News and notes on Purdue Athletics
Student-athletes, coaches, administrators kick off school year
News and notes on Purdue Athletics
New Purdue Athletics leader comes from Georgia Tech
Renovated course joins Kampen on the Pete Dye Trail
Morgan Burke has left an indelible mark on Purdue University while making his name as one of the visionary leaders in intercollegiate athletics.
In February of 2016, Burke announced that he would retire as athletics director at his alma mater June 30, 2017. Until then, he will continue putting his heart and soul into what he truly views as a labor of love. He has worked vigorously to ensure every student-athlete has a positive experience at Purdue.
Burke, who in his 24th year has the fourth-longest tenure among current athletics directors at FBS institutions, has set a high standard for the Boilermakers. The department's mission outlines its goals for "Developing Champions / Developing Scholars / Developing Citizens." The term "25/85 Club" was coined to articulate a vision of an intercollegiate athletics organization that achieves an average finish in the top 25 across all sports and has a Graduation Success Rate of 85 percent. Few institutions achieve this lofty status, but that is Purdue's ambition.
Burke, who was promoted to university vice president in February of 2014, has been called the athletics director who came down from the grandstands because he was an avid fan and member of the John Purdue Club long before he was appointed to lead the department. No one wants to see the Boilermakers succeed more than Burke, and few expend more energy cheering them on to victory.
In 1992, the Purdue Board of Trustees voted unanimously to declare the intention to establish "a nationally prominent athletic organization that is excellent in all respects." That meant making up ground on the other schools in the Big Ten Conference and achieving in the classroom. It meant winning and playing by the rules. And it meant building new facilities and improving others to attract top coaches and student-athletes to West Lafayette.
The athletics department has 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, one of just 12 nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 four of the last six years, has 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.
When Burke succeeded George King as AD on Jan. 1, 1993, 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 and nationally. Significant strides have been 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.
Two teams have won NCAA championships - women's basketball in 1999 and women's golf in 2010 - while eight student-athletes have 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 has overseen 20 regular-season conference championships and 13 tournament titles.
Similar excellence was expected in the classroom, and student-athletes regularly perform 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.
Furthermore, Burke articulated an expectation for all areas of Intercollegiate Athletics - from facilities to fundraising - to make measurable improvements.
Purdue Athletics is a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise - one of just 12 such NCAA Division I programs currently - that receives no university or state funding and writes a check to the university for scholarships. As a result, financial resources constantly need to be expanded to support all sports. Burke has challenged Purdue alumni and fans to get on board to propel Boilermaker athletics to greatness by joining the John Purdue Club. The club's prime purpose is to fund athletics scholarships, and it has more than doubled in members and contributions during Burke's tenure. He and the staff are working to grow the club by an additional 50 percent to support scholarship costs, which exceed $10 million annually.
Recognizing the need for contemporary facilities, Burke and his staff have 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.
Another goal of Burke's was to involve former student-athletes in the life of the department, to counsel and question, and provide ideas to keep the organization sharp. In 1993, he established an advisory council made up of 24 student-athlete alumni. The group meets annually to hear reports and make suggestions to Burke and senior administrators.
In 2003, former student-athletes found a new home in Intercollegiate Athletics with the founding of the Varsity P Club. A subset of the John Purdue Club, the Varsity P Club boasts more than 1,000 members, who are welcomed back each fall.
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). He was a vanguard for cost containment before the economic downturn forced other departments to take notice.
|Left to right: Morgan Jr., Molly, Parker, Kate, Morgan, Kate, Ryan, Joyce, Andrew, Courtney and Patrick.|
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.
The 64-year-old 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.
|Athletics Director Longevity|
At Same FBS Institution
|• Chris Hill, Utah - since October 1987|
• Jeremy Foley, Florida - since March 1992 (retiring October 2016)
• Ron Wellman, Wake Forest - since October 1992
• Morgan Burke, Purdue - since January 1993 (retiring June 2017)