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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 84, Number 4 (May 1983)

Marks, John J.
Sports,   p. 13


Page 13


Sports
Winter Wrap-up
By John J. Marks '83
n 1982 Wisconsin hired two new
     coaches. Jeff Sauer took over the
     hockey reins from the legendary Bob
Johnson, and Steve Yoder inherited a
floundering basketball program from six-
year coach Bill Cofield.
   For years Badger hockey has experi-
enced a rich tradition of success, with three
national championships in the past nine
years, while our basketball tradition has
been one of failure; we haven't won a Big
Ten title since 1947.
   Despite the coaching changes, 1983 saw
little change in the pattern. Sauer and the
powerhouse Badgers engineered a spectac-
ular WCHA tournament rally after a "me-
diocre" 15-9-2 conference mark and 23-10-
3 overall and in mid-March surged into the
final four of the NCAA playoffs. And
Yoder, conducting a major overhaul of the
basketball program, saw his fledgling squad
struggle to an 8-20 record to finish in the
cellar of the Big Ten.
   "I wouldn't call the season a disaster,
though," said Yoder, who has been
through the rebuilding process before at
Ball State which he lead to Mid-American
Conference titles in 1981 and 1982. "Most
teams with our record would have thrown
in the towel and gone through the motions
L11C.' last  '19IIL VJI 1I1H   ~.I11C,  .  I  UU II  III-IN
our players did that. We don't have quitters
here, that was evident."
   Jeff Sauer, on the other hand, walked
into a radically different situation. There
was no rebuilding to be done and no major
changes to be made. Under Johnson, the
Badgers had made the NCAA playoffs four
of the last six years, winning the champion-
ship in 1977 and in 1981 and losing in the
finals to North Dakota last spring.
   "There was a lot of pressure at the be-
ginning of the year; you know: how could
anyone replace Bob!" said Sauer, who
coached at Colorado College, a school of
2000 students, before coming to Wisconsin.
"But as the season progressed, it got a lot
more fun for me. It's really been an enjoy-
able year from that standpoint because the
players have been a tremendous help in the
transition."
   For a time, however, it appeared the
Badgers would be hard pressed to earn an
Hockey Coach Jeff Sauer
NCAA playoff berth. Plagued by injuries
to key defensemen and both goalies, the
team finished the WCHA regular season in
third place. But once the WCHA tourna-
ment got underway, the Badgers caught fire
to defeat Colorado College, defending na-
tional champions North Dakota, and num-
ber one ranked Minnesota.
   "I think the real reason for the turn-
around was not what any single player did,
other than that most of the team is very ex-
perienced," said Sauer. "The majority
have been to the WCHA and NCAA play-
offs. Also I think the other teams had
reached their peaks. North Dakota was
definitely playing as well as they could and
Minnesota had been skating strongly all
through the season, but then their weak-
nesses started to show and our strengths
took hold."
   It wasn't until goaltender Marc Behrend
and defensemen Bruce Driver and Jan-
Ake Danielson returned from injury that
the Badgers strengths "took hold."
Behrend finished as the top netminder in
the country with a 15-1-1 record. He sur-
rendered an average of just 2.3 goals a
game.
   Seeded number one in the West follow-
ing the victory over Minnesota, the Badg-
ers faced St. Lawrence in the quarter-final
of the NCAA tournament. Skating before a
frenzied, packed house at Dane County
Coliseum, they dominated the Saints, win-
ning the two-game total-goal series 6-1 and
7-2.
   The Big Red was now among the final
four and off to Grand Forks, N.D., to face
Providence College.
                         continued on page 20
Basketbali Coach Steve Yoder
on a pair of goals from Flatley. In the
third period the Big Red's stalwart
defense relaxed somewhat, surren-
dering two goals, but the offense
picked up the slack, pouring in four
to make the final score 6-2.
   Paul Houston tallied twice while
Bruce Driver and John Johannson
each lit up the red light once in the
final twenty minutes.
   Along with MVP Behrend, Paul
Houck, Chris Chelios and Flatley
were named to the all-tournament
team.
MAY/JUNE 1983 / 13


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