In 2004, Purdue’s head football coach at the time, Joe Tiller, presented a challenge of forming one of the largest chapters in the National Football Foundation here in Northwest Indiana.
Since receiving its charter, the Northwest Indiana Chapter (which was since renamed the Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana) has enlisted more than 800 members, including about 180 current members, ranking as the largest chapter in the state and third largest in the nation.
Following Tiller’s passing in the Fall of 2017, the chapter’s advisory board has dedicated itself to establishing an endowment to keep the chapter going strong and preserving the name of Joe Tiller.
As a group of football-loving enthusiasts with the purpose of advancing amateur football at the local, state and national levels, the Joe Tiller Chapter of the NFF provides grassroots support in many ways.
Each dues-paying member receives a ballot in the selection process for the College Football Hall of Fame, a feature which helped elect former Purdue All-Americans Mike Phipps to the Hall in 2006, Mark Herrmann in 2010, Otis Armstrong in 2012, Dave Butz in 2014 and Rod Woodson in 2016. Three former Boilermakers remain on the ballot - Larry Burton, Travis Dorsch and Taylor Stubblefield.
Cooperation with the Indiana Football Coaches Association has also led to 14 recent inductions into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame – Joe Tiller in 2012, Leroy Keyes and Mike Alstott in 2014, Pete Quinn and Jim Young in 2016, Otis Armstrong, Bernie Flowers and Rod Woodson in 2017, Len Dawson and Dale Samuels in 2018, Dustin Keller and Brian Moore in 2019, and Marshall Overley and Jim Everett in 2021.
“This is great news,” said Kelly Kitchel, President of the Joe Tiller Chapter and also a former Purdue player. “One of the main goals in starting this chapter about 17 years ago was to assist Purdue in getting our deserving players and coaches selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. Our efforts are paying off.”
Rod Woodson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Otis Armstrong became Purdue's fifth running back in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.