season.

Tight ends coach John McDonnell also won't be retained, and defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen no longer will oversee special teams. Purdue ranked last in the Big Ten in both punting and kickoff coverage this season.

Nord comes to Purdue from Florida Atlantic, where he has served as offensive coordinator since 2005. He also served as offensive coordinator at UTEP and Oklahoma and worked with Hope at Louisville from 1985-1995. Like Hope, he has ties to Florida that will help change the recruiting landscape at Purdue.

"Gary has one of the top offensive minds in the nation," Hope said in a statement. "He also is an outstanding recruiter. We are fortunate to get someone with his background and experience. He's a real catch for us."

Clark served on Hope's staff at Eastern Kentucky from 2003-07 and remained with the Colonels this season. He first met Hope in 2002 as a graduate assistant at Louisville.

"I have known Shawn virtually his entire career, and he coaches the O-line the way I want it to be coached," Hope said. "He's a bright young coach with a tremendous work ethic, and he's a former lineman himself, so the players know they are learning from someone who has been there, done that."

It will be interesting to see what Hope does with the rest of Joe Tiller's staff. I'm particularly interested to see if Brock Spack is retained as defensive coordinator. Hope and Spack go way back, to Hope's first stint on the Purdue staff.

The Boilermakers defense performed well for much of the season, and Spack might have earned the right to remain in West Lafayette.