After graduating from high school in 1928, he attended Purdue University and was coached by Ward “Piggy” Lambert. The 1932 Purdue team on which he played as a senior was retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the Premo-Poretta Power Poll. John Wooden was named All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern (1930 – 1932) while at Purdue, and he was the first player ever to be named a three-time consensus All-American. He was also selected for membership in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Wooden is also an honorary member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. Wooden was nicknamed “The Indiana Rubber Man” for his suicidal dives on the hardcourt. He graduated from Purdue in 1932 with a degree in English.
The 1999 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament began on March 12, 1999, and concluded on March 28, 1999, when Purdue won its first national championship in any women’s sport. The Final Four was held at the San Jose Arena in San Jose, California, on March 26–28, 1999. Purdue defeated Duke 62-45 in Carolyn Peck’s final game as head coach for the Boilermakers. She had previously announced her intention of leaving Purdue after two seasons to coach the expansion WNBA Orlando Miracle.
The two finalists had recent “off the court” history. Duke’s coach, Gail Goestenkors, was a former assistant coach at Purdue under Lin Dunn until becoming the Blue Devils’ head coach in 1992. Dunn’s firing from Purdue in 1996 and the subsequent player defections resulted in the unusual scenario that two Blue Devil players in the championship game had formerly transferred from Purdue. Purdue’s Ukari Figgs was named Most Outstanding Player.
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.
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.”
College Sports Established
West Lafayette, Indiana
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1907 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1896 – Present / Big 10 Conference
Boilermakers – In 1889, the Purdue football team played Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and won the game 18-4. Students from the college and citizens of Crawfordsville began calling the Purdue players “a great big burly gang of corn-huskers”, “grangers”, “pumpkin-shuckers”, “railsplitters”, “blacksmiths,” “cornfield sailors”, and “foundry hands”. The Purdue students experienced hands-on education at the university, including the maintenance of a fully operational steam locomotive.
Purdue defeated Wabash College again in 1891, 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”. Purdue became known as the Boilermakers the next year.
Men’s Basketball 0
Women’s Basketball 1