Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue Boilermakers
University Purdue University
Conference Big Ten
NCAA Division I / FBS
Athletic director Mike Bobinski
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium Ross-Ade Stadium
Basketball arena Mackey Arena
Baseball stadium Alexander Field
Mascot Boilermaker Special
Purdue Pete
Nickname Boilermakers
Fight song Hail Purdue!
Colors Black and Old Gold[1]
Website www.purduesports.com

Boilermakers is the official nickname for the intercollegiate athletic teams of Purdue University. As is common with athletic nicknames, it is also used as colloquial designation of Purdue's students and alumni at large. The nickname is often shortened to "Boilers" by fans of the school.

Purdue has one of the few college athletic programs that is not funded by student fees or subsidized by the university.[2][3]

Origin of "Boilermakers" nickname

The nickname "Boilermakers" goes back to 1892 when the Purdue football team defeated nearby rival Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana 44–0. An account of the game in the Crawfordsville Daily Argus News of October 26, 1891 was headlined, "Slaughter of Innocents: Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue." Engineering education in the 1890s at Purdue meant hands-on work in the forge room, where students heated and molded metal, just like the "blacksmiths" and "boilermakers" the football team was called after defeating opponents. The local Purdue press picked up on the name, with a notice in the November 1, 1891 Lafayette Sunday Times, "As everyone knows, Purdue went down to Wabash last Saturday and defeated their eleven. The Crawfordsville papers have not yet gotten over it. The only resource they have is to claim that we beat their 'scientific' men by brute force. Our players are characterized as 'coal heavers,' 'boiler makers' and 'stevedores.'"[4]

Several of the local schools added to the boilermaker tradition by suggesting that Purdue was going up the Wabash River and hiring workers from the nearby Monon railroad yards to play football. Of course it wasn't true. However, Purdue's official mascot is a Locomotive, the Boilermaker Special. The Monon Railroad had its main locomotive shops in Lafayette, not far from the campus.

Over those early years, Purdue's football team was called "grangers," "pumpkin-shuckers," "railsplitters," "cornfield sailors," "blacksmiths," and "foundry hands," but ultimately, it was "Boilermakers" that finally stuck.

Purdue's athletic teams typically wear old-gold-and-black or old-gold-and-white ensembles, colors that have identified Purdue since 1887.

Varsity sports


In the early 1890s Purdue fielded dominating football teams. In 1891 Purdue went 4-0, outscoring opponents 192-0. In 1892 Purdue went 8-0, outscoring opponents 320-24. In 1893 Purdue went 5-2-1, outscoring opponents 334-144. In 1894 Purdue went 9-1, outscoring opponents 288-36. Over these four years, Purdue's combined record was 26-3-1, outscoring opponents 1134-204. Purdue beat in-state rival Indiana University 60-0, 68-0, 64-0, and 6-0 by an understandable forfeit. Purdue went 2-1 against Illinois, 2-1 Wisconsin, 3-0 against Chicago and split 2 games with Michigan.

The Purdue Boilermakers competed as 'Independent' until 1889. In 1890, they joined the 'Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association' and, finally, the Big Ten Conference in 1896. The Purdue Boilermakers have been Big Ten Conference Champions in 1918, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1943, 1952, 1967 and 2000. However, they made their first appearance in the Rose Bowl - the "grand-daddy of them all" - with a 1966 second-place finish in the Big Ten; conference rules at that time prevented Michigan State from appearing in consecutive Rose Bowls. The Boilermakers, under NFL hall-of-famer Bob Griese defeated the University of Southern California Trojans 14-13 to win the 1967 Rose Bowl. When the Boilermakers shared the Big Ten title the following season, the consecutive-appearance rule kept them out of the 1968 Rose Bowl. Purdue did not return to the Rose Bowl until 2001, losing to the University of Washington Huskies 24-34.

The Boilermakers have appeared in a total of 17 post-season bowl games, compiling a record of 9-8. Their most recent appearance was a 14-58 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State University in the 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Purdue has traditionally been called the 'Cradle of Quarterbacks',[5] having produced NFL stars Cecil Isbell, Dale Samuels, Bob DeMoss, NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP Len Dawson, NFL Hall of Famer Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Gary Danielson, Mark Herrmann, Scott Campbell, Jim Everett, Eric Hunter, Billy Dicken, Kyle Orton and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. Purdue QBs have thrown more touchdowns in the NFL than any other university, 1,311 at the end of the 2010 season. In 2011, there were three starting quarterbacks in the NFL from Purdue: Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Kyle Orton of the Dallas Cowboys, and Curtis Painter of the New York Giants.[6] The team is currently coached by Gerad Parker.


The Boilermaker men's and women's basketball teams have won more Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament) than any other conference school, with 37 conference banners, including a league-leading 22 for the men’s team. Men’s former head coach Gene Keady coached his final season with the Boilermakers in the 2004–2005 season after 25 years with the Boilermakers. Coach Keady became Purdue's all-time-winningest coach on December 6, 1997. In his years at Purdue, Keady led the Boilermakers to a 512-270 record and a .655 winning percentage.[7]

The current coach of the Boilermaker men's basketball team is Matt Painter. A former player and Purdue Alum under Keady, Painter is now in his 11th season as the head coach and is currently third on the school's all-time wins list.[8]



The Purdue Boilermaker Wrestling Team started in the 1913-1914 season. Placing as high as 2nd in the NCAA National Championships the team has placed in the NCAA tournament for over 25 years straight. The team is coached by Tony Ersland, who wrestled for the University of Iowa under legendary coach Dan Gable. The team competes in the Big Ten Conference. Purdue Wrestling practices in the Blake Wrestling Training Center and competes on campus in the Holloway Gymnasium (2,288).[9]


NCAA team championships

Purdue University has won 3 NCAA national championships:[10]

Other national team championships

Athletic accomplishments

Since its establishment in 1869, Purdue has won three NCAA championships, one in men's golf, one in women's basketball, and one in women's golf.


Basketball: men

Basketball: women

Cross country: men

Cross country: women


Field hockey

Golf: men

Golf: women

Soccer: women


Swimming and diving: men

Tennis: women

Track and field: women





c = Co-Champions

† = Women's championships were not fully sanctioned with the Big Ten Conference until the 1981-1982 season.

Notable non-varsity sports


Founded in 1970, Purdue plays college rugby in the Big Ten Universities conference against its traditional Big 10 rivals such as Indiana, and also plays in the annual Big 10 rugby sevens tournament each fall. Purdue men's rugby is led by head coach Mark Behrens,[14] and Purdue women's rugby is led by head coach Lake Paul.[15][16]

Men's volleyball

Purdue has a successful Men's Volleyball program that competes in the NCVF. Purdue won the Big Ten Championship tournament in 2014. Website is purduemvb.wix.com/main [17]


The golf complex houses 2 distinct 18 hole courses, The Ackerman Hills course and the Kampen Course. The golf complex also includes the Pete Dye Clubhouse, Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center, short game areas and a driving range. The Kampen Course hosted the Women's NCAA golf championship in 2003 and the Men's NCAA championship in 2008.

The Aquatic center was an addition to the Purdue Recreational Services Center in 2001. The aquatic center includes an Olympic sized pool, diving well, dressing facilities, hot tub, and spectator areas.

The Tennis Center is the newest facility for Purdue Athletics. The facility is home to 6 outdoor and 6 indoor tennis courts. 6 additional outdoor courts are currently under construction.

In addition to having Belin Court as a dedicated surface for Volleyball, the IAF is also the location of several other athletic facilities. The Athletic Ticket Office, Jane P. Beering Academic Learning Center, and large weightroom are also inside the IAF. Additionally, the football locker rooms are located in the IAF.

Originally home to the Boilermaker basketball team and the Boilermaker Swimming Team, the fieldhouse now is used solely by the Men's and Women's Track teams for indoor competitions. The pool has been filled in to make way for a training center for the wrestling team.

An indoor training facility used primarily for the football team. It includes a full practice football field, extensive weight room, and offices for the football program. Also housed in Mollenkopf is the Purdue Football Hall of Glory.


Purdue's main rivals are the Indiana University Hoosiers, against whom the Purdue football team plays annually for the Old Oaken Bucket. The Purdue football team also competes against the Fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame for the Shillelagh Trophy and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini for the Purdue Cannon trophy.

Athletic bands

The Purdue All-American Marching Band perform Hail Purdue at the 2008 Purdue-Indiana football game.

Purdue's Band was formed in 1886 and named the 'All-American' Marching Band in 1935. The AAMB has made 90 consecutive appearances as the host band for the Indianapolis 500. The AAMB performs at all home football games where they play the university fight songs, Hail Purdue! being the most famous, and other songs ranging from jazz to rock.

Gold and Black Sound (GABS) is the athletic band for Women's Basketball.

Boiler Brass is the athletic band for Men's Basketball.

Boiler Box Band is the athletic band for the Volleyball team.


Boilermaker Special

The Boilermaker Special has been the official mascot of Purdue since the 1930s. The 'Specials' are Victorian era locomotives. The Boilermaker Special I made its debut on the first day of classes in 1940. Alumni, faculty and students have since then raised funds to replace the Special as it has worn out. The Boilermaker Special V was unveiled in 1993 at the Purdue–Notre Dame game.

Purdue Pete, the official logo of Purdue University's University Bookstore

Purdue Pete

In 1940, the then owners of the University Bookstore, Doc Epple and Red Sammons hired local artist Art Evans to draw a boilermaker to use as an advertising icon for the bookstore. A modernized version is still used in that capacity at University Bookstore. In 1944, the editors of the university's Debris yearbook sought, and obtained, permission from University Bookstore to use Purdue Pete on the cover of the 1944 edition of the Debris yearbook. When asked the name of the boilermaker depicted in the advertising drawing, Epple coined the name "Pete". Since 1956, Purdue Pete has been a regular at Purdue games - usually wearing the head with a football or basketball uniform and portrayed by one of four selected members of the spirit squad. Originally, the head costume was made of chicken wire and papier-mâché, but in later years has been made of fiberglass for better durability during rainy football games and the like.[18] Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in north-east Illinois also uses a mascot similar to Pete called "Bruno the Boilermaker".

The Boilermaker

The Boilermaker is a statue located adjacent to Ross Ade Stadium that was dedicated on Friday, November 4, 2005, as a monument commemorating the "indomitable spirit of the boilermaker".

Radio network affiliates

City Call Sign Frequency
Bedford, Indiana WBIW 1340 AM
Berne, Indiana WZBD-FM 92.7 FM
Boonville, Indiana WBNL 1540 AM
Brazil, Indiana WFNF 1130 AM
Columbus, Indiana WYGB-FM 100.3 FM
Evansville, Indiana WGBF 1280 AM
Fort Wayne, Indiana WKJG 1380 AM
Greencastle, Indiana WREB-FM 94.3 FM
Hammond, Indiana WJOB 1230 AM
Indianapolis, Indiana WNDE 1260 AM
Jasper, Indiana WQKZ-FM 98.5 FM
Kokomo, Indiana WIOU 1350 AM
Lafayette, Indiana WAZY-FM 96.5 FM
Lowell, Indiana WLPR-FM 89.1 FM
Marion, Indiana WMRI 860 AM
Michigan City, Indiana WEFM-FM 95.9 FM
Mount Vernon, Indiana WRCY 1590 AM
Niles, Michigan WTRC-FM 95.3 FM
Petersburg, Indiana WBTO-FM 102.3 FM
Rensselaer, Indiana WRIN 1560 AM
Rensselaer, Indiana WJCK-FM 97.7 FM
Richmond, Indiana WHON 930 AM
Rochester, Indiana WROI-FM 92.1 FM
Sullivan, Indiana WNDI 1550 AM
Sullivan, Indiana WNDI-FM 95.3 FM
Terre Haute, Indiana WIBQ 1300 AM
Vincennes, Indiana WFML-FM 96.7 FM
Winchester, Indiana WZZY-FM 98.3 FM


  1. Purdue Athletics Brand Identity Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  2. "Purdue athletics maintains stance on not paying athletes". Purdue Exponent. Purdue University. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  3. "CSM0810 Search and Report". B2.caspio.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  4. http://www2.itap.purdue.edu/periodicals/Boilermakers.leg.html
  5. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/pur/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/08-mediaguide-section1.pdf
  6. "Purdue Alumni Pro Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  7. http://www.purduesports.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/gene_keady_13388.html
  8. http://www.purduesports.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/matt_painter_238497.html
  9. "Purdue Wrestling Records" (PDF). Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/champs_records_book/Overall.pdf
  11. "NCAA Division I Men's Basketball – NCAA Division I Champions". Rauzulu's Street. 2004. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  12. ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
  13. Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  14. Pudue University Men's Rugby Club, http://rugby.isport.com/rugby-clubs/us/indiana/west-lafayette/purdue-university-mens-rugby-club-635720
  15. "Dr. Lake Paul - Biophysical, Physical Bioinorganic & Bionanotechnology Seminar 09/23/2013?> - Department of Physics - Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana". Physics.purdue.edu. 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  16. Purdue University Women's Rugby, http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~rugbywom/roster.html
  17. "Purdue Men's Club Volleyball". Purduemvb.wix.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  18. "A History of Purdue Pete - Engineering Computer Network - Purdue University". Engineering.purdue.edu. 2003-12-23. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  19. "Radio Network". Purdue Sports. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
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