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Purdue University alum Dick Buell donates $10 million to establish men’s basketball coaching endowment

Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter points against Cal State Fullerton during the second half of a 2018 NCAA Tournament first-round game. (By The Associated Press)

Longtime Purdue University men’s basketball supporter Dick Buell has donated $10 million to establish an endowment for the head coaching position.

The gift, the single-largest commitment to Purdue athletics, establishes the L. Dick Buell Endowed Head Men’s Basketball Coaching position, ensuring “Purdue’s ability to attract and retain the best head coach for its men’s basketball program,” the school said in a release.

“Against the backdrop of a historically generous John Purdue Club membership, this significant commitment from Dick Buell establishes a new high-water mark for Purdue Athletics,” Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski said in the release. “We are profoundly honored that Dick has combined his passion for the Boilermakers and his lifetime of business success to establish this endowment.”

Buell, a 1972 Purdue graduate in engineering, has had a long executive career in the consumer packaged goods industry, the release said.

He praised coach Matt Painter.

“Considering the national culture of intercollegiate athletics, specifically men’s basketball, it has been a point of pride for me to observe a leader like Matt Painter and to witness what his teams have accomplished,” Buell said in the release. “I recognize and appreciate the value of integrity in Matt’s leadership, and I am proud to have the opportunity to reinforce Purdue Athletics’ core values through the establishment of a head-coaching endowment.”

Buell served as chief executive officer at Catalina Marketing Corporation from 2004 to 2011. Additionally, he was chief executive officer/chief operations officer for 28 years for four different corporations, including WS Brands, Foodbrands America and Griffith Laboratories, and served as vice president of Kraft Foods Group Marketing. Buell presently serves on numerous corporate boards for food charities, private equity and venture capital companies.

“Dick Buell is in a class by himself with a gift of this magnitude,” Painter said in the release. “We are humbled that he has elected to share his many resources to help ensure that all our student-athletes who come to Purdue to earn degrees from this world-class university will have the opportunity to play basketball and be supported at the absolute highest level. As the current leader of Purdue’s basketball program, we are grateful for Dick’s tremendous generosity and commitment.”

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