Amid the successes and failures of the football, men’s hockey and men’s basketball teams lie teams that outperformed their revenue-building counterparts.
Three different non-revenue sports have won national championships since 2000, including the men’s cross country (2005), women’s hockey (2006, 2007, 2009) and the men’s indoor track teams (2007).
Those numbers also don’t include the national championships earned by the men’s and women’s rowing squads, which are perhaps the most successful of any sports, winning 26 titles between the two programs
But unsurprisingly, most UW sports fans have little knowledge of the powerhouses Wisconsin has built over the past decade.
For example, since Pete Waite took over the volleyball program in 1999, the team has been a contender in the Big Ten in nearly every season since.
Most notably, the 2000-01 season was a record-breaking one for the volleyball team. In only his second season as head coach, Waite brought the Badgers to the national championship match, losing only four games all season.
For the women’s hockey team, its accomplishments are obvious, yet worth noting. Mark Johnson — who is currently taking a leave of absence to coach the U.S. Olympic squad — built perhaps the most successful women’s hockey program in history winning three national championships in four years. Wisconsin will certainly welcome him back next year.
Off the beaten path, longtime men’s cross country coach Jerry Schumacher continued his success this past decade, winning a national championship in 2005 to go along with a staggering nine consecutive Big Ten titles. Yes, that’s every single year over the past decade. In 2008, new head coach Mick Byrne took over, only to — you guessed it — win yet another Big Ten title.
The women’s basketball team hasn’t been nearly as successful this decade as the aforementioned teams, but it has brought out the best of some wonderful athletes.
One year after Alando Tucker broke the all-time Wisconsin basketball scoring mark, senior Jolene Anderson came right back and did the same. Her play was recognized as some of the best in the country, and she was chosen as a second round pick in the WNBA draft.
But where there are successes, failures are only expected as well. The UW softball team is the epitome of that fact. Posting an abysmal 15-40 record the past two seasons, head coach Chandelle Schulte has so far proven she cannot manage a college softball team, let alone coach one. Her moves have been questioned constantly, and her players (as well as two Badger Herald columnists) seemingly can’t stand her. However, with a new decade comes new recruits, and that’s where Schulte looks to improve this season.
If there is one thing to take from all of this, it is simply that while many complain about the shortcomings of the UW football team, there is an equally good team on the non-revenue side of the spectrum. Whether or not the Wisconsin community begins to recognize this is yet to be seen. Perhaps another decade will give us an idea of what’s to come.