UW Health Sports Medicine 

Badger Days - Kohler

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IMG_8428.JPGThough there was a threat of bad weather the entire day, Badger Days Kohler was a hit from the early morning to the late evening. Here are some observations from 24 hours in Kohler.

Photo Gallery / Badgers Days - Kohler video

•    Tuesday night, following the Green Bay Badger Days, the bus took us to Whistling Straights for a private reception in their Championship Locker Room. Upon entrance, everyone filed into the locker rooms to check out the names. Of course, Tiger Woods was the big one but folks also looked for local guys Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly as well as favorites Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els.

•    There were hors d'oevres and drinks in the sitting area of the locker room where the coaches and staff mingled for a couple hours. Coach Alvarez labeled it a "staff retreat" and it was another great chance for the coaches to talk on a myriad of subjects.

•    Wednesday started with a round of golf for most of the coaches and staff at Blackwolf Run. Coach Alvarez's wife, Cindy, was actually the talk of the day as her lessons from the day before obviously paid off. Women's basketball coach Lisa Stone, who played with Cindy, raved about her improvement, saying she had at least four pars and one birdie. Everyone talked about what a terrific course it was and what a good time everyone had. I don't know how it is at other athletic departments but all of our coaches talk about how close our coaches are and how well they all get along. This two-day stretch was another example.

•    The actual Badger Days event was held at the Shops at Woodlake. They had a huge tent set up for us in the parking lot with use of an atrium area overlooking the lake where Coach Alvarez, Coach Ryan and Coach Bielema were set up at their autograph tables.

•    It was one of the more intimate Badger Days events I had been to in terms of attendance but for some reason it seemed like all the coaches were occupied the entire time. Different areas of the state seem to have different allegiances. One event, the soccer coaches may be most popular. In another, it's the golf and tennis coaches. Here, it was everyone. The crowd seemed very engaged.

•    That being said, all our coaches are very good in these situations. Everyone asking people's names, where they're from, what they do. I've said it before but I'll say it again, if you want to get a glimpse of our coaches as people, these are great events for that.

•    People bring some creative stuff to get signed. Swim coach Eric Hanson signed a swim cap. A guy was walking around with a four-foot hand-carved sign that read "Bucky Lives Here" that he had every coach and Matt Lepay sign. A bunch of people had Ron Dayne sign the back of their sweatshirts.

•    The Band was in attendance again. There were only 12 of them but they sure do bring tha noise!

•    I missed the coaches speaking portion of the event in Green Bay but caught it in Kohler. The coaches moved to the stage at 6:30 p.m., except Coach Eaves who was using my notepad to diagram a "cycle" drill for a fan to use in his practice. He had to be called individually to the stage by Lepay.

•    Coach Alvarez was the first to speak and he got a standing ovation when Lepay introduced him. Matt joked that the loudest ovation he got were from his head coaches on the stage to which Alvarez responded, "That's because they want to come up here and golf again."

IMG_8412.JPG•    Coach Bielema spoke first of all the coaches and his phone went off while he was talking. Coach Eaves and Coach Johnson said that should be a fine. "You guys are probably the ones who called me," Bielema joked.

•    Women's golf coach Todd Oerhlein, when asked by Lepay who the best golfer on the staff was (excluding the golf coaches): "Lisa (Stone)," he said without hesitation.

•    Coach Stone talked about how excited they were to be playing Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Duke should be ranked in the top five in the preseason polls and Coach Stone wants to sell out the Kohl Center and to replicate the atmosphere from the men's win over Duke last season.

•    Coach Johnson, when asked the biggest difference between the 1980 and 2010 Winter Olympics responded that it was the size of the media contingent, which I found interesting. He said in 1980 they fit inside a tent like the one we were in. This year, there was a convention center three times the size of Madison's Monona Terrace to house the media.

•    Coach Eaves talked about how he felt the outdoor game was when he could sense the team turned the corner on its way to the national title game. The way they won, with two late third-period goals, really gave the team confidence they could get it done.

•    Coach Ryan got Dayne standing ovation, While answering a question about Duke, Bo felt the need to tell Ron (seated at a table about 50 feet away), "Ron, it took four people to take you down back there," referring to his six-foot bobblehead in the back of the tent.

•    One more Badger Days left, in Milwaukee next week. Sounds like there will be a good crew of football players there along with Blake Geoffrion, Ron Dayne and all the coaches. The Cubs will be in town so there should be a good crowd.

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My 9 year old Son who's first name is Dayne and is spelled after Ron Dayne was so excited to meet Mr. Dayne. He has idolized Ron Dayne for years and finally got to meet him. Ron Dayne signed his jersey and a 8x10 photo that my son brought with him. My son also brought his flag football card with him to give to Ron Dayne and was estactic when Ron Dayne asked him to sign it for him and then set it against his Heisman trophy. Was a great experience, one that both my son and I will never forget. Keep up the good work.