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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 80, Number 6 (Sept. 1979)

Lefebvre, Jim
Football forecast,   pp. 15-16


Page 15


Football
Forecast
Building from a double pre-season tragedy.
By Jim Lefebvre '78
Tlhere are a couple of reasons foot-
ball has lost some of its importance
to University of Wisconsin players and
coaches over the last few months.
   Their names were Jay Seiler and
Wayne Souza.
   The Badgers go into the 1979 season
facing one question that looms larger
than any concerning returning letter-
men, difficulty of schedule or anything
else-what effect will the shocking
deaths of two of their teammates have
on them?
   "Only God knows, I guess, why
 problems like these come along," says
 second-year coach Dave McClain. "But
 I think that when you have adversity
 like we've had, it strengthens you.
 Our young men will battle and fight
 back."
   For McClain, the "problems" began
 a week before the start of spring prac-
 tice, when his mother died unexpected-
 ly of a heart attack at her Upper San-
 dusky, Ohio, home. That set the tone
 for what was to be a somber several
 weeks.
   On the second day of practice, Jay
 Seiler, a -freshman defensive back from
 Schofield, made what everyone later
 called a good, clean tackle during a
 drill. He came to the sideline looking
 only slightly shaken, but minutes later
 collapsed and was rushed to a hospital.
    There he spent a week in a coma
 with a massive blood clot on the brain
 before dying on April 7. That week
 was perhaps the most difficult one ever
 in the lives of ninety or so young men
 at Wisconsin.
    Seiler's death took the zip-and the
  fun-out of spring practice and con-
  fronted the players with difficult ques-
  tions about fate, their role in football
  and the nagging notion that "it could
  have been me."
    The Badgers looked forward to the
  summer to straighten things out in
  their minds. But the summer calm was
  shattered on July 21 when Wayne
  Souza, starting flanker from New Bed-
ford, Mass., drowned while swimming
in Lake Monona.
  Souza, 20, would have been a senior.
He was a team leader, a likeable guy
with a love for the game and a genuine
concern for his teammates. He was also
an outstanding, versatile athlete and
the Badgers' third leading receiver in
1978.
   "It's unbelievable," said Mike Kalas-
miki, who was on the passing end of
Souza's receptions. "He's been my
roommate for three years and now he's
gone."
   As most of you read this, Wisconsin
 will have played its season opener
 Sept. 8 at Purdue exactly seven weeks
 after Souza's death. In the weeks be-
 fore, the Badgers hoped to somehow
 overcome the shock and grief and, says
 offensive tackle Ray Snell, "to put it
 in our hearts to come back from all
 this."
   Before the tragedies struck, the big-
 gest story going into the season was
 whether Kalasmiki, who was dropped
 from school last January, could regain
 his eligibility and play 'his senior year.
                       Photo/Del Desers
At this writing, it appears that he will.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound quarterback
from Addison, Ill., spent the spring
semester at Madison Area Technical
College, then was re-admitted to UW
for the summer session.
  Kalasmiki was named the Badgers'
most valuable player last year, com-
pleting 107 of 231 passes for 1,378
yards and twelve touchdowns. He
started the season in a reserve role, but
came off the bench to spark 'a wild,
come-from-behind 22-19 victory over
Oregon and win the starting job. He's
got as strong an arm as Wisconsin's
had in many years and is good at find-
ing an open receiver.
   Behind him will be sophomore John
 Josten, who started the first three games
 last year before being injured. A
 shoulder injury also bothered 'him last
 spring, but McClain says "he's come
 along quite a way. He's worked hard
 at everything."
   Also on hand is junior Steve Parish
 (6-1, 190) of Evansville, who sat out
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1979 / 15


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