Purdue Pete, the costumed personification of a Boilermaker,
is the official athletic mascot of Purdue and represents the
University at games and pep rallies.
Rowdy was introduced to the Purdue family at the first home
football game of 1997. Standing nearly 10 feet tall, Rowdy
resembles a young boy who hopes to become a Purdue Boilermaker
one day. Like Purdue Pete, Rowdy appears at home athletic
History of the Big Ten
In 1895, Purdue University President James Smart called meetings
of presidents of seven major universities in the Midwest to
consider regulations and control of athletics. In 1896, the
Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives was
organized. The original members were Purdue University, Northwestern
University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois,
University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin. The
organization today includes Purdue University, Michigan State
University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University,
Pennsylvania State University, University of Illinois, University
of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota,
University of Wisconsin, and Indiana University. Although
there are eleven schools, this organization is traditionally
referred to as “The Big Ten.”
Purdue Athletic Quick Facts
NCAA Division I, Big Ten Conference
Colors: Old Gold and Black
Mascot: Boilermaker Special
In 1922, David Ross and George Ade purchased a 65-acre tract
adjoining the campus to be used for recreational purposes.
This area includes our present stadium, fieldhouse, and practice
field. Construction began in 1924 and the stadium was dedicated
on November 22, 1924. It originally had a capacity of 32,000
fans, but due to several additions and renovations the current
capacity is 62,500.
Construction of Mackey Arena began in 1965. The building was
dedicated on December 2, 1967 during the Purdue-UCLA game.
The arena is used for Purdue basketball games, where capacity
crowds of 14,123 are the rule. Mackey houses locker rooms,
training rooms, and the offices for athletic administration
and coaching staffs. There are six main gates that service
eighteen sections in the arena. It is named for the late Purdue
Director of Athletics, Guy “Red” Mackey, who served
in that capacity for 29 years. The floor is named
“Keady Court” in honor of Purdue’s winningest
basketball coach. Boilermaker Aquatics Center
The Boilermaker Aquatics Center opened in 2001. It features
an eight lane 50 meter, 800,000 gallon swimming pool and a
17 feet deep, 500,000 gallon diving tank with 1, 3, 5, 7.5,
and 10 meter diving platforms. The diving pool has sparger
units that create bubbles to make a “softer” landing
for divers during practice. A 12 person spa allows divers
to warm up before and during competition.
The Old Oaken Bucket is a trophy awarded to the victor of
the Purdue-Indiana football game. At the end of each year’s
annual tangle, the winning team carries off the bucket and
another bronze initial link is added to the chain dangling
from the handle. The bucket appeared in 1925, when the alumni
of both schools decided that there should be some tangible
relic of the rivalry between the two schools. A shiny new
pail was obtained from a Chicago mail order house and traded
for a moss-covered one hanging in a well on the old Brunes
farm between Kent and Hanover, Indiana. It was carefully repaired
to prevent further damage and taken to Bloomington for the
1925 football game.
The Cannon was conceived by Purdue students in 1905 but was
first presented as a trophy by an Illinois alumnus in 1943.
It all started when a group of Purdue students took the weapon
to Champaign in anticipation of firing it to celebrate a Boiler
victory. Although Purdue did win the game, Illinois supporters,
including Quincy Hall, had discovered the Cannon in its hiding
place, a culvert near the old Illinois field, and confiscated
it before the Purdue students could start their “booming”
celebration. Later, Hall moved the Cannon to his farmhouse
near Milford, Illinois, where it survived a fire and gathered
dust until Hall suggested it be used as a trophy in the football
series between the two schools when the rivalry was resumed
in 1943 after a twelve- year lapse.
The newest of three trophies at stake during each football
season is the Shillelagh, which goes to the winner of the
Purdue-Notre Dame football game. The Shillelagh was donated
in 1957 by an Irish fan who brought the club back from Ireland.
Following each game, a miniature football with the winner’s
initials and the final score is added to the stand on which
the Shillelagh rests.
Barn Burner Trophy
Beginning with the 1993-94 season, the Purdue and Indiana
women’s basketball teams have played an annual game
for the Barn Burner Trophy. The traveling trophy is a wood
plaque with a drawing of a barn and an attached basketball
hoop, which best describes basketball in Indiana.
The Monon Spike, a traveling trophy that originated in the
fall of 1975, symbolizes the volleyball rivalry between Purdue
and Indiana. The Spike was taken from a portion of Monon Railroad
track in Lafayette. A bronze “I” or “P”
is added to the chain to signify the winner of the second
match. The trophy is a gift from the senior volleyball class
In 1877 a bell, used as a rising alarm and a class bell, was
purchased and located on top of the power plant. When a new
heating plant replaced the old one in 1903, the bell was placed
in the locomotive museum. In 1905 Purdue beat IU at football
27-0, and this news was so exciting that students dragged
the bell to the courthouse steps to highlight their celebration.
President Stone’s patience wore thin, and the bell was
hidden until the Class of 1907 found it and made plans for
a permanent structure to house it. It is now located between
the stadium and Cary North and should be rung after every
Purdue conference game victory; however, the Victory Bell
(now the responsibility of the Gimlet Club) is rung every
time the football team scores during a home game.