'Crazylegs' Hirsch earns place among Big Ten Icons




Sept. 14, 2010

 

Elroy BigTenIcons.com  |  Hirsch Profile

CHICAGO -- The Big Ten Network has named Wisconsin great Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch to the No. 25 spot on its Big Ten Icons countdown.

Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history, based solely on their collegiate playing careers, on www.BigTenIcons.com.

Hirsch, whose collegiate career was interrupted by World War II, starred at Wisconsin and Michigan from 1942-46.

As a sophomore, Hirsch’s big play ability helped the Badgers roll to an 8-1-1 record. He scored long highlight reel touchdowns against Notre Dame, Marquette, Colorado, Ohio State and Northwestern. A threat to run, pass or catch, the Wausaw, Wis., native finished that season on Look magazine’s All-America team.

After the 1942 season, Hirsch was assigned to Ann Arbor, Mich., for military training, but was permitted to compete for Michigan. There, he helped Michigan to an 8-1 record and a Big Ten title.

Following the war, Hirsch was named MVP of the 1946 College All-Star Game and went on to embark on a storied professional career with the Los Angeles Rams.

He went on to become one of the NFL's first stars at wide reciever, with his then-record 1,495 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1951.

After finishing his career with 7,029 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns, Hirsch was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

A call to the College Football Hall of Fame followed in 1974, along with entry into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991 and the retirement of his No. 40 at Camp Randall Stadium.

Following his playing career, Hirsch returned to UW to serve as director of athletics from 1969 to 1987. The annual Crazylegs Classic run and walk in Madison has been held each year since 1982 in Hirsch's honor, with the 2010 edition attracting a record 20,415 participants.

Upon Hirsch’s death in 2003, his successor as athletics director at UW, Pat Richter, said, “There has never been a more loved and admired ambassador for Badger sports than Elroy Hirsch.”

To read an essay by Dan McGrath and to watch a video feature on Hirsch, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.

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