It's easy to enjoy your profession when things are going well. However, when anyone is having a bad day at the office, it is then that they find out just how important their chosen occupation is to them.
In the case of Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter, he is having a string of positive days of late, and that is helping him feel good about his job and his future in the coaching business.
The Boilermakers (15-16) will open the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Chicago against Nebraska (14-17) at 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
Purdue has won three of its past five games, but even in the two defeats, the Boilermakers have played well. This is vastly different from a month ago when Painter's team found themselves in the midst of six defeats in eight games and the message boards and articles weren't so pleasant.
“I don't get caught up in a lot of other things,” Painter said. “I don't feel like I owe people an explanation. I'm just going to do what is right for my own children and do what's right for Purdue basketball.”
Painter's teams have achieved a nice amount of success in his nine-year career. The Boilermakers' recent win over Minnesota gave Painter his 200th victory against 98 defeats. That success, coupled with a contract that runs through six more seasons, allows a certain comfort level for the coach when times get difficult.
“(Doing what's right) will allow everything to work itself out,” Painter said. “If it doesn't, then I feel good with the decisions that I've made.”
In the world of 2013, where message boards and social media allow anonymous charges of hatred toward anyone in any line of work – particularly the sporting world – Painter has found the best strategy to be oblivious to those who aren't knowledgeable about those who cast opinions.
“If you listen, and watch and take what is being said about you,” Painter said, “man, you're going to end up in a straightjacket. You just can't do it. You've got to shut off the world.”
It isn't just the verbal venom that Painter is cognizant of, but the praise as well.
“The thing that I've found is that you've got to be careful when they say good things, too,” Painter said. “You've got to leave that alone also, because it can get you on an emotional high, too.”
Painter credited any professional success that he's achieved to the players he's had the opportunity to work with.
“Coaches are only as good as their players,” Painter said. “(Former Purdue forward) Rob Hummel texted me the other day congratulating me for 200 wins. I texted him back, 'Thank you for half of them.'”
The last Purdue coach (Gene Keady) prior to Painter was in West Lafayette for a quarter-century and won 512 games. The 42-year-old Painter has a lot of years remaining in his professional career and he admits that he currently feels that he has the desire to continue coaching – even if it means into his 60s.
“It's important to get the right people that fit,” Painter said. “So we can enjoy ourselves and enjoy the journey. Not look at numbers and everything all of the time and try to enjoy the process of trying to get to the mountaintop. That part is very, very important and sometimes we all get away from that.”