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Purdue AD Burke leaves mixed legacy, bad feelings in retirement announcement

Morgan Burke has become one of the most bitterly hated men in the Purdue athletic department as of late, so those who haven’t been happy with him for a while will be delighted to know Burke’s end date will be July 1, 2017.

The Purdue athletic director made what rumors speculated true, announcing his retirement publicly on Thursday afternoon.

Here is Burke’s full statement on his retirement:

I want to make you aware of an announcement that President Daniels will be making today.

Last summer, I informed the president that when the calendar flipped to 2016, I would be 18 months shy of my retirement date of June 30, 2017, and at that time Kate and I would head back into the stands. I encouraged him to begin having discussions with the Board of Trustees on a plan for selecting my successor. Today, he will announce that such a process will commence.

There is no way to predict how long the search and selection will take, so it is prudent to begin now.

In the meantime, we will continue executing Plan 2020 – with a focus on improving athletic and academic performance – and working on the Football Master Plan – namely phases 1 and 2 of the facility projects along with fleshing out details of subsequent phases while continuing to seek financial support. In addition, we will dedicate the Pete Dye redesigned Ackerman-Allen Golf Course and will have three major vendor contracts to bid. Finally, we will be updating our rolling 10-year financial plan in 2016-17.

So, while the Board and the president are conducting their business, we will continue our work full steam ahead.

Few people are afforded the opportunity to serve their alma mater in a capacity such as I have for the last 23 years, and I look forward to continue doing so for the next 17 months as we help our student-athletes in their quest to win championships – in the classroom, in competition and in life.

Kate and I thank you for your passion and support.

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue!

For those not in love with what the Purdue athletic program has become, it means just one more school year and athletic season to deal with the man.

However, a 23-year long career at one school obviously means some steps in the right direction as well. Burke was the man who oversaw Purdue’s biggest run of football success since the late 1960’s and saw that team take a share of the Big Ten championship in 2000 — along with Michigan and Northwestern.

That was the height of the Joe Tiller era, but things eventually regressed as the Boilermakers fell severely behind in the facilities race and saw the overall program hamstrung by budgetary concerns. In the end, Tiller left a program with a final season record of 4-8. Tiller left a program with just two losing seasons in his 12 years at the helm of the program.

He retired following the 2008 season and the worst record of his tenure.

Burke then swung and missed on two straight head coach hires following Tiller’s era. It’s led to a program that is stuck with the decision that Burke made and unable to get out of it. Purdue would likely be on coach No. 3 since the Tiller era if it weren’t for bad budget numbers and a lack of capital to make a buyout feasible.

That’s not happening, instead the Boilermakers will end the Burke era with a coach and a team with zero positive momentum. Head coach Darrell Hazell comes in to the 2016 season with a woeful 6-30 overall record and a 2-22 record in Big Ten play. In three years Hazell’s Boilermakers have failed to win more than one B1G game in any year, yet he is still around to coach another day.

Burke’s decisions with the highest of profile position will undoubtedly be the biggest part of his legacy.

Interestingly enough, Burke is now overseeing an upgrade to the facilities in a hope to make the Boilermakers more competitive in the future. That includes a huge upgrade to the football practice facilities and other overall upgrades to the athletic program.

Burke’s final project may end up leaving this program in a position to compete at a much higher level and it would be wholly ironic since most see him as the biggest reason for Purdue’s current sad state of affairs.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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