Former Purdue Quarterback Retells His Story
Start writing a post

Former Purdue Quarterback Retells His Story

After a successful career as a quarterback for the Boilermakers and then in the NFL, Mark Herrmann retells his story as a Purdue student in the late 1970s.

Former Purdue Quarterback Retells His Story
Indy Star

If you call yourself a Boilermaker, you're familiar with the nickname that our storied football program earned. "The Cradle of Quarterbacks" is a title that's synonymous with Purdue, and one name that has contributed a great deal to that title is Mark Herrmann.

This College Football Hall of Famer took snaps for the Boilers from 1977 to 1980 and became one of Purdue's most successful players of all time while he was here. During his career, he demolished our school's passing records and became the first ever college quarterback to throw for over 8,000 career passing yards, ending his career only a couple passes away from 10,000. Amongst other famous Purdue QB's like Drew Brees and Kyle Orton, Herrmann is one of three quarterbacks in Purdue history to start in three consecutive bowl games. In 1980, he finished fourth in the polls to win the Heisman Trophy and was then selected by the Denver Broncos in the 1981 NFL Draft.

But if we set all of his athletic accolades aside, Mark Herrmann was still a student just like us at one point. After our conversation, it's wonderful to see how far our university has come and that a Boilermaker from decades past still knows and loves the place that we hold dear today.

One thing that current Purdue students share with Boilermakers of the late 70s is the diversity of our campus. Meeting people from all over the country, and even from all over the world, was one of Herrmann's most distinct memories as a Purdue student. For years and years, Purdue's international community has been a quality that still shines through today by representing 125 nations in our student body.

Herrmann also spoke about the struggles of balancing all of his involvements in college. Many of you reading this are likely juggling clubs, sports, chapter involvement, work, a social life, and school on top of it all. So when you're feeling overwhelmed at school, remember that he made it all work without the luxuries of email, smart phones, laptops, and the other advancements that have changed the face of higher education we see today.

I've seen what it's like to be a student here at Purdue but I have no idea what it means to play a sport at the college level, so I wanted to hear about Herrmann's most memorable moment as a quarterback for the Boilers. You're probably not surprised to hear that his big moment happened in a game against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. It was 1979, and Ross-Ade stadium was packed to the brim with a record-breaking crowd of 71,000 spectators. After trailing late in the game, Herrmann lofted a ball up to Bart Burrell, also his favorite receiving target from his high school career, as he ran a fade route into the south end zone, taking the lead 27 to 22. That year, Purdue posted its best-ever finishing record at 10 and 2.

Herrmann was also an active member of Greek life at Purdue as a brother of Sigma Chi, something he said was a major influence for him in college and remains so today. I asked him to describe the differences of being in a fraternity in the late 70s versus today, and I was surprised to hear that, really, not much has changed. Sure, the rules were a little more relaxed but the brotherhood that he sees amongst the current undergrads remains the same as it was more than 30 years ago.

The big difference I took from his description, one that has been pointed out to me by several spirited alumni over the years, was that fraternities of his time "always had kegs for our parties." It's a shame to live in the times we do, a time when fraternity brothers can no longer build a pyramid of empty kegs on the front lawn.

And to wrap up our conversation, I asked him to comment on Purdue football's current state, now that he is a spectator instead of a player. Herrmann told me that we need to bring in more impactful players and develop a swagger on the field. Our team lacks the confidence it needs, he said, and that success will follow in its footsteps. Specifically, we need to create a "more dynamic [and] exciting style of offense."

As someone who has suffered through a rather unexciting career as a college football fan, I think that excitement is what we need, too. We need to land a big-name recruit (or recruits, ideally) and use the snowballing excitement and preparation coming into next season to fuel a more explosive, highlight reel offense. If we can do that, Purdue football will surely be taking the field with a kind of swagger that we haven't seen in a while.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.


While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.


Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.


When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.


I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.


We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.


Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments