Football alumni pledge $12.1 million to performance complex; Board of Trustees approves new everyday home of the Boilermakers

December 19, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Five Purdue football alumni and their families have pledged $12.1 million toward the construction of a new football performance complex, which was approved Saturday (Dec. 19) by the Board of Trustees as part of “Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University.”

Drew and Brittany Brees, Sandy Dauch (on behalf of her late husband, Dick), Doug and Maria DeVos, Bob and Amy Martin, and Tom and Joy Spurgeon have taken lead roles in support of the project.

“Intercollegiate athletics, and football specifically, are a vital part of the fabric of our university, and this new facility will enable our current and future student-athletes to train more effectively and more efficiently,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “I thank these five families for their longtime support of Boilermaker football and of course for this latest round of generous support.”

Morgan Burke, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics, said the project approval and early funding are defining moments.

“Not only did we get a tremendous commitment to our football program by President Daniels and the Board of Trustees, but we have had five of our own step up with extremely generous gifts,” Burke said. “Building a new facility like this one, which we have identified as critical to the growth of our football program, calls for the support of donors like these, and I sincerely thank them for taking lead roles.”

Dick Dauch, who passed away in 2013, played fullback and linebacker for the Boilermakers from 1961 to 1963 while earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial management and science. He enjoyed a nearly 50-year career in the automotive industry, capped by co-founding American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. and serving as its chief executive officer from 1994 to 2012. Dick and Sandy have been generous contributors to Purdue, including the athletics department, for more than 30 years. The Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center is named in their honor.

Doug DeVos is a former Boilermaker quarterback who earned his bachelor’s degree in management in 1986. He is president of Amway Corp. He also is involved in numerous business and civic organizations and is a member of the Global Strategic Advisory Council for Purdue’s School of Management.

Bob Martin, who played offensive tackle for the Boilermakers from 1988 to 1991, is president and chief executive office of Thor Industries Inc., one of the world’s largest recreational vehicle manufacturers, located in Elkhart, Indiana. A 21-year industry executive, Martin has been with Thor since 2001 after previously serving in various positions with Keystone RV Co. and Coachmen Industries Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1993 and has been a John Purdue Club member since 1999.

Tom Spurgeon, the Boilermaker football senior manager in 1959 who earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial management in 1961, formerly served as chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees. He has built companies throughout the United States and most recently served as president and CEO of Lincoln Office in Peoria, Illinois, one of the country’s largest distributors of Steelcase furniture. Purdue and the athletics department have benefited from Spurgeon’s generosity previously, as he provided lead gifts for several projects, including the Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex; the Mackey Complex, which houses the Spurgeon Club; the Spurgeon Hall of Spirit in the Dauch Alumni Center; and Hanley Hall.

Drew and Brittany Brees, who previously provided a lead gift for the Mackey Complex Project to renovate the student-athlete academic support area that now bears their names, were the first to support the football campaign in June.

Drew, currently the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, played for the Boilermakers from 1997 to 2000 and still owns Big Ten career records for passing attempts (1,678), completions (1,026), passing yards (11,792), passing touchdowns (90) and total offense (12,692). An industrial management major, he was named the Academic All-American of the Year and received the inaugural Socrates Award, recognizing the nation’s finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service, as a senior.

Brittany also attended Purdue, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision in 2000. In addition to raising their four young children, she runs the Brees Dream Foundation full time in its mission to provide education and create opportunities for children and families in need, especially those suffering from the debilitating effects of cancer. The Brees Dream Foundation has contributed more than $22 million since its inception in 2003.

The football performance complex will be built adjacent to the north end of the Mollenkopf Athletic Center. The three-level structure will become the everyday home of the football program – totaling 110,000 square feet – and will include a locker room, team meeting room, position group meeting rooms, player development room, sports performance training area, sports medicine facility, fueling station and coaches’ offices, as well as a grand entrance lobby that will highlight the Boilermakers’ history and tradition.

The state-of-the-art football performance complex will significantly enhance the football student-athlete experience. In addition to the first-class amenities, having all of them located in one facility will result in more efficient use of the student-athletes’ time. Currently, football-related facilities are housed in multiple buildings.

“One of the points of the Football Master Plan that we announced last December dealt with facilities,” Burke said. “Our assessment led us to the decision that our immediate focus should be on enhancements that directly affect current and future student-athletes and will have a positive effect on their performance. This new complex will create a centralized location to improve efficiency and simultaneously address the space needs of the football program.”

The Football Master Plan consists of six points: coaching and support staff, player development, academic support, recruiting, fan engagement, and contemporary facilities.

Construction on the football performance complex is slated to begin in May 2016 and conclude in August 2017.

Until design development documents are finalized and the project is bid, the exact cost will not be known. Planning efforts to date, led by Populous, Hunt Construction Group and Purdue Athletics staff, indicate it will be in the $65 million range.

No student fees or state support will be used for the project. It will be privately funded by donors, with future media rights distributions targeted to help with the annual debt service. Purdue Athletics is a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise.

Focusing on three overarching priorities – “Place Students First,” “Build on Our Strengths,” and “Champion Research and Innovation” – Purdue’s “Ever True” campaign was announced in October, with a goal of $2.019 billion raised by 2019, the 150th anniversary year of Purdue’s founding and the 50th anniversary year of alumnus Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. The overall goal includes $400 million to $500 million for student support, $400 million to $500 million for faculty support, $400 million to $500 million for research excellence, $300 million to $400 million for physical infrastructure, and $300 million to $400 million for unrestricted giving. 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Morgan Burke, mjb@purdue.edu 

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