UW Health Sports Medicine 

Remembering Crazylegs

What Others Said About Elroy Hircsh

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley:

“Elroy Hirsch was an icon for generations of Badger fans, one who had a boundless energy and enthusiasm for promoting the university and its athletic programs. Elroy was a true football legend who ignited a passion for Badger athletics. He always had time for the fans. Elroy never lost his love for the university or his desire to share Wisconsin Athletics with others.”

Pat Richter, Director of Athletics:

“There has never been a more loved and admired ambassador for Badger sports than Elroy Hirsch. His charismatic and charming personality brought smiles to so many Badger fans. Anyone who came in contact with him enjoyed a special treat. He loved life, loved people and loved the Badgers. His passing is a huge loss to the Badger family, and our sympathies go to his family at this difficult time.”

Terry Murawski, Executive Director National W Club:

“Elroy was perhaps the grandest man I’ve ever known. The word legend is used loosely these days, but Crazylegs was indeed a legend. The irony is that this legendary athletic hero was a man of the people. Everyone loved Crazylegs! I have many fond memories of my times with Elroy, as do many of his friends. At a time like this, the wonderful memories temper some of the sadness. We’ve all lost a good friend.”

Wayne Esser (Executive Director, Mendota Gridiron Club)

“I just remember just how special he was, not only as a friend but as someone who was always a Badger, always supporting the university and our state. Some of the memories I have will be with me forever. He was outstanding and was just what the department needed when he came back to become the athletic director at Wisconsin.”

Jim Mott (UW sports information director, 1966-90)

“It was a pleasure to have worked with him. He was a Badger through and through, and his leadership as athletic director was a key in the rebuilding of the Wisconsin athletic department. He was outstanding as a high school, collegiate and professional athlete and not many people can make that claim.”

John Powless (UW men’s basketball head coach, 1968-76)

“I have nothing but great memories of Elroy. He loved Wisconsin and helping other people was always in his heart. I hope people celebrate his life in the same way that he extended his hand to others. Elroy’s leadership in helping to turn around the athletic department was special. He was the pied piper without a flute and people just followed him into the stadium.”

Kit Nordeen (UW athletic dept. senior woman administrator, 1974-90)

“Elroy’s name is synonymous with athletic achievement. He was a sports legend and gave Wisconsin immediate credibility in the Big Ten. He was a personality that everyone knew and he was a significant figure in rallying people around UW athletics and getting things rolling again.”

Tom Butler (former Wisconsin State Journal sports reporter)

“Elroy was the most charismatic athlete I ever knew. I was in school at the UW with him and he was the first really nationally prominent athlete we had. Later, when he became athletic director, he drew crowds wherever the football team traveled. Everyone wanted to talk to Crazylegs. He will be missed.”

Butch Strickler (Long-time supporter of UW athletics and founder of “Butch’s Bologna Bash”)

“I think he turned this whole program around. Things were in bad shape when he came here and he turned things around with his personality, nothing else, just his personality. He got along with everyone, young and old, and he made things work.”

Paula Bonner (President and CEO, Wisconsin Alumni Association)

"Elroy will always be one of the legends in Wisconsin athletic lore. During the time I worked with him, I couldn't help but be infused with his energy and his dedication to the UW and his spirit of fun. He loved speaking with alumni, and they always enjoyed spending time with him. He was a great ambassador."

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