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HISTORY OF PURDUE CALUMET ATHLETICS
Purdue University Calumet athletics was founded in 1953, when Bob Hayes’ bulletin board “call out” attracted the first Purdue Extension men’s basketball squad. The team would go on to compile a 13-7 record and jumpstart an interesting, if not eventful, athletic presence at Purdue Calumet.
Since the 1950s, Purdue Calumet has fielded intercollegiate varsity teams at various times in men’s basketball, soccer, baseball and golf. Debuting in the mid-70s, the women’s program has included teams in volleyball, softball, tennis and basketball.
Purdue Calumet athletics started playing intercollegiate varsity basketball games in a Hammond junior high school and went on to identify “home court” at various local high schools, the Hammond Civic Center, National Guard Armory before moving to the Fitness and Recreation Center on campus in 1981.
Over the years, Purdue Calumet athletics has transitioned up and down various paths. As a two-year campus until the mid-1960s, Purdue Calumet competed primarily against junior colleges and industrial teams. After gaining status as a four-year, baccalaureate degree-granting university in 1965, Purdue Calumet joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In 2008, former Purdue Calumet Athletic Director Bob Bunnell introduced the university’s athletic expansion plan, which called for the PUC athletic program to grow from two intercollegiate sports (men’s and women’s basketball) to 12 by the 2013-14 academic year. The growth plan was based on the university’s planned application for induction into the NCAA.
Under the direction of Director of Athletics Rick Costello, Purdue Calumet has reached that goal and will compete in 12 sports in 2013-14; baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis as well as women’s volleyball.
A ground-breaking agreement with the City of Hammond was announced in March 2011 to develop Dowling Park (located just north of I80-94 on Kennedy Avenue) into a comprehensive outdoor sports complex for both Peregrine Athletics and the City of Hammond’s Parks and Recreation Department. The new athletic facility will house the playing fields for the Black and Gold’s baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s tennis teams.
|THE FATHER OF PURDUE CALUMET ATHLETICS
Considered affectionately as the father of Purdue Calumet athletics, Bob Hayes enjoyed a 37-year career on the Hammond campus as a coach, athletic director, intramural program coordinator, physical education instructor, statistician and all-around good guy until his retirement in 1990. The long-time administrator also served as a member of the NAIA District 21 Executive committee.
He organized, coached and directed men’s basketball and baseball teams during the 1950s and ‘60s, frequently dipping into his own wallet to stretch a modest budget. When the baseball team of Purdue’s Big Ten campus at West Lafayette exhausted its supply of wooden bats before season’s end, Hayes was affectionately known to have come to the rescue by dipping into Purdue Calumet’s stock.
BOILERMAKERS, PIPERS, LAKERS & PEREGRINES
The athletic program was introduced as the Boilermakers in the 1950’s, before changing to the designation of Pipers in 1966. The name Pipers is symbolic of a ceremonial pipe, also called a Calumet, smoked as a peace token by native North Americans.
The 1981 return of men’s basketball to a new, campus-based playing venue at a university near the banks of Lake Michigan triggered the nickname change to Lakers. In 2004, Lakers gave way to Peregrines, as Purdue Calumet is believed to be the only university nationally to have adopted the swift flying Peregrine falcon as its athletic mascot.
Lonnie Chase, a Vietnam War veteran, was the star of those high-scoring teams, pouring in over 2,000 career points and earning NAIA First Team All-District honors in 1969-70. He teamed with fellow Purdue Calumet standouts Dennis Musgrave and David Witherspoon on the the 1968-69 team that averaged 98.5 points per game.
Due to funding issues, the men’s basketball program was limited to a club team in 1975. However, the program was reintroduced in 1981, following the construction of the Fitness and Recreation Center on campus and the hiring of Larry Liddle, a legendary Indiana high school coach.
Liddle, with the help of NAIA Honorable Mention All-America selection Ed Blackmon, guided the 1981-82 team to an 18-8 overall record in its return to varsity competition. Under Liddle, Purdue Calumet went on to earn an NAIA district playoff berth in six of his first seven seasons, including a trip to the district title game in 1985-86.
Purdue Calumet also claimed at least a share of Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference championships in 1986-87, 1994-95 and 1997-98. Prior to his retirement in 2000, Liddle won 281 games and coached five NAIA All-America honorees; Blackmon, Matt Blower, Tony Garvey, Dan Penn and Tony Vermejan.
Former Purdue Calumet women’s basketball coach Gary Hayes took over the men’s program during the 2000-01. Hayes went on to win 73 games in just over four seasons in Hammond, coaching seven All-CCAC performers and two All-Americans.
Dan Voudrie took over the program in 2008-09, after brief stints by Mike James and Grayling Gordon, and began reconstructing the program immediately. The Peregrines enjoyed their best season in nearly a decade under Voudrie, tallying an 18-14 overall record in 2012-13.
The 1981-82 squad claimed the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division III state basketball title with a 19-5 overall record, while garnering a runner-up finish in 1982-83. Platt would wrap up his career with a 74-45 mark during his five-year tenure at Purdue Calumet. Stacey Karpenic (Zurek) took over the reins of the program in 1985-86, winning 66 games in her first four seasons at the school.
That era saw also the emergence of arguably the top athlete in school history, Lee Ann DeYoung. The Hammond native compiled over 2,500 career points, earning three NAIA All-America honors and becoming the first Purdue Calumet student-athlete to have their jersey retired. DeYoung was not the only star in the 1980’s though, as All-Americans Lynn Hevezi and Vernell Jackson also starred on the hardwood.
Hayes returned the program to prominence in the 1990’s after becoming head coach during the 1993-94 season. The defensive savvy coach led the Lakers to a school-record 27 wins and the school’s first NAIA National Tournament appearance in 1995-96. He accrued a whopping 92 wins over a four-year period behind the play of NAIA All-America selection Rita Harper and CCAC Player of the Year Michelle Russell.
Former Purdue Calumet assistant Dennis Smith took over the program after Hayes became the men’s coach in 2000-01, winning 79 games including a share of the CCAC crown in 2003-04 in his seven seasons at the helm.
Tom Megyesi, a legendary coach at Lake Central, was hired in 2007-08 to lead the program and immediately implanted a high-scoring offense. Megyesi’s teams improved in each of his first five seasons, while ranking among the NAIA leaders in scoring offense in each season. The Peregrines have won 20 games in back-to-back seasons and earned the program’s first national tournament berth in nearly two decades during the 2012-13 season.
MEN’S & WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Goalkeepers Danny Dragic and Rod Weingart headlined Purdue Calumet’s teams in the early years, as Dragic earned an invitation to try out for the U.S. Olympic team and Weingart was drafted by the Indiana Tigers of the American Soccer Association.
Men’s soccer took off during the 14-year career of head coach Frank Carroll. Before retiring in 1983, Carroll had led several teams to NAIA District 21 playoff berths, including the 1982 squad that compiled a 15-2 record and advanced to the NAIA District 21 title match.
Jim Green, Oscar Gomez and Don Steriovsky each spent stints as head coaches for the program, before it was cut due to budget concerns in the late 1990’s.
James Drzewiecki, a Purdue Calumet alum and former MCCAA Coach of the Year, was hired to lead the program in 2012, after it was reintroduced as part of the athletic expansion plan’s third installment.
Karpenic won a school-record 36 matches in her first season, guiding the team to NAIA District 21 playoffs. She tallied 200 wins in her 10 seasons at the helm, while coaching Purdue Calumet’s only NAIA All-America selection in volleyball, Jaime Muskin. Karen Arehart and Sallee Malinich also served as head coaches of Purdue Calumet volleyball during the 1990’s.
The program was discontinued for financial reasons in the late 1990s, but was brought back in 2010 with former Purdue Calumet star Natalie Shadowen as head coach.
|A 1970's Purdue Calumet baseball player in action||Purdue Calumet scoring legend Lonnie Chase||Multiple NAIA All-American Lee Ann DeYoung|
|1995-96 Women's Basketball Team - NAIA Tournament Qualifier||1982 Men's Soccer Team - NAIA District 21 Runner-Up|