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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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Page 47 of 81

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 48 BY ALAN KARPICK P ositive energy, good vibe, momentum. No matter what word or words you choose, they all describe Purdue's football program from top to bottom heading into 2018. And every Purdue fan knows there is tangible evi- dence that things are, to put it mildly, headed in the right direction. A Foster Farms Bowl win that guaran- teed a stunning winning season served as on-field proof of progress. But equally, if not, more remarkable were off-the-field indicators of a major leap forward. Nowhere is that more evident than an increase of 13,433 fans per game in attendance in Ross-Ade Stadium in 2017, the largest single-season attendance bump in all of college football last year. But for leaders of the behind-the-scenes contingent in the Boilermaker athletic program, that is where the challenge begins. "Turning around a football program is like turning around a barge," said deputy athletics director Jason Butikofer, whose daily duties include creating and har- vesting revenue from the Boilermaker football program. "It is complicated, and it takes a great administration that is all on the same page and a great coach. We have that here at Purdue." Butikofer, a 1999 Iowa grad, came to Purdue in July after serving a successful stint as athletic director at Southern Utah. His résumé includes stops at West Point, Minnesota and Arizona State. Butikofer's first exposure watching a big-time college football environ- ment up close emanated from growing up attending Hawkeyes' football games with his grandfather, Fran- cis. "I have carried that love of the college football expe- rience and sharing it with him," Jason Butikofer said. "But I have also worked with great people who were vi- sionaries in the industry, and they have invested in me and showed me the ropes." FULL STEAM AHEAD ON 2018 TICKET SALES Butikofer relishes the challenge ahead at Purdue, in football and in all areas in his purview. After all, in Butikofer's mind, if there are any empty seats, there is P R E S E N T S T H E F I N A N C E S O F P U R D U E T I C K E T S A L E S 'No Excuses' Purdue staff ready to capitalize on football momentum Tom Campbell The expectation around Purdue is to fill Ross-Ade Stadium more often than not in 2018. An attractive home schedule will help.

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