Fifteen long years ago, a young man named Matt Schwertfeger journeyed across the sea to study abroad in Galway. Whether he succeeded in his studies remains uncertain—but he returned to Purdue triumphant, clutching two balls and three hurleys, to become one of the founding members of the Purdue Hurling Club in 2005.
In 2012, just seven short years later, the Purdue University Hurling Team won the second-ever U.S. NCGAA hurling championship, crushing all challengers at Stanford University.
Today, the oldest continuously-active collegiate hurling club in the United States has set its sights on another title—inching ever-closer —with four top-three finishes in the last four years.
Though early club history is quickly fading away into myth and legend, there’s one sure way to get the truth: corner Matt Schwertfeger in a bar and ask the signature question: “What’s your story?”
History of the club crest
Burke A. C. Eizinger, one of the Original Four charter members of the Club and its first point scorer, designed the club crest seen on the Purdue Hurling jerseys.
Since Purdue lacks a Gaelic translation, the team turned to the local county name, Tippecanoe—a Miami Indian word meaning “buffalo fish.” In fact, there’s a Gaelic translation for that: “Iasc Buabhall”—seen inscribed over two hurleys on the crest.
On the left, the Griobha, or Griffin, originates from the Purdue University seal. On the right, the iconic Purdue Bell Tower rises over a wavy ribbon in the background that represents the Wabash River.
“I wanted a symbol that not only represented the University, but the County in general, because for a while we had some people playing that weren’t even Purdue students. We even had a guy drive all the way from Champaign, IL to play for us. Hope that gives you a little better understanding and some history behind our organization.“Burke A. C. Eizinger, 2013, via the club Facebook page.