WEST LAFAYETTE — Longtime Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke died on Monday at age 68 after a year-long battle with amyloidois, a rare disease that affects multiple organs.
Burke is survived by his wife, Kate, three children and three grandchildren.
The 1973 graduate of the university took over for George King in 1993 and ran the Boilermakers’ sports program for 23 years before retiring in 2016.
“Morgan was a great friend and colleague to many of us and left an incredible legacy of tireless and selfless devotion to all things Purdue, but most of all our student-athletes, past and present,” said current Purdue AD Mike Bobinski. “He cared deeply about them and their success, and he proudly stood for all the right things in the world of intercollegiate athletics.”
Under Burke, the Boilers won two NCAA championships (1999 women’s basketball and 2010 women’s golf), 14 individual national titles, 20 Big Ten regular season championships and 13 tournament titles.
The football team made 10 bowl games in 12 seasons from 1997-2008, while the men’s basketball team won four conference championships, including an unprecedented three straight from 1994-96 and made 20 NCAA Tournament appearances under his leadership.
“Not many people loved Purdue more than Morgan Burke,” Purdue men’s basketball head coach Matt Painter said. “Morgan’s impact on Purdue athletics was huge. He built a foundation for the modern program and impacted countless coaches, staff and student-athletes. Personally, I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for having the faith and confidence in me to lead our basketball program. To say I’m forever grateful to him for that would be an understatement.”
“I am truly heartbroken today,” said Purdue women’s basketball head coach Sharon Versyp. “Purdue University has lost an icon. His personal approach to leadership ensured that every Boilermaker knew that they were cared for and that they had a voice. He wanted to equip every student-athlete who walked through our doors the tools to go out into the world and be a champion, a leader and a catalyst to make the world a better place and for his entire tenure, he made that mission a reality.”
Burke’s student-athletes performed well in the classroom too. The athletic program’s cumulative grade-point average was above 3.0 for 15 straight semesters before he retired.
He also oversaw major renovations to Ross-Ade Stadium and Mackey Arena and the building of several new facilities, including an aquatic center that was renamed for him in 2017.