Former NFL quarterback Drew Brees is returning to his alma mater, Purdue University, as an interim assistant coach, the school announced in a news release shared on its official website Thursday (December 15) morning.
"Purdue University is fortunate to have alumni who are impactful leaders in industries and careers across a wide spectrum, including professional football," said Purdue University vice president and director of athletics Mike Bobinski. "For more than two decades, Drew Brees has shown the world what makes the Boilermakers special. He was an elite football player, but most of all, Drew is an extraordinary leader. Gaining his insights on the football field and in our coaching offices during this time of transition will be of great value to our student-athletes and staff. We're grateful to Drew for his willingness to share his time and expertise in yet another show of support for the Boilermakers."
News of Brees joining the Purdue staff was initially reported by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger on Thursday morning prior to the school's confirmation.
"He wanted to help during the coaching transition," Dellenger tweeted. "He’ll assist team in prep for the Citrus Bowl and coach in the game. He can also recruit via an NCAA waiver."
Purdue recently named former Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as its next head coach following the departure of Jeff Brohm, who left to take the same position at his alma mater, the University of Louisville.
The Boilermakers finished the 2022 regular season with an 8-5 overall (6-3 Big Ten) record, winning the Big Ten West Division title and clinching an upcoming appearance in the 2023 Citrus Bowl against LSU, with offensive coordinator Brian Brohm taking over as interim head coach for the period between his brother and Walters.
"I am extremely excited to work with our team over the next few weeks as we prepare for the Citrus Bowl," Brees said. "I see it not only as an opportunity to coach and mentor this group of young men, but represent all the former Purdue players that care so much about our program. This is also preparation for the future of Purdue Football with new head coach Ryan Walters. I had a great conversation with Coach Walters last night, and love the energy, passion and detail he will bring to our program. The future is bright, and there is no better time to be a Boilermaker!"
Brees, a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Maxwell Award winner, was a three-year starter at Purdue during his four seasons (1997-2000) in West Lafayette, which included finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999 and third in 2000.
Brees announced his retirement from the NFL in March 2021 after 20 seasons, including 15 with the New Orleans Saints, leading the franchise to its only Super Bowl victory in 2009 and rallying the city in its post-Hurricane Katrina revival.
The former second-round draft pick finished his playing career as the NFL's all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358) -- a record later broken by Tom Brady in 2021 -- and second in touchdown passes (571) and completion percentage (67.7%.)