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Morgan Burke to Retire

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We have a firm date on when the Burke regime will end.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I am going to begin by posting athletic director Morgan Burke's letter verbatim:

I want to make you aware of an announcement that President Daniels will be making today.

Last summer, I informed the president that when the calendar flipped to 2016, I would be 18 months shy of my retirement date of June 30, 2017, and at that time Kate and I would head back into the stands. I encouraged him to begin having discussions with the Board of Trustees on a plan for selecting my successor. Today, he will announce that such a process will commence.

There is no way to predict how long the search and selection will take, so it is prudent to begin now.

In the meantime, we will continue executing Plan 2020 - with a focus on improving athletic and academic performance - and working on the Football Master Plan - namely phases 1 and 2 of the facility projects along with fleshing out details of subsequent phases while continuing to seek financial support. In addition, we will dedicate the Pete Dye redesigned Ackerman-Allen Golf Course and will have three major vendor contracts to bid. Finally, we will be updating our rolling 10-year financial plan in 2016-17.

So, while the Board and the president are conducting their business, we will continue our work full steam ahead.

Few people are afforded the opportunity to serve their alma mater in a capacity such as I have for the last 23 years, and I look forward to continue doing so for the next 17 months as we help our student-athletes in their quest to win championships - in the classroom, in competition and in life.

Kate and I thank you for your passion and support.

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue!

So it is official: Morgan Burke will be retiring at the end of next school year. The wish that many Purdue fans have been dying for (myself included) has been granted. We have just one more season of Burke as athletic director.

It is a mixed bag of emotions, really. On the one hand., Burke has served Purdue for over 23 years. He has made sure virtually every sport has had serious facility upgrades and during his tenure Purdue won two of its three national championships in any sport (1999 women's basketball and 2010 women's golf). There is no question that, from a facilities standpoint, Purdue is far better off than when he left. He also made sure the budget was always balanced and has run the athletic department in the black. he is one of the longest tenured ADs in the nation too.

Many (again, myself included) have directed a lot of anger at the current state of the football program toward him. He swung and missed on two straight hires for the most important coaching position in any athletic department and his ability to balance the budget for the last several years has been greatly aided by Big Ten TV money even as football attendance dipped to dangerously low levels. Also, many feel that the times have passed him by and many of his policies and ideas, while they worked in 1996, won't work in 2016.

Whatever you think of him, Burke has had a positive effect on Purdue and he is still a member of the alumni family, serving as best he can. Here is hoping the right hire is put in place and Burke can enjoy his retirement with Purdue actually winning a few things.

UPDATE: Here is more from the official Purdue release:

Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke announced Thursday (Feb. 11) his intent to retire in July of 2017. Burke, who made his plans known to university leaders more than a year ago, informed alumni Thursday at an annual event in Florida.

Chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees and former Purdue football player Michael Berghoff will lead a national search to find a new director.

"Because of the complexity of the job and Morgan's historic record in Purdue Athletics, finding a successor will be no small task," Berghoff said.

The search committee, appointed by Purdue President Mitch Daniels, includes: Christie Sahley, associate dean in the College of Science and a longtime Faculty Athletic Representative; Stephanie White, 1999 Purdue graduate and current head coach of the Indiana Fever; Rod Woodson, former Boilermaker, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, and the Oakland Raiders' assistant defensive backs coach; Purdue standout and NFL veteran Matt Light; Christa Szalach, a junior on Purdue's soccer team; and Nancy Cross, senior associate athletics director.

Daniels described Burke as a trusted steward of Purdue's Athletics.

"For longer than any athletic director in Purdue history Morgan has contributed to Purdue's reputation as a highly competitive program marked by integrity and fiscal soundness," Daniels said. "Over the last 23 years he has worked to create an environment that fosters both academic and athletic success among our student-athletes. For the first of many times to come, we thank him for his years of service to the university and look forward to working with him over the next year and a half to facilitate a successful transition."

Burke said, "Few people are afforded the opportunity to serve their alma mater in a capacity such as I have for more than two decades, and I look forward to continue doing so as we help our student-athletes in their quest to win championships - in the classroom, in competition and in life."

Burke has led Purdue Athletics since 1993, marking one of the longest tenures in Division I athletics. A 1973 industrial management graduate and captain of the swimming team his senior year, Burke was an avid fan and member of the John Purdue Club long before he was appointed to lead the department. He earned a master's degree in industrial relations in 1975 from Purdue and, in 1980, he graduated with a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Under his leadership at Purdue, 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 1997-2008, and the men's basketball team achieved an unprecedented string of back-to-back-to-back Big Ten Conference regular-season championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996. All told, Burke has overseen 20 regular-season conference championships and 13 tournament titles.

In academics, student-athletes regularly perform equal to or better than the student body, with athletes having earned a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 for the last 14 semesters.

The athletics department is one of only seven Division I public NCAA institutions that does not require a subsidy from students or taxpayers to finance its operations. In fact, even while the department has invested nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in facility construction and renovation projects that have benefited student-athletes in all 18 programs under Burke, it has regularly contributed revenue to support the academic side of the university.

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).

In 2010 Burke was honored as the Football Bowl Subdivision Central Region Under Armour AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

It is a bit hidden in the long quote, but here are the members of the AD search committee:

  • Dr. Christie Sahley: Associate Dean of the College of Science and Faculty Athletic Representative
  • Stephanie White: Head coach of the Indiana Fever, member of 1999 Purdue Women's National Championship team
  • Rod Woodson: former Purdue football player and College & Pro Hall of Famer, Asst. Defensive Backs coach for the Oakland Raiders
  • Matt Light: former Purdue football player and OL member of the New England Patriots
  • Christa Szalach: Current member of Purdue Women's Soccer team (junior, midfielder)
  • Nancy Cross: Senior Associate Athletics Director