William Purden ’51

William Purden '51
William Purden ’51

Coach, educator, and administrator William Purden ’51 died April 11 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at age 88. Purden came to Cornell and majored in education and English after serving in the Marine Corps.  

Purden began his career as a high school teacher and basketball coach with two-year stints at Huron, Winfield, and Fort Madison, Iowa. In 1956 he moved to Harvey, Illinois, to coach at his alma mater, Thornton Township High School, where he took four teams to the state championships and earned a spot in the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

In 1965 he was named an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming, and in 1970 he became head basketball coach at Valparaiso University in Indiana. He retired from coaching in 1976 and became athletic director at Tinley Park High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, and retired in 1988.

He is survived by three daughters and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, a son, and a grandson.