Guy “Red” Mackey was an honorable part of the Purdue Athletics scene for 45 years.
It all began in the fall of 1925 when the Glasgow, Kentucky, native enrolled as a freshman. He went on to become a three-year football letter winner as an end from 1926 to 1928 and then served as an assistant coach from 1931 to 1942.
Mackey was named athletics director in 1942 and occupied that position until 1971. His 29-year tenure is the longest in school history. As the result of his leadership, Purdue was regarded as one of the top-rated, most proficiently run athletics departments in the nation. He also was a professor of physical education and intramural director.
Mackey was the principal force in upgrading facilities and moving the Boilermakers into the modern era of intercollegiate athletics. He initiated the construction of Purdue Arena, which opened in 1967 and was renamed in his honor in 1972. Ross-Ade Stadium was enlarged five times under his direction.
An inaugural member of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994, Mackey was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Since 1971, Purdue teams have selected recipients for the Guy “Red” Mackey Award, which is presented to senior student-athletes who exemplify the overall success of Purdue Athletics and emulate Mackey’s traits of being loyal, honest, competitive and always willing to help someone in need.
Mackey passed away Feb. 22, 1971, at the age of 65, following a four-month illness and complications from a stroke.
Press Release from the Purdue Athletics Department