Craig Smith Leaving for the NHL

Badgers’ leading goal-scorer marks UW’s third early departure of offseason

MADISON, Wis. – With two years of collegiate eligibility remaining for the Wisconsin Badgers, forward Craig Smith will become a professional hockey player. The Madison, Wis., native is a 2009 fourth-round pick (98th overall) of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the team of former Badgers Ryan Suter and Blake Geoffrion.

“We’re excited for Craig,” said Head Coach Mike Eaves. “The window of opportunity to make a move like this is sometimes small. The  landscape has changed with Nashville in that the team has changed somewhat with free  agency. Smitty had every thought after a successful senior men’s World Championship to  come back and play here at Wisconsin, but he feels like there is an opportunity now and  he feels in his heart it is the right time to go.”

Smith, who was slated to be one of Wisconsin’s co-captains for the upcoming season,  finished last year as the Badgers’ team leader with 19 goals. He ranked second on the  team with 43 points in 41 games, while leading the squad with five game-winning tallies  and 153 shots. He also took 31 penalties for 87 minutes. For his career, Smith finishes  with 27 goals, 76 points and 159 penalty minutes in 82 games.

Smith skated for Team USA in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship where he posted three goals and six points in seven games, ranking second behind former Badger Derek Stepan for the team lead in scoring. His team-leading plus-2 helped the Americans reach the quarterfinals, where they fell to the Czech Republic.

Smith joins defenseman Jake Gardiner, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Jordy Murray, who left for Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of the Swiss National League A (NLA), as early departures. Both Gardiner and Murray gave up one year of eligibility.


Barry Alvarez to be enshrined into College Football Hall of Fame

MADISON, Wis- Thousands of college football fans from across the country will join the National Football Foundation on July 15-16 at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. for the annual Enshrinement Festival, which will pay tribute to the storied career of

UW Icon well deserving of HOF Enshrinement

Barry Alvarez from the University of Wisconsin along with 19 other football standouts as they are formally enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to enshrine another exceptional class of college football legends,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell.  “Each year our hard-working honors courts do an outstanding job ensuring the game’s greatest players and coaches find their place on college football’s mountain top. We look forward to celebrating in South Bend with this amazing class and their loyal fans from around the country.”

An iconic figure of the Wisconsin program, Barry Alvarez has given Badger fans plenty to cheer about since first being hired as head coach in 1990.  Alvarez compiled a 118-73-4 record at Wisconsin and captured three Big Ten Championships en route to becoming the winningest football coach in school history.  He remains the only coach in Big Ten history to win back-to-back Rose Bowls, setting a record as having the highest all-time bowl winning percentage (.727) for coaches with at least 11 bowl appearances.  A two-time national coach of the year, Alvarez coached 62 first-team All-Big Ten selections, two National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes, and 34 All-Americas at Wisconsin.  Upon arrival in Madison, Barry was in charge of resurrecting a program that hadn’t been to a Rose Bowl since 1963 and was losing games at an alarming rate.  Alvarez’s final six teams qualified for five bowl games and won at least nine games three times.  He joins Hayden Fry and Lou Holtz, coaches he worked under at Iowa and Notre Dame, respectively, and Bob Devaney, the coach he played for at Nebraska, in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Named Wisconsin’s athletic director in 2004, Alvarez continued to coach for two years before retiring to focus solely on his administrative position, which he retains to this day.  Alvarez and his wife Cindy have three children.

“Barry Alvarez took a program that had won six games in the three seasons prior to his arrival and turned them into a perennial powerhouse for more than a decade.  There was never a doubt that he was headed to the Hall of Fame,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell.  “He’s the ultimate competitor, recruiter and tactician, and he has been a great mentor to a slew of current head coaches.”

Fans will have a variety of family-friendly and affordable opportunities to meet and mingle with the enshrinees during this spectacular event. The jam-packed weekend will include a celebrity golf tournament, a fan festival, a grand parade, a youth football clinic, ribs cook-off, and block party with live music and fireworks. The festival will conclude with the Enshrinement Dinner & Show on Saturday evening.

“The College Football Hall of Fame is elated to bring another Enshrinement Festival to our community,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lisa Klunder. “The 2011 Enshrinement Festival promises to be even better than the last as we continue our tradition of excellence by enhancing each of our events that are engaging for the entire family.  We are excited to welcome the large groups of fans and alumni that will be joining us from across the country to celebrate with this year’s class of outstanding Hall of Famers as they receive college football’s greatest honor.”

Tickets for all events are on sale now. Space is limited for certain events.  For events, pricing, times, tickets, or for more information on Barry Alvarez and his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame or call 574-235-5714.

Antonio Fenelus Named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus was named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award. A total of 37 players earned a spot as preseason candidates for the award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive  back. Fenelus is one of four Big Ten Conference players named to the watch list for the 2011 edition  of the award. Additional players will be placed on the list as the season progresses, based on  performance.

The Badgers’ team leader in interceptions and passes defended as a junior last season, Fenelus earned  first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s media. He started all 13 games for the Badgers,  snaring four interceptions and defending 11 passes. Fenelus also was responsible for one fumble and  recovered two others in addition to racking up 56 total tackles out of the secondary. He matched his  career high with nine total stops in UW’s win over Purdue on Nov. 6, the same game in which he  recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. The performance against Purdue  earned Fenelus one of his two co-defensive player of the week honors in 2010. Fenelus is one of three  returning starters in the Badgers’ secondary for 2011, where he is joined by fellow seniors Devin  Smith at the other cornerback spot and Aaron Henry at safety.

The Jim Thorpe Award celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011. The annual honor is named for great  all-around athlete Jim Thorpe, who not only excelled as a two-way player on the gridiron but also  played professional baseball and was an Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. The Thorpe Award winner will be selected from a pool of three finalists at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8. The 25th Anniversary Jim Thorpe Award Banquet is set for Feb. 7, 2012, in Oklahoma City. UW opens the 2011 season by matching up with UNLV under the lights at Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., live on ESPN.

Zeitler Named to the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch List

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2011 Outland Trophy, the Football Writers  Association of America (FWAA)  announced Friday. This year’s  watch list is comprised of 65  players representing each Football  Bowl Subdivision conference, with  the Big Ten’s 13 representatives the  most of any league. Zeitler seeks to  become the Badgers’ third winner of  the Outland Trophy in the last six  seasons, joining 2010 honoree Gabe  Carimi and 2006 winner Joe Thomas. The award is presented annually to the best interior lineman in college football.

Zeitler enters his senior season as a two-year starter at right guard for the Badgers. He appeared in all 13 games last season, including starts in each of the season’s final nine games, and earned consensus All-Big Ten honorable mention. He was also twice named UW’s co-offensive player of the week. His contributions were evident in 2010, aiding a line that allowed the Badgers to pile up record-setting numbers on offense en route to the Big Ten championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl. UW’s offense topped the 70-point plateau three times and led the Big Ten with a school-record 41.5 points per game, including an average of 45.2 points in conference play — the second-best mark in Big ten history.

The line paved the way for a running game that tallied 48 rushing touchdowns and fell just four yards short of making UW the first team in FBS history to have three running backs rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. It also provided protection for a passing attack that saw starting quarterback Scott Tolzien set school records and rank among the national leaders in completion percentage (72.9 percent) and passer rating (165.9).

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the three Outland finalists to be named on Nov. 21. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.

The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football. The winner of the 66th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century, will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 8 on ESPN.

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