Every day this week one of the seven members of the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame class of 2009 will be celebrated. The Hall of Fame induction is Friday, Sept. 4 outside the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center. The 6 p.m. ceremony is open to the public. Today's celebrant is the founder of soccer at Wisconsin, Bill Reddan.
Considered the Founding Father of Soccer in Madison and at the University of Wisconsin, William Bill Reddan has been an integral part of the sports landscape in Madison for nearly 60 years. He introduced soccer as a club sport at Wisconsin in 1964, and coached the intramural team for 13 years.
He became the first varsity mens soccer coach in 1977, and led UW to its first NCAA tournament berth following a 15-1-2 regular season in 1981. He coached five seasons compiling a 49-27-9 record. He then served as an assistant coach from 1982-96, where he saw his dreams come to fruition when Wisconsin won the 1995 NCAA Championship title.
The St. Louis native gained his love for the sport from his father who played on a national championship soccer team in 1921. As a youth he participated in soccer, baseball, basketball and track in high school, then joined the Merchant Marines for two years after graduating from high school in 1945.
He returned to the University of Missouri where he earned his bachelors degree in education in 1951. He served two years in the Army during the Korean Conflict, then came to Wisconsin in 1953, and obtained his masters degree in education in 1955. He later earned his Ph.D. in biodynamics at UW in 1965, and was a professor in preventive medicine at Wisconsin until his retirement in 1996.
Although a fixture in the soccer scene for decades, perhaps Reddans greatest contribution has been as a change agent in the development of numerous youth and club soccer programs in the Madison area. He was a founding member of the well-known Madison 56ers soccer team and helped form and coach the Madison Area Soccer Association which now has over 1,000 youth members.
Reddan's contributions have been recognized throughout the years. There is a UW mens soccer team award presented annually called the William G. Reddan Spirit of Soccer Award, given to the player who best exemplifies (former UW coach) Bill Reddans positive spirit of the game of soccer. The soccer field in Verona also bears his name, Reddan Soccer Park. In 1986, he became a member of the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was inducted into the Madison Sports Hall of Fame, and now he is recognized by the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame.
The members of the class of 2009 include Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne (1996-99); NFL lineman Joe Panos (1991-93); All-American runner Claire Eichner (1988-92); basketball player Robin Threatt (1988-93), and in the heritage category, baseball player Thornton Kipper (1946-50). Coach/administrator Bill Reddan (first soccer coach 1977-81 and club coach 13 years) and Mendota Gridiron Executive Director Wayne Esser in the special category are also to be inducted.
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Here is a short video made upon his induction into the Madison Sports Hall of Fame: