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Gold and Black @ 30: Year 22--2011-12

Related links: Year 1: 1990-91 | Year 2: 1991-92 | Year 3: 1992-93 | Year 4: 1993-94 | Year 5: 1994-95 | Year 6: 1995-96 | Year 7: 1996-97 | Year 8: 1997-98 | Year 9: 1998-99 | Year 10: 1999-00 | Year 11: 2000-01 | Year 12: 2001-02 | Year 13: 2002-03 | Year 14: 2003-04 | Year 15: 2004-05 | Year 16: 2005-06 | Year 17: 2006-07 | Year 18: 2007-08 | Year 19: 2008-09 | Year 20: 2009-10 | Year 21: 2010-11

Gold and Black Illustrated is celebrating 30 years of publishing. Over the next few weeks, we will look at each publishing year, recalling the moments that took place in that particular year.

Note: Captions describing each cover are not available on mobile platforms.

My memories of 2011-12

Through the lens of nine years later, there was little that stood out as I looked back at the 2011 football season. Coach Danny Hope's program would have its moments, with the problem being that some of those moments were good, and some, well ... not so good.

Purdue's November win over a Luke Fickell-coached Ohio State team was good, but not shocking. It was exciting for Purdue fans to win in overtime, but the Buckeyes were the most challenged OSU team to set foot in Ross-Ade Stadium in decades. Yes, the victory over OSU helped Hope and Co., achieve a postseason trip to Detroit. And when it got to the Motor City Bowl, Purdue survived an upstart Western Michigan team.

But in the end, there was little momentum with the program. I do recall being on my bike (yes, my bike) on an unusually warm Friday afternoon just two days before Christmas when Purdue extended Hope's contract for another year. I remember thinking that this was likely postponing the inevitable for Hope. I was right, as he was dismissed a year later. It seemed to me to be a strange time to announce a contract extension, almost as if Purdue was trying to draw as little attention to it as possible.

I also remember what a season Purdue volleyball had in 2011. Coach Dave Shondell and I have had a running conversation over the years about the lack of relative attention Gold and Black has paid his program over the years, and it is always hard to argue that point.

The 2011 season was a spectacular one for Shondell and Co. His team finished 29-5 and notched a Sweet 16 NCAA appearance. It was ranked No.10 in the final poll, just two slots below the best in school annals (Purdue was ranked No. 8 in 1982 and 2013).

This type of season was nothing new for the program. The year before, Shondell's team upset No. 1 Florida in the NCAA's Sweet 16 and came close to beating Texas for a trip to the Final Four.

The point being, Shondell's program has been a staple of strength for Purdue athletics throughout his tenure. Has Gold and Black done the program justice? Probably not.

Yet, I have learned from and always appreciated Shondell's approach. He reminds me of dealing with my dad in some ways, never afraid of calling it like he saw it. Shondell also possesses a keen perspective of the world of big-time college athletics. In my view, he would be as good a college athletic administrator as he is a coach.

My favorite cover and what is relevant today from 2011-12

Sporting a "5 O'Clock Shadow," Rob Hummel was all business heading into his fifth and final season.
Sporting a "5 O'Clock Shadow," Rob Hummel was all business heading into his fifth and final season.

OK, I will admit I have had some favorites over the years: favorite cover images and favorite players.

And the above cover is one in the same.

Hummel was a great player, yes, but even better as a person. I was able to get to know his parents a little bit during Rob's tenure, and it was easy to see how their son developed into the kind of person he was then, and still is today.

I liked this cover because it was a portrait of Hummel. We hadn't done enough portrait covers in my tenure as publisher, and I thought this was exceptional. It spoke to the essence of Hummel, as he and his team entered the 2011-12 season.

The fact that he was able to come back and play his fifth year and lead Purdue to the NCAA Tournament was important. He put the team on his back late in the season. It was the first time I can recall a Purdue sports personality trending on Twitter, as Hummel did with his first-half performance in the Round of 32 contest against Kansas.

The good thing for Purdue is Hummel's impact on the basketball world and his association with his alma mater are still feathers in the school's cap. And if we can ever get the pandemic behind us, a trip to the 2021 Olympics is possible for Hummel. That will only add to his legend as a Boilermaker.

Finally, the fact that Hummel and his team were part of the Mackey Arena re-dedication on 11-11-11 (Nov. 11, 2011) is also something that will stand the test of time.

I recall being in a Purdue University 50-year planning meeting in the late 1990s and the facilities master plan for the University included having its basketball arena in a new location by the year 2020. The fact that the athletic program was able to raise the money to re-do Mackey, securing enough of the funds before the Great Recession of 2008, allowed the facility to stay put for the foreseeable future.

And, since that time, the legend of Mackey continues to grow as one of the best places to watch a college basketball game. Old-timers have always known that, but now the rest of the college basketball world does, as well. That perception can't help but bode well for Coach Matt Painter's program for years to come.

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