Oct. 17, 2008
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Another step towards the renovation and expansion of Purdue's Mackey Arena has been taken with a $250,000 gift from former Boilermaker basketball standouts Brian and Danielle (Bird) Cardinal.
Brian, the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 men's basketball team, and Danielle, a member of the 1999 national championship women's basketball team, will have the practice court in the revamped Mackey Complex named Cardinal Court in their honor.
"It is particularly fitting that we recognize Brian and Danielle for their generous gift by naming the new practice court in their honor," said Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke. "In their own ways, they excelled in practice during their Purdue basketball careers - Brian working day-in and day-out to make himself his team's Most Valuable Player as a senior and Danielle giving tirelessly of herself to make her teammates better that culminated with a national championship her junior season. Both are the epitome of the Boilermaker student-athlete, always doing things the right way and with an optimistic attitude. We sincerely thank them for giving back."
Brian was a key member of the Boilermaker men's basketball team from 1996 to 2000, earning a spot in the starting lineup all four seasons and leading the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight in 2000. The consummate image of a Gene Keady-coached player, Brian was a four-time recipient of the Ray Eddy "Mr. Hustle" Award, given annually to the Boilermaker who displays the greatest amount of determination, drive and leadership. Today a member of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, the 6-foot-8 Cardinal remains the Purdue career leader with 259 steals while ranking 14th with 1,584 points. He earned his bachelor's degree in management.
"Purdue was an important place and time in my life," Brian said. "I enjoyed great success while I was at Purdue, and I want other Purdue basketball players to have that same kind of success. Giving back to the University is my way of saying `thank you' for all that I experienced at Purdue. Earning a degree from a prestigious university and being a part of the basketball program gave me an opportunity to live out my lifetime dream of playing in the NBA.
"I want to provide that same opportunity for others to fulfill their dreams through our donation of Cardinal Court," Brian said. "I am proud to be a Boilermaker and excited to be a part of the continued standard of excellence for our athletes and students."
Danielle played for the women's basketball team from 1996 through 2000. The 5-foot-7 guard from Fort Wayne, Ind., earned a spot on the team as a walkon and was later awarded a scholarship for all four years. She played in 41 games in her career, averaging six minutes a game and was a member of the national championship team that defeated Duke 62-45 in the title game in San Jose, Calif., on March 28, 1999. A three time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Danielle graduated from Purdue with a general health sciences degree.
"Purdue holds a dear place in my heart, especially Mackey Arena," Danielle said. "This is the place where I met my husband, got an outstanding education and was a part of a once in a lifetime experience - winning a National Championship. Purdue University, specifically the women's basketball program, changed my life. The University gave me an opportunity to grow as a student, as an athlete and, most importantly, as a person.
"Brian and I want the current and future Purdue basketball players to be able to have the same opportunities that we had," Danielle said, "and we feel the best way to give them this opportunity is to contribute Cardinal Court. It is our way of saying thank you to all of the people who were instrumental in our lives."
The Mackey Complex project will be completed at a cost of $99.5 million. Purdue now has raised more than $24 million of the $32 million private fundraising goal.
The first bid package relating to the Mackey Complex primary site and facility itself are scheduled to be sent out around Dec. 1, with work to move the football practice fields and parking lots beginning in mid-to-late February or early March of 2009.
Work on Mackey Arena is scheduled to begin immediately after conclusion of the 2008-09 basketball season and will continue until basketball practice resumes in the fall of 2009.
Improvements to the 41-year-old home of the Boilermakers will include improved arena seating, ticket offices and other amenities for fans, as well as the opportunity to bring academic, athletic and training needs into one complex to benefit all student-athletes. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011-12.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars, will pay for the project completely with gifts, increased concession and premium seating revenue, and income generated from the Big Ten Network and other conference television funds.