Two of the cornerstones to Wisconsin’s football turnaround will see their names enshrined in Wisconsin’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. Quarterbacks Darrell Bevell and Brooks Bollinger led UW to its first two Rose Bowl victories in school history, and now they are going in to the Hall of Fame together at the school.
But, they are far from alone in a star-studded 2017 class that includes 10 names in total.
Joining Bevell and Bollinger are Sara Bauer, women’s hockey; Brian Elliott, men’s hockey; Tamara Moore, women’s basketball; Arlie Schardt, men’s cross country and track and field; Bob Suter, men’s hockey; and Tracy Webster, men’s basketball. Former baseball coach Guy Lowman was selected in the coach/staff category while UW Marching Band Director Mike Leckrone was honored in the special service category.
While Bevell and Bollinger may be the most known names to the fans of today, this group is an award-winning one led by Bauer. She was the first Patty Kazmaier winner (the nation’s best women’s hockey player) in 2006 and helped led UW to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007.
Men’s hockey goaltender Brian Elliott was also a championship winner, working between the pipes for UW’s 2006 national championship season. He also was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and set school records for career goals-against average (1.78) and save percentage (.931).
Continuing the championship tradition is women’s basketball inductee Tamara Moore. She was key in UW’s run to the 1999 WNIT championship. Moore was a two-time honorable mention All-American and All-Big Ten pick, while also being a finalist for the 2002 Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year award and the 2001 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
No one in this class can claim what legacy member Arlie Schardt can though, and his story is simply inspirational as well as championship-worthy. A track and cross country standout from 1914-17, he served as team captain of the 1915 cross country team that won the Big Ten and National Intercollegiate championships.
Schardt, from Milwaukee was also a member of two Big Ten championship track teams. The middle distance runner won the 1917 Big Ten indoor mile title before graduating that spring.
Schardt entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and immediately went into combat in World War I. He was severely injured after a battle in the Argonne Forest and was left for dead for two-and-a-half days. After recovering, Schardt continued to compete following the war and placed second in the mile at the 1919 American Expeditionary Forces Championships. He became the first Badger to claim a gold medal, winning the 3000-meter team race as part of the U.S. squad at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium.
Bob Suter joins Schardt as an Olympic gold medalist, as he was a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. But, he is also much more than that as he also was part of UW’s 1977 NCAA championship team. The defenseman earned second-team All-WCHA honors in 1979 as well. Suter stayed in his native Madison following his collegiate career and helped the hockey scene in the area for the rest of his life. He passed away in 2014 and has the hockey arena in Middleton, which he founded, named after him.
While nowhere near the team or Olympic accomplishments, UW’s basketball program may not be where it is at today without point guard Tracy Webster. He helped to lead Wisconsin’s basketball team to the 1994 NCAA tournament, erasing a 49-year drought. Webster ended his career as a second-team All-Big Ten pick and scored more than 1,264 career points. He still holds the UW career record for assists (501) and ranks second all-time in steals (183). A three-time team captain, Webster was named the Badgers’ most valuable player in 1992.
As for the highlight players, Bevell was behind center of Wisconsin’s big 1993 season that ended in the first Rose Bowl victory in school history. But, it wasn’t just that season that was impressive, as he ended his career as the leader in passing yards (7,686), completions (646), attempts (1,052), completion percentage (61.4%) and touchdown passes (59).
Bollinger was none-too-shabby himself, taking the reigns of Wisconsin’s offense as a freshman in 1999 and helping to lead the team back to the Rose Bowl. His season was capped by a victory in that game and by being named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year. By the time things were all said and done, Bollinger ranked second in school history in passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns.
There’s even legendary band directory Michael Leckrone, who made Badgers football fun to attend even during the brutal years. Simply put, UW’s band isn’t as well-known or influential without his direction since 1969.
While other classes may have bigger names at the top-end, few classes can claim the depth that this one can. As Barry Alvarez put it:
“This is another tremendous Hall of Fame class,” Alvarez said. “It’s got a little bit of everything from Rose Bowl-winning quarterbacks to NHL all-stars to great basketball players to our first Patty Kazmaier Award winner and more. Most importantly, these are all people who have represented the university in the right way and will be Badgers forever. I am really looking forward to the induction ceremony.”