BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) – In a city that loves basketball the late Bob Purkhiser stands out at one of the greatest basketball players to come through Bluffton – and his legacy lives on despite his tragic death at the age of 39.
Purkhiser was a star at Bluffton High School, making the Indiana All-Star squad in 1961 as a senior.
He went on to play both basketball and baseball at Purdue, where he was the sixth player in Boilermaker history to surpass 1,000 career points with a total of 1,060. Purkhiser, a six-foot-two guard, averaged 15.1 points per game at Purdue, including 20.0 a game his senior season in 1964-65 where he was named All-Big Ten and honorable mention All-American.
Also a pitcher on the Boilermakers baseball team, Purkhiser led the Big Ten in 1965 with an amazing 0.76 ERA. Purkhiser was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 39th round that year and pitched that summer in the minors for the St. Cloud Rox and the Wisconsin Rapids.
Purkhiser went on to play basketball for the U.S. Army, and was the 3rd Army MVP in 1968 and 1969.
Following his time with the Army, Purkhiser would go on to play and coach in Europe until his death in an automobile accident in 1982 at the age of 39 in Le Mans, France.