I had heard the buzz for almost a year.
"Did you go to the Buckinghams?"
Last year, the UW athletic department, led by the Office of Academic Services, hosted the first Buckinghams, officially the Student-Athlete Annual Showcase of Excellence. Modeled after the many awards shows out there (Academy Awards, ESPYs, etc.), it was a formal event complete with a red carpet, performances by student-athletes and awards based on off-the-field achievements.Complete video from the 2010 Buckinghams Awards
The second installment was held last Monday at the Overture Center on State Street. I had to go to see for myself what all the talk was about. The doors opened at 7 p.m. and the foyer of the Overture Center was like a who's who of Badger athletics. There's Barry Alvarez. Bo Ryan and Lisa Stone are over there. Mike Eaves and Mark Johnson are talking in that corner. Bret Bielema is surrounded by Chris Maragos, Nick Toon and John Clay. Obviously, a number of student-athletes were on hand as well, along with some parents. 2010 Buckinghams Photo Gallery
Everyone made their way up the red carpet and the program started at 7:30 p.m. Women's hockey player Alannah McCready opened the show with a stirring rendition of "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum
. If you don't have time to watch the entire Buckinghams video, definitely check out the first four minutes for McCready's performance.
The emcee for the event, "The Voice of the Badgers" Matt Lepay, then recognized the 3.5 awards, all the student-athletes who achieved a 3.5 term or cume GPA for Fall 2009 or Spring 2009. The list included 216 names. Again, for emphasis, 216 names.
All the other awards were presented by student-athletes, MTV Video Awards-style. The first pair of presenters were Ryan Gaspar and Jack Bolas of the men's cross country team. Each pair did a little skit, Bolas' involving having run to the awards show as part of training, before presenting their awards. The first award on the docket was the Performance Awards, given to student-athletes nominated by their advisors for their academic work and constant improvement. In the interest of space, the complete list of winners, as well as the complete list of all awards is at the end of this blog.
One of the big hits of the show was the best of the "Ask the Badgers" series. If you've been to the Kohl Center or Camp Randall for a game, you are familiar with these videos. The first showing included John Moffitt's famous "I don't trust children" response to "Do you have any superstitions?"