THE UNIVERSITY of Wisconsin fields its first football team in 1889 and loses
its first intercollegiate game on Nov. 23, to a Calumet Club team in Milwaukee,
27-0. The Madison team's first victory will come almost a year later—a 106-0
whitewash of UW-Whitewater on Nov. 1, 1890.
ELEVEN YEARS before the NCAA is formed, Wisconsin's Charles Kendall Adams
(above) and six other Midwestern university presidents convene in Chicago to
form the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, which will
later be known as the Western Conference and, finally in 1917, the Big Ten.
Among their forward-thinking ideals: higher academic standards for
student-athletes and the exclusion of paid athletes.
PURDY SWEET SONG
CHICAGOAN William Purdy plans to submit his ditty On, Minnesota to a $100
fight-song contest at the University of Minnesota, then thinks better of it.
His roommate, Carl Beck, a Wisconsin alum, writes the lyrics to create On,
Wisconsin, and the pair lends the song to UW, where it makes its game-time
debut against Minnesota.
TWO YEARS after the collapse of temporary wooden bleachers dooms the previous
incarnation, "new" Camp Randall Stadium (which is reconstructed on the
same Civil War training campsite) opens its gates for the first time. In the
inaugural game at the 10,000-seat concrete digs, Wisconsin earns a 10-7
homecoming win over Minnesota. Numerous renovations, including the most recent,
in 2005, increase capacity to 80,321.
IN THE shadow of World War II, 19-year-old Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch helps No. 6
Wisconsin upset No. 1 Ohio State 17-7. The first-year halfback gains 118 yards
on 13 carries, running, as one writer would say, "like a scared jackrabbit
on the desert with only sagebrush and cactus to hinder him." After the
season Hirsch joins a Navy officer-training program and is transferred to
Michigan, where he plays football for the Wolverines.
LET'S GO, LOGO!
PROFESSIONAL illustrator Art Evans sketches the cardinal-and-white-sweater-clad
Badger logo that is used today. A decade later a pep-rally contest yields a
name, Buckingham U. (shortened to Bucky) Badger, and a papier-m�ch� badger head
to be worn by a cheerleader. And 25 years after that the school resists
then—Wisconsin assistant attorney general Howard Koop's plea for a new mascot,
a cow named Henrietta Holstein.
SCHOOL OF HARD ROCKS
IN WISCONSIN'S first game with female cheerleaders, the famed Hard Rocks
defense, the finest unit in UW history, scores all the Badgers' points—save for
PATs—in a 16-7 win over Penn.
HOBBLED BY a late-season ankle injury, fullback Alan Ameche wins the 20th
Heisman Trophy, beating out Ohio State's Howard (Hopalong) Cassady. Ameche, the
first Wisconsin athlete to earn the accolade, graduates as college football's
alltime leading rusher, with 3,212 yards.
MICHIGAN GOES BOOM
NO. 1 MICHIGAN enters the '81 season opener as the winner of 14 straight over
Wisconsin, including a 176-0 scoring edge in the last four contests, but falls
21-14 in the Badgers' first win over a top-ranked team since 1962. Safety Matt
Vanden Boom gets credit for preserving the win: He helps hold All-America
receiver Anthony Carter to one catch and has three interceptions on Michigan's
last six possessions.
JUST SIX seconds into the fourth quarter of the '63 Rose Bowl (below), No. 2
Wisconsin trails No. 1 USC 42-14 when onetime seventh-string quarterback Ron
Vander Kelen ignites the most exciting 15 minutes in Badgers history. Wisconsin
fires back with, in succession, a 13-yard TD run, a four-yard Vander Kelen TD
pass, a safety and another Vander Kelen TD pass to Pat Richter. Down 42-37 with
25 seconds remaining, the Badgers have a chance to win, but they mishandle the
USC punt while time runs out. Vander Kelen, the MVP, finishes with 401 passing
yards, two touchdown passes and one 17-yard TD run.