Purdue University’s basketball team are called the Purdue Boilermakers. It is one of the best basketball teams that can be found in college basketball, seeing as how it has won the most Big Ten championships over the course of its existence. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Purdue Boilermakers:
1. Boilermakers Came from Wabash College
The Purdue Boilermakers started seeing use because the Purdue football team beat Wabash College’s football team in 1889 and 1891. This led to a Crawfordsville newspaper complaining about their team being crushed by the “Burly Boiler Makers” from Purdue, which might have been connected to how a Purdue education in those times involved a hands-on component.
2. Other Schools Contributed Further Stories
Speaking of which, it should be mentioned that other schools contributed to the name by telling stories about how Purdue had hired laborers from Monon Railroad to play on its football team. The main locomotive shops of Monon Railroad were situated very close to Purdue’s campus, thus explaining some of the popularity of those stories.
3. The Official Mascot Is the Boilermaker Special
Purdue has long since embraced the Boilermaker name. For proof, look no further than the official mascot, which would be the Boilermaker Special. Said locomotive was meant to enable Purdue to live up to its “Boilermaker” name. Moreover, it was supposed to help the school honor its engineering heritage as well.
4. The Less Official Mascot Is Purdue Pete
With that said, it isn’t uncommon for people to believe that Purdue’s official mascot is Purdue Pete, which is understandable because the burly boilermaker is the one that is on-field at Purdue sporting events. Considering that the mascot came into existence in 1940, it should come as no surprise to learn that it has seen some serious changes over time, though the last proposed change in 2011 was not received with enthusiasm by Purdue fans to say the least.
5. Old Gold and Black Were Chosen in 3 Minutes
Supposedly, Purdue picked up its old gold and black color scheme in 1887 when the football team realized that they didn’t have distinctive colors. There was one person who suggested adopting Princeton’s orange and black color scheme, but most people wanted something more unique, thus resulting in the old gold and black. As the story goes, the whole discussion happened relatively fast, taking up no more than a total of three minutes.
6. Played Before Receiving Official Recognition
The basketball team started up in 1896. However, it wasn’t until 1903 that Purdue University offered it official recognition by making it a part of the Purdue University Athletic Association. Something made possible because the school at last realized the popularity of the sport.
7. Had an Undefeated Season in 1902 to 1903
With that said, it seems probable that Purdue University’s decision was helped by the fact that the basketball team went 8-0 in the 1902 to 1903 season. Moreover, it is interesting to note that said season was the head coach C.I. Freeman’s sole season as well.
8. First Game Against YMCA
It is interesting to note that the basketball team’s very first opponent was a YMCA team. To be exact, it was a team from the YMCA in Lafayette, which refers to a city that can be found in Tippercanoe County in the state of Indiana. Technically, Purdue sits in West Lafayette, which can be found on the other side of the Wabash River from Lafayette. However, both Lafayette and West Lafayette have reaped a great deal of benefit from their proximity to the school.
9. Has Seen a Lot of Players Make It Into the NBA
Unsurprisingly, the basketball team has seen a lot of its players make it into the NBA. So far, the count is at more than 30, but the number is bound to increase in the years and years to come.
10. Traditional Rivals with Indiana Hoosiers
Traditionally, Purdue is supposed to be rival with the Indiana Hoosiers representing Indiana University. This is wholly unsurprising because the two schools share a state, thus making them natural rivals in various competitions.