Knox coach leaves for assistant's job

More news about: Knox | Otterbein
Rob Purlee was an assistant at Knox before being promoted to the head coaching job.
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Rob Purlee, who spent four years as the head coach, announced he’s leaving Knox to take a position on the basketball staff at Otterbein. Todd Adrian, the former Edgewood coach, was recently named head coach at Otterbein.

Purlee was 9-83 in his four seasons, a winning percentage of .098.

Purlee joined the Prairie Fire men’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant in 2006 under Tim Heimann. Purlee was named the associate head coach in October 2007 and replaced Heimann as the head coach at the end of the 2007-08 season.

Purlee, a Monmouth graduate who spent two seasons as a football and basketball assistant at his alma mater before arriving at Knox, was also the Prairie Fire’s head men’s golf coach since the summer of 2008.

Knox athletic director Chad Eisele said a national search to fill the head men’s basketball coaching vacancy begins immediately. It’s the first such search in 52 years - since 1960 - when long-time Knox coach and athletic director Harley Knosher became the men’s basketball coach.

Knosher guided the basketball program until 1984 and served the school for four decades.  He was inducted into the Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.

Heimann followed as the next men’s basketball coach from 1984 until his retirement from the post in 2008. Heimann, a 1970 Knox graduate and 2004 Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, and Knosher both coached basketball for 24 years at Knox.

Purlee coached three players that garnered all-conference recognition during his tenure.  Matt Goedeke (2008-09), Joe Kozak (2009-10), and Tanner Carlson (2010-11 and 2011-12) each was named an All-Midwest Conference honorable mention selection.

“We thank Rob for his time at Knox. He did a good job,” Eisele said. “We’re also looking forward to a new chapter of Knox men’s basketball and a new coach.”

Eisele hopes to have the new coach in place by the time classes begin in September.