By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Coaches give more than advice
Times photo: Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry ALvarez thanks Monroe resident and retiring country club golf pro Mike Muranyi for his support over the years with Badger Booster Days.
MONROE - Throughout the state, people wear deep red clothing on a daily basis. At Monroe's 56th annual Monroe Badger Booster Days dinner, it was no different.

University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni, Badgers fans and Badgers coaches mingled together, sharing stories and jokes during the meet-and-greet and dinner. When the microphone turned on, the crowd quieted for a moment, if only for a moment. Then laughter ensued.

Swiss Colony President and CEO John Baumann opened the night of amusing speeches by thanking those in attendance, the volunteers, coaches and Mike Muranyi. Muranyi has been the PGA Pro at the Monroe Country Club for a number of years and is retiring.

Along with instructional golf lessons and maintaining the Pro Shop, Muranyi has been a big supporter of the Badger Booster Days and received several words of kindness.

"Every year we come down here, it's fantastic. We cannot thank you enough for all the support you've given us throughout the years," Wisconsin Athletic Director and legendary football coach Barry Alvarez said.

Alvarez awarded Muranyi with an honorary "W" blanket and a handshake. The other coaches gave their thanks to Muranyi, as well as to the crowd.

The "Voice of the Badgers", Matt Lepay, said early on how much he enjoys spending time in Monroe every summer.

"When I came to Wisconsin from Ohio, I heard lots of great things about Monroe and its Badger Booster Days. You live up to the hype, and then some," Lepay said.

From there, Lepay warned Green County's residence about the incoming cracks at Bo Ryan and the rest of the university's coaching staff. Ryan is in Colorado Springs coaching Team USA in preparation for the World University Games in Serbia, which will be played later this summer, and was unable to attend the event.

"What you won't be able to hear tonight is Bo refer to Monroe as MON-roe," Lepay said jokingly.

Every speaker after Lepay would go on to slap a crack at coach Ryan for his accent, along with a few other lighthearted jokes aimed at the rest of the coaches.

Men's hockey coach Mike Eaves lit up the crowd with several out-takes, sly remarks, and energy. Eaves, a Canadian native, thought Ryan's annunciation of Monroe likely came because of his East Coast background.

Football coach Bret Bielema shot right back in his speech, saying, "We have our Canadian hockey coach comment on how our basketball coach speaks like he is from the East Coast."

Along with the fun comments, each coach talked about the university as a whole, the student-athletes being both students as well as athletes, the support each team gets and each other's fondness of their fellow coaches.

Girls basketball coach Lisa Stone said their are no better coaches in the nation than those assembled at Wisconsin.

Girls hockey coach Mark Johnson added that the coaches feed off of each other, talk sports with one another, and help the university out as a whole.

Bielema mentioned how usually when hockey recruits come to visit the campus, they like to take a look at the football facilities. This summer, he had a recruit that wanted to tour the men's hockey facilities and even spoke with Eaves.

"When he got done with his trip, I asked him and his father if anything stood out. His father said the people, the coaches. I had to sit back and kind of grasp that for a second. That's what we all work for, and to hear that, it's a rewarding feeling," Bielema said.

Wisconsin has its top six programs rank among the top 15 in the nation in attendance, with both hockey teams finishing No. 1 in their respected sports. Both men's and women's basketball, volleyball and football also reach that feat.

Alvarez also touched on how well the students have done in the classroom. Stone had a pair of players finish with perfect 4.0 GPA's last year. The lowest of all the team GPA's was the men's hockey team, which finished with a 2.82.

"When I first looked at that, I thought, 'Well that's pretty good,'" he said.

Bielema shot back, "Good thing you said your GPA. We on the football team had a 2.89."

However, Bielema emphasized that his team takes academic seriously. Forty-eight of 96 returning athletes had above a 3.0 GPA last year, and 16 of those were above 3.5.