College sports in the USA are unlike any other country in the world , the massive attendances at college games is enough to tell you that and as part of our focus on the importance of sports in college, today we are going to take a look at the Wisconsin Badgers. A couple of weeks ago I spoke to former Wisconsin college student Sandy Petrocelli to gain an understanding as to how the Badgers fair in the college sporting world as well as asking the question on everyone’s lips, how did they get that name? Let’s take a quick look then at the sports within the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The reason why the teams of the University of Wisconsin-Madison are called the badgers is because of the nickname of the State of Wisconsin ‘The Badger State”. The etymology of this name is from the miners who arrived in the State back in 1820 who were forced to burrow into the hillside during the winter months to gain shelter, just like badgers do.
The University of Wisconsin, as it was called back then, began using the name Badgers for their sports teams in 1889 and they began using a badger as a mascot in 1949. Their mascot was named Buckingham A Badger or “Buckie Badger” after a naming contest took place on campus in the same year.
The university has teams in football, men and women’s basketball, men and women’s ice hockey as well as boasting a team for track and field, gymnastics and swimming, let’s take a look at some of the teams with notable success.
Women’s Ice Hockey Team
Despite only beginning in 1999, the women’s ice hockey team have seen some great success in their first 20 years of life. From 2006 to the present day that have appeared in the Final Four of the NCAA Championships each year and they have been victorious on four separate occasions in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Since the early 90s the football team have had some fantastic success and they are widely considered to be the most successful of the Big Ten college football teams since that time. In 1990 Barry Alvarez became the coach of the Badgers and he lead the team to three Rose Bowls and three NCAA Championships during his 15 year tenure with the team. Wisconsin Badgers are known to have one of the best home forms in the whole of college football where they play at the 80,000 capacity Camp Randall Stadium.
The Women’s lightweight rowing team is currently the jewel in the crown of the university and in the past fifteen years they have won the national championships no less than 5 times, becoming the first college women’s rowing team to win three back to back championships.
The university boasts a glittering reputation when it comes to sporting accomplishments and it is widely regarded as one of the best university for the development of raw talent.