I figure we have bashed Morgan Burke enough here. We can get into the bad part of his legacy later, but let's talk about the good times. Burke has been here since 1993 and has led Purdue through several of them. Let's look at the highlights:
1994 Women's Final Four
Right off the bat Burke's tenure got off to a good start. The women's team led by Lin Dunn in 1994 earned its first ever berth in the Final Four by rolling through the West Region as a no. 1 seed. Seriously. Look at the scores:
No. 16 Radford 103-56
No. 8 Washington 86-59
No. 13 Texas A&M 82-56
No. 2 Stanford 82-65
That's how you win a region! There wasn't a happy ending despite Purdue being the only No. 1 seed in the Final Four. Eventual national champ North Carolina beat Purdue 89-74, but this was the season that put Purdue women's basketball on the map.
The 1994-96 "3-Pete"
Very early on in Burke's tenure Purdue basketball was the king of the Big Ten. For only the second time in the now 111 year history of the Big Ten a team won three consecutive outright conference championships. Ohio State from 1960-62 was the only other team to do it. There are a handful of other times were teams have won three or four in a row, but in those at least one of the titles was shared. Since Minnesota vacated their outright title in 1997 maybe we can just go claim it.
Women's Basketball Wins 1999 NCAA Title
This was a very big deal at the time. Purdue started the season by upsetting No. 1 ranked and 3-time defending NCAA champion Tennessee at home. A 1 point loss at Stanford followed, but from there the ladies would not lose again. They rolled through the NCAA Tournament to take the school's second National Championship in any sport.
No. 16 Oral Roberts 68-48
No. 9 Kansas 55-41
No. 4 North Carolina 82-59
No. 3 Rutgers 75-62
No. 1 Louisiana Tech 77-63
No. 3 Duke 62-45
Ukari Figgs, Stephanie White, and Katie Douglas were all named to the all-tournament team.
Purdue Football Wins 2000 Big Ten Championship
In retrospect, we were one of the weaker Rose Bowl teams of the last 25 years, but even a three-way tie at 6-2 for the Big Ten title with Northwestern and Michigan is the high water mark for the football program. It was the first time in 34 year Purdue had won a Big Ten championship, and it is hard to believe we are 15 years into another 34 year drought. Conveniently, in 2034 we could have another Brees at quarterback.
Women's Basketball Finishes as 2001 National Runner-Up
Purdue was not as dominant during the regular season as it was during its first two Final Four appearances. It won the Big Ten, but Iowa took the Big Ten Tournament to end Purdue's three-year run as champions of that event. Purdue was awarded a three seed in the Mideast region, but earned its way to St. Louis.
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara 75-62
No. 6 LSU 73-70
No. 2 Texas Tech 74-72
No. 4 Xavier 88-78
Many viewed the UConn-Notre Dame semifinal as the real national championship, and Purdue-Missouri State as the runner-up game. The Boilers beat the Bears 81-64 and took Notre Dame to the final possession before falling 68-66. Purdue was basically a defensive stop and a missed basket as time expired from two National Championships in three years. Katie Douglas, Shalicia Hurns, and Shereka Wright were named to the all-Tournament team.
Purdue Football Goes 9-4 in 2003
To me, this will always be Joe Tiller's most complete team. The 2000 team had Brees, but he was a singular talent, whereas this team produced a ton of NFL draft picks and legitimately could have gone 12-1. A 1-point loss in the opener to Bowling Green and overtime losses at Ohio State and in the Capitol One Bowl to Georgia gave Purdue a ton of national respect. Along the way Purdue won games at Wake Forest, at Wisconsin, and at home against Iowa over ranked teams. Three of the four losses were by 11 points total.
Purdue Football reaches No. 5 nationally, hosts College GameDay
October 16, 2004 will always be the turning point for Purdue football, if not Burke's entire tenure as athletic director. Purdue was the center of the college football universe at 5-0 after three straight road wins over Illinois, Notre Dame, and Penn State. The last two mark the only road victories over those opponents in the last 40+ years to date. Kyle Orton was a Heisman favorite and Purdue was being talked about for a football national championship.
I am just going to stop right there. You know the rest.
Men's Basketball Wins 2010 Big Ten Championship
It was a shared title with Michigan State and Ohio State, but Purdue's rebuilding under Matt Painter and the Baby Boilers culminated in its 23rd Big Ten championship and first in 14 years. Purdue spent most of this season in the top 10 nationally and was as high as 3 on several occasions.
I am just going to stop right there. You know the rest.
Women's Golf wins 2010 National Championship
We must recognize the women's golf team. They have been nationally relevant with multiple NCAA runner-up finishes and the 2009 individual National Championship by Maria Hernandez, but in 2010 they defied tradition by becoming the first "Northern" school to win the team National Championship. They would finish runner-up by 4 strokes to UCLA a year later and were runner-up in 2007 as well.
Burke Builds a Diving Powerhouse
Although he technically was no longer a Purdue athlete at the time, David Boudia was a 6-time NCAA diving champion and would have had even more had he not taken the 2012 NCAA off to go pro and train for the Olympics. He only won a gold medal there, so no big deal. Special credit needs to also be given to Burke here because Boudia is not the only representative of the diving powerhouse that is Purdue. Casey Matthews won a national title in 2013 and Steele Johnson has already won two NCAA diving championships in his first two years. He is currently practicing to win gold in Rio this summer, then he will return in the 2017 diving season as an NCAA athlete with sophomore eligibility as he attempts to tie or break Boudia's records.
Oh, and Boudia is also going for gold again this summer, too.
Baseball wins 2012 Big Ten title and hosts NCAA Regional
The 2012 season was a special won as Purdue won a school record 45 games, won the Big Ten for the first time in 103 years, and hosted an NCAA regional as one of the best 16 teams in America. Not bad for a northern school with only one previous NCAA appearance in 1987.
Burke's lasting legacy will be the facilities, culminating in the new football performance facility and possible Ross-Ade renovations as his final opus. In 23 years he has guided a massive renovation of Ross-Ade Stadium and Mackey Arena, built a world-class aquatics facility, added gorgeous new facilities at the Northwest complex for tennis, baseball, softball, and soccer, and helped create one of the best collegiate golf courses in America.