Milton College alumni had hoped that NFL quarterback Dave Krieg would come back and join them at last year’s “homecoming” in September, but he didn’t. “Next year,” they said. They were right.
The fact that Krieg was coming to honor his college football coach, Rudy Gaddini, and others was kept quiet. Alumni didn’t want Saturday’s crowd at Main Hall or at The Gathering Place to get too big. Even so, seating capacity was maxed at The Gathering Place and some sat outside on the patio.
It’s possible but not probable that Milton Courier readers are growing tired of reading about Gaddini. On July 4, Kim McDarison wrote about him serving as this year’s July 4 parade marshal. Is there really such a thing as too much of a good thing?
Talking to alumni, I started to really think about all the connections and all the football players, relatives and others who came to Milton because of the college and because of Gaddini, who arrived on campus as head football coach in 1970 and later became athletic director.
Gaddini was a successful recruiter and helped others succeed. I won’t go into all of his accomplishments again here, but I’ll note that in addition to Krieg, defensive end and defensive tackle Dave Kraayeveld went on from Milton College to play for the Seattle Seahawks.
Milton College had many notable alumni and not just football players. Wikipedia.org says so. Stephen Bolles, Adoniram Holmes and Gilbert Laws were U.S. representatives. Kerwin Mathews was an actor, playing “titular heroes in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960) and Jack the Giant Killer (1962).” Charles Smith was Wisconsin’s superintendent of Public Instruction. They are just a few.
Faculty also were notable as were those who visited the college. They came from all over the world.
Then the college closed.
When I first started working at the Milton Courier, the historic Milton College was not my favorite beat. The college was closed. Eventually I understood that Main Hall, 513 College St., was part of the historic college campus. The Milton College Preservation Society keeps Main Hall going as a museum.
Writing about history makes me nervous. It shouldn’t, but there tend to be many more facts, dates, names, places, when you’re writing about history. Even this weekend, I wondered who should I talk to, who should I name, what stats or records were really important in this 175th year since the founding of Milton Academy and later “Milton College.”
When I dive in deep, I hit my head. I can tell you that in 1902 Milton football tied Beloit Academy 6-6. Is that important? Not necessarily.
Sometimes it’s not what you find but how you find it. Football stats like that can be found at www.miltoncollege.org/football-stats.
“The History of Milton College Football” (available at the Milton Public Library) and for sale at Main Hall, provides a ton of information. Thank you, Doug Welch and the Milton College Preservation Society.
When a newsy writes about football, it’s anybody’s game. We had a former NFL quarterback in town this past weekend. How cool is that? Cool. But even cooler are the people who went to Milton College or worked at Milton College and stayed, started a family, a business or a band. Day to day, living in Milton, they are our Milton College notables.