June 22, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Many schools boast of tradition. But none can match Purdue's tradition of turning out top-flight quarterbacks.
The "Cradle of Quarterbacks" has evolved over the last half century as a defining feature of Purdue football. They have set numerous NCAA and Big Ten Conference records, many have been chosen as All-Americans, national awards winners or finalists, four of them have been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame - including Mark Herrmann last month - and two are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Fifteen former Purdue QB's have advanced to play in the National Football League, accumulating more starts and throwing for more touchdown passes than those from any other school.
And now, with Drew Brees joining Len Dawson and Bob Griese as Super Bowl champion quarterbacks, Purdue becomes one of just two universities that can claim three Super Bowl champs at that position. (The other school is Alabama with Bart Starr, Kenny Stabler and Joe Namath.)
Brees, Dawson and Griese will be on campus today for the National Football Foundation annual awards banquet, with a record crowd of 800 expected.
In recognition of this heritage and with help from thousands of on-line voters this spring, Purdue's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, in conjunction with "Gold & Black Illustrated" and the Office of Trademark Licensing, has selected Purdue's top 12 quarterbacks of all-time from a list of 31 multiple-time starters.
In conjunction with today's announcement, Purdue will introduce a line of products: jackets, T-shirts, posters, calendars, etc., featuring the 12 quarterbacks. Some of the products are available immediately.
A different quarterback will be highlighted each week during the 2010 season. Several will appear on campus during the fall and will be honored at President's Council pregame programs and during games.
Proceeds from the sale of products will benefit the 12th Boiler Scholarship Fund, which is raising money through the John Purdue Club, eventually to endow a Boilermaker football scholarship.
The "Cradle of Quarterbacks" tradition started with Bob DeMoss, who gained fame as a freshman from Dayton, Ky., who led his 1945 Purdue team into the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, and upset the No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
DeMoss passed up an opportunity to play professional football and stayed at his alma mater as the quarterbacks coach for 20 years before becoming head coach in 1970. Along the way he recruited and developed many of the stars listed below.
In the early-1970s, the athletics department commissioned a university artist named Keith Butz to create a poster featuring Purdue's outstanding quarterbacks of the previous 30 years. That poster featured DeMoss, Dale Samuels, Len Dawson, Bernie Allen, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps and Gary Danielson.
The reference to "Cradle of Quarterbacks" was added in the late 1970s when the poster was updated to include Mark Herrmann ... then again in the mid-1980s when Scott Campbell and Jim Everett were added ... and again in picture form in the late 1990s to accommodate Eric Hunter, Billy Dicken and Drew Brees.
The term "Cradle of Quarterbacks" has since been trademarked by Purdue to create a lasting tradition that epitomizes Boilermaker football.
Purdue's 2010 version of the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" includes (in alphabetical order):
* Drew Brees (1997-2000)
* Scott Campbell (1980-83)
* Gary Danielson (1970-72)
* Len Dawson (1954-56)
* Bob DeMoss (1945-48)
* Jim Everett (1981-85)
* Bob Griese (1964-66)
* Mark Herrmann (1977-80)
* Kyle Orton (2001-04)
* Curtis Painter (2005-08)
* Mike Phipps (1967-69)
* Dale Samuels (1950-52)