We're starting to get into the cream of the list now. There is only one more tie, but it is for the #23 spot and those personalities will each have their own individual profiles. This list, which will leave us with only the top 25 to go, features several athletes and personalities that could easily be in the top 25 with just a little more support. In fact, there are a couple here that I am downright stunned that they didn't make it, even though everyone in the final top 25 has a legitimate case.
There had to be a cutoff somewhere though, and this is it. This segment also includes the only sports personality whose career is not yet over at Purdue, therefore he could rise even farther if I did this list again in a few years. I would bet he would be even higher if a lot of people had not abstained simply because his career isn't over yet.
We'll get to him in a moment, but here is the rest of the list from #39 to #26.
39. Jack Mollenkopf (51 votes) - There are only two coaches that have taken Purdue to the Rose Bowl, and they rank 1-2 on the all-time football wins list. Mollenkopf, who was passed by Joe Tiller in 2008, is the only Purdue coach to win a Rose Bowl, however. He presided over the most successful era of Purdue football. Yes, he only went to one bowl game, but that was because there were only four or five bowl games period at the time and the Big Ten allowed only its champion to play in the postseason. He led Purdue to the 1967 Big Ten title (shared with Indiana and Minnesota, who haven't won since) and a #1 ranking in 1967. I say this was the most successful era of Purdue football because our Boilers dominated Notre Dame, were consistently in the top five, and had three players that very nearly won the Heisman (Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, and Leroy Keyes). From 1964-69 Purdue finished no lower than third in the Big Ten. He compiled an 84-39-9 record and was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame in 1988.
38. Maria Hernandez (53 votes) - Purdue's women's golf team has been incredibly successful over the past few years, and Hernandez is a major reason for that. She won the individual National Championship in 2009 before joining the women's PGA Tour. A native of Spain, she published a blog on LPGA.com about her first professional season. She was also a part of Purdue's National Runner-Up team in 2007.
37. Rosevelt Colvin (56 votes) - Sadly, I missed the greatest Colvin moment at Purdue. My high school stupidly had prom in November instead of spring like everyone else. It happened to be November of 1997, the same day as the Purdue-Michigan State game at Ross-Ade. Because Purdue was trailing by 11 and they hadn't done anything all day, we left early so I could go back to Kokomo and get ready. I missed his blocked FG returned for a TD against the Spartans and the ensuing comeback, anguishing as I heard everything on the radio from Joe McConnell. Colvin later went on to abuse Michael Bishop in the Alamo Bowl the next season tot he point that hte authorities nearly had to step in, before enjoying a 10-year NFL career that gave him two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He was the first of many defensive ends we sent to the NFL, and I remember him for his other famous moment, namely his hit on Ron Powlus that caused a fumble that was picked up by Adrian Beasley and returned for a touchdown in the famous Notre Dame upset of 1997.
36. Dustin Keller (59 votes) - If someone has video of DK getting tackled by just one opposing player at Purdue please let me know. To my knowledge, it always took 2-4 guys to bring DK down. Just ask the Ball State player he dragged for a good 20 yards in 2006. Now enjoying a very successful career for the Jets, DK is the epitome of hard work. He was a lightly recruited townie that only came to Purdue because we offered at the last minute. Five years later he was a first round draft pick in the NFL. His athleticism is showcased in the fact that he is a tight end, but was a state high jump champion as a senior in high school. Opponents were terrified of him, and he already has 119 catches for 1,445 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season. He also had a touchdown catch in each of the Jet's three playoff games following the 2009 season. He led the Jets with 55 catches last season.
35. Dave Schellhase (63 votes) - Schellhase, like Joe Barry Carroll, Rick Mount, E`Twaun Moore, and Troy Lewis, finished his career with more than 2,000 points scored in a Boilermaker uniform. In his senior year, 1966, he was a consensus All-American, Academic All-American, and averaged 32.5 points per game. Now imagine this: Both he and Mount accomplished what they did in just three years because Freshman were ineligible back then. He was selected 10th overall by the Chicago Bulls and enjoyed a three year NBA career. He is currently the dean of students at Logansport High School after coaching at both Moorehead State and Indiana State. When he graduated he was Purdue's all-time leading scorer.
34. Matt Light (73 votes) - Before all is said and done Light could finish his career in Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has three Super bowl rings as Tom Brady's blind side protection and came damn close to a fourth with the Patriots' imperfectly perfect season. He served the same role for Drew Brees on Purdue's last Rose Bowl team, and he has been a fixture for New England since 2001. He is the rare offensive lineman with endorsement deals, and I still think it is cool that the infamous Visa Five Layers of Protection was 40% Boilermaker with Light and Brandon Gorin. He has also appeared in three pro Bowls, 180 games, and won the 2007 Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback, Non-Running Back NFL MVP Award.
33. Robbie Hummel (78 votes) - Rob is the only current Purdue athlete that received votes, and it is my hope that he has an emphatic coda to a career has been a huge "what if" so far. Let's face it: We all love Rob and we would give anything (including our own ACLs) if he could have been healthy these last two seasons. It is cruel fate that the Demon Wood of Lost Souls at the Barn crumpled his ACL and possibly cost us a National Championship (or two?) Of the Baby Boilers, Rob was the heart and soul that performed above lofty expectations from day one. If anyone deserves a glorious finish to his career, it is Robbie Hummel. I am hoping that at this time next year we are talking about him as the Big Ten Player of the Year and All-American he deserves to be after leading Purdue to New Orleans and the Final Four.
32. Chris Kramer (79 votes) - When the time machine to save Robbie's ACL is perfected it will also allow us to go back and give the Secretary of Defense a shot at the Final Four. I tried not to think about it, but we really missed CK3's leadership this year. Just remember the Minnesota game where Rob went down. Kramer took it upon himself to guard Colton Iverson despite a nine inch height difference and he willed us to a victory that later proved crucial in our Big Ten title. We have dozens of Kramer Moments that will live on through the lore of Purdue basketball. Kramer is still pursuing his dream, having just finished a successful season with the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League.
31. Matt Painter (85 votes) - This is yet another personality that will hopefully be higher the next time we vote on this list. Painter has the potential to go down as Purdue's greatest basketball coach. I am on record as saying that he will lead Purdue to a Final Four at least once within the next 10 years. Despite a very unexpected scare of him going to Missouri he has almost the entire fanbase fully behind him and satisfied with his work. It has only been bad luck and injuries that have prevented said Final Four from already happening. He has taken Purdue to the NCAA Tournament in all but one season since he started coaching here, and he has yet to lose a first round NCAA Tournament game.
30. Taylor Stubblefield (95 votes) - No one has more receptions at the Division-I level (partially because Brandon Hance never realized we had other receivers in his brief stint at quarterback) than Taylor Stubblefield. We all remember his 97-yard touchdown catch at Notre Dame where he fist pumped while running down the sidelines as the ND coaching staff whine about an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as if it would stop their epic beatdown. He finished with 325 receptions, better than 3,600 yards receiving, and 21 touchdowns. He is currently serving as wide receivers coach at Central Michigan, making me wonder why in the hell we haven't hired him yet.
29. Brad Miller (103 votes) - The second of three Boilermakers that is currently active in the NBA, Miller has turned a lone 10-day contract into a career that has had multiple all-star selections and several million dollars. The 7-footer ahs played for the Hornets, Bulls, Pacers, Kings, and currently the Rockets. He has been selected to the NBA All-Star team twice and was one of the first undrafted players ever to be named to the All-Star team. In his final regular season at game he went for 30 and 12, making Michigan State ad a "co-" to the Big Ten champions banner they had raised before the game.
28. Mike Phipps (110 votes) - One of the players that I am stunned that he wasn't in the top 25, Phipps upset defending National Champ Notre Dame in his first career start. He had Purdue ranked #1 in 1968, but an ankle injury forced him out of two games and that probably cost him the Heisman. He was runner up to Steve Owens for the Trophy in 1969, leaving Purdue as one of the most successful members of the Cradle of Quarterbacks. He was picked 3rd overall in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Browns and played 12 seasons for the Browns and Bears, amassing over 10,000 yards passing.
27. Cuonzo Martin (111 votes) - Martin is the current coach at Tennessee, but we remember him as the sharpshooting guard that helped lead Purdue to three consecutive Big Ten championships in the mid-90's. He played in more consecutive games at Purdue than anyone else, appearing in 127 straight. His career accuracy of .451 from 3-point land is an incredible mark that will likely stand for quite awhile. After Purdue, he bounced around with the Hawks, Bucks, and Grizzlies in the NBA before getting into coaching. He won Missouri State's first regular season Missouri Valley Conference title this season before taking the job as the Volunteers head coach. He is already 61-41 after three years as a head coach.
26. Ryan Kerrigan (118 votes) - We're about a week away from some lucky NFL team choosing Superman in the first round of this year's NFL Draft. Kerrigan leaves Purdue as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and our first unanimous All-American in over 30 years. He also is tied for the NCAA record in forced fumbles and Terrelle Pryor cannot go to the bathroom without Kerrigan's permission. Although the entire defensive line played fantastic in the unforgettable upset of the Buckeyes in 2009, Kerrigan did everything short of sell Pryor's memorabilia for him and take a 20% cut of it. This year in a driving rainstorm he had as many sacks as Michigan's offense had given up on the season to that point. Is he the best defensive end Purdue has ever seen? Quite possibly. It is amazing that he did everything he did last season despite being double teamed and held on nearly every play. If you played single coverage on him you basically said, "Please, Ryan. Sack our quarterback." His sack of Tate Forcier on a two-point conversion attempt sealed Purdue's first win in Michigan Stadium in 43 years.