Lifetime of Rose Bowl memories

I hadn't planned on spending my first Rose Bowl doing stats for the Michigan State Radio Network, but ...


I was working as a student assistant in the sports information office at Michigan State in the fall of 1987. The Spartans won the Big Ten that season and headed west to Pasadena for the first time in more than 20 years. Nick Vista, the Michigan State sports information director, hooked up myself and another student (Scott Monaghan) from the office with jobs as "spotters" for Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen, the talent for NBC which televised the Rose Bowl in those days.

RoseBowlHOFsm.jpgWe flew out on an alumni plane and stayed with the team in Newport Beach. It was a great week and Scott and I drove anxiously to the Rose Bowl the morning of the game. We walked around for a while, soaking in the sights, and then headed up to the press box to introduce ourselves. We got to the TV booth only to find out they only needed one of us. Can you say awkward?

Scott and I flipped a coin and he won. He ended up making $100 working for the legendary Enberg and Olsen. I made about $10 working for our own radio broadcast. At least I was there.

I've made it back to Pasadena three more times. There were the two amazing trips in 1999 and 2000 with the Ron Dayne-led Badgers. Those were heady times for Wisconsin athletics. There's nothing like going to the Rose Bowl as part of the program. There's nothing like that Southern California weather in late December!

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Our athletic director, Barry Alvarez, who took the Badgers to the Rose Bowl three times (and won each time) was one of three inductees. It was pretty special to see Coach Alvarez, Ohio State's John Hicks and Tom Hansen of the Pac 10 accept this honor. The trio also took part in the parade and was introduced on the field at the game between Ohio State and Oregon. It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

I sat in the stands about 12 rows off the field behind Oregon's bench during the game last week. I had no allegiance to either team, although I certainly was rooting for the Big Ten. By the fourth quarter or so, the sun was setting, the sky turning all colors of orange, pink and purple. It was a beautiful scene. I was immediately taken back to my childhood when, growing up in Detroit, I'd sit in our family room on New Year's Day and watch Michigan or Ohio State play USC, UCLA or Washington. The Rose Bowl looked like a dream on TV back in the mid-1970s and last week I discovered it hasn't changed a bit.

Justin Doherty, Assistant Athletic Director for External Relations
University of Wisconsin

ON WISCONSIN