News and notes on Purdue Athletics
News and notes on Purdue Athletics
`The direction we are headed is exciting, and Morgan has had so much to do with that.'
News and notes on Purdue Athletics
Student-athletes, coaches, administrators kick off school year
Morgan Burke left an indelible mark on Purdue University as athletics director from 1993 to 2016, while making his name as one of the visionary leaders in intercollegiate athletics.
Prior to his retirement, Burke boasted the fourth-longest tenure among athletics directors at FBS institutions.
When Burke succeeded George King, he pledged to build on the foundation already in place. Working with coaches and staff, aggressive goals were set.
On the athletics side, Burke's expectation was to improve the position of Purdue teams in the Big Ten Conference and nationally. Significant strides were made on both fronts. In 2009-10, 14 teams finished in the upper half of the Big Ten, the high-water mark in Burke's time at Purdue. On the national scene, 14 squads earned NCAA postseason opportunities in 2011-12, the most in school history.
The athletics department invested more than a quarter of a billion dollars in facility construction and renovation projects under Morgan Burke.
In 2001, work started on the renovation of Ross-Ade Stadium. Upon its completion, the remade Ross-Ade boasted vastly expanded concessions and restrooms along a wider concourse, wider aisles and individual seats, and increased seating for fans in wheelchairs. Towering over the west grandstands, the Ross-Ade Pavilion houses suites, indoor and outdoor club seats, the Buchanan and Shively stadium clubs, and facilities for the working media and gameday staff.
A new football performance complex currently is underway, and the three-level structure - totaling 110,000 square feet - will become the everyday home of the football program when it opens in August of 2017.
At the same time, an extensive look at the future of the south end zone of Ross-Ade is in progress. This project also will include audio/visual enhancements and the addition of lights.
The Boilermaker Aquatic Center - featuring the Doris Z. Holloway Pool - opened its doors in 2001 and since then has played host to multiple championship events, including the 2005 and 2010 NCAA Women's Championships and 2006 U.S. Open, plus four Big Ten Championships and four NCAA Diving Zones.
The Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex has undergone several facelifts. Pete Dye's redesign of the Kampen Course instantly provided Purdue national credibility, as it was the site of the 2003 NCAA Women's Championships and the 2008 NCAA Men's Championships. The Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center subsequently was dedicated in 2005. The Ackerman-Allen Course was dedicated in 2016 with another Dye design, which gives Purdue the best collegiate golf facility in the country.
Purdue's volleyball program received several major upgrades to its facility within Holloway Gymnasium. The volleyball court was revamped in 2006 and named after Boilermaker supporters Ron and Kay Belin.
The Dennis J. and Mary Lou Schwartz Tennis Center opened its doors in 2006 and played host to the 2007 Big Ten Men's Championships and the 2008 Big Ten Women's Championships.
Also in 2006, the Mollenkopf Athletic Center got a makeover, with a new FieldTurf field named after Richard, Alice and Kimra Schleicher.
The Mackey Complex project, completed in 2012, revitalized a campus landmark that has served as the home of Boilermaker basketball since 1967, while having a dynamic effect on all Purdue teams. Seventy percent of the nearly 280,000 square feet of new or renovated space benefits all 500-plus student-athletes. A new three-level structure adjacent to the arena features improved and increased space for sports medicine and sports performance, plus a basketball practice facility, new locker rooms and lounges, meeting rooms and offices. Three club spaces, a wider concourse, and additional concession stands and restrooms significantly improved the overall fan experience.
The Brees Academic Performance Center - formerly the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility - also underwent a transformation that increased academic support service space from 6,500 to 11,000 square feet.
Also included in the Mackey Complex project was a master plan to further develop the northwest edge of campus. An upgrade to the Boilermaker Soccer Complex and a new baseball stadium, named Alexander Field for the parents of former coach Dave Alexander, were completed in 2012, followed by a new softball stadium, which opened in 2015.
Two teams won NCAA championships - women's basketball in 1999 and women's golf in 2010 - while eight student-athletes captured a combined 14 individual national crowns. The football team embarked on a run of 10 bowl games in 12 years from 1997 to 2008, and the men's basketball team achieved an unprecedented string of back-to-back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996. All told, Burke oversaw 20 regular-season conference championships and 13 tournament titles.
Similar excellence was expected in the classroom, and student-athletes regularly performed equal to or better than the student body. Following the 2016 spring semester, the cumulative GPA for all current Purdue student-athletes was a record 3.10. It has been above 3.0 for 15 consecutive semesters. The current four-year average Graduation Success Rate stands at 84 percent. Moreover, 90 percent of student-athletes completing their eligibility at Purdue graduate, and student-athletes who graduated in May of 2015 realized a 92 percent job-placement rate.
Recognizing the need for contemporary facilities, Burke and his staff identified and addressed construction and renovation projects benefiting every program since the start of the new millennium - with an investment of more than a quarter of a billion dollars.
A 1973 industrial management graduate and captain of the swimming team his senior year, Burke was a member of Phi Beta Kappa scholastic honorary. After graduation, he continued at Purdue and earned a master's degree in industrial relations in 1975. In 1980, he graduated with a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Burke pursued a successful career with Inland Steel Co. after law school, moving through 13 positions in an 18-year span. He was vice president when he departed to return to Purdue.
Beyond Purdue, Burke is past president of the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association and previously served on the NCAA Leadership Council, which identifies important issues surrounding the future of the NCAA and reports to the Board of Directors, and several Big Ten boards (Executive, Program/Budget and Compliance committees) and NCAA working groups (Championships and Competitions and Postseason Football committees).
Burke was promoted to university vice president in February of 2014.
In 2010, Burke was honored as the Football Bowl Subdivision Central Region Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Burke is married to the former Catherine J. (Kate) Mullane, a Purdue alumna and pharmacist. They have three children who are Purdue graduates. Joyce is a materials engineer for Dell Inc.; she and her husband, Ryan, and children, Kate and Andrew, reside in Austin, Texas. Morgan Jr. is a landscape architect and works for the Guzzardo Partnership in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife, Molly, and daughter, Parker June. Patrick works for the Boston Consulting Group; he and his wife, Courtney, make their home in Chicago.