What began as a Civil War training ground has transformed into one of the most iconic college football stadiums in America. Trace that history and watch as a 10,000-seat stadium is constructed and eventually grows into the modern facility that welcomes more than 80,000 fans on Saturdays in the fall.
Explore the Camp Randall Timeline
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In 1950, plans for adding an additional 10,000 seats began. At the cost of $569,000 the bleachers in the north end were to be raised to the same level as those in the west and east sides.
The project took over a year due to material shortages after the war and an extremely harsh winter. The seats were completed in September 1951 and the stadium was now able to hold 55,000 people, but was still one of the smallest in the Big Ten.
Don Gehrmann caps a great collegiate career by winning the mile and half mile races at the Big Ten-Pacific Coast intercollegiate track meet held at Camp Randall Stadium. Gehrmann won 12 Big Ten titles at UW and was a three-time NCAA champion in the 1,500 meters and mile. A member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic Team, Gehrmann set the world record in the indoor and outdoor 1,000 meters. He was inducted in to the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.
The famous “Hard Rocks” defense recovered a fumble in the end zone, returned an interception for a touchdown and recorded a safety to propel the Badgers past Ivy League opponent, Pennsylvania 16-7. Including extra points and field goals, the “Hard Rocks” outscored their opponents 58-53 during the 1951 season. UW’s defense would also lead the nation in both total (154.8 ypg) and scoring (6.6 ppg) defense.
With the 21-21 tie against rival Minnesota, the Badgers earned a share of the Big Ten title and advanced to their first Rose Bowl.
1954 Heisman Trophy winner, Alan Ameche, was carried off the field after his final home game on senior day, as the Badgers downed Minnesota 27-0. Clarence Bratt set a Big Ten record with four interceptions in the game, and as a team, the Badgers tallied a Big Ten-record six interceptions.
Milt Bruhn earns his only victory of the season in his head coaching debut as the UW defeats Marquette 41-0 at Camp Randall Stadium.
Sidney Williams, the first African-American starting quarterback in the modern Big Ten Conference, makes his second career start at quarterback and leads the Badgers to a season-ending 13-13 tie against 7th-ranked Minnesota.
After near capacity over the past few seasons, the Board of Regents decided to lower the field and add 10,000 more seats. These new seats would eliminate the track and most of the new seats would be placed along the sidelines. By 1958, the $482,000 project was completed and the capacity had increased to 63,710.
By beating the Hawkeyes 25-16, Wisconsin started their march towards their first outright Big Ten title and to the 1960 Rose Bowl. The win was also coach Milt Bruhn’s first victory over Iowa while at the helm of the Badgers.
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Wisconsin opens the season with a 69-13 win at home over New Mexico State. The 69 points are a then-modern-era school record that stood until 2010.
The heralded matchup between Wisconsin’s quarterback Ron Vander Kelen and wide receiver Pat Richter against Northwestern’s quarterback Tom Meyers and wide receiver Paul Flatley was over soon into the second half. Wisconsin scored 21 points early in the third to seal the game and upset the top-ranked Wildcats 37-6.
Wisconsin ends its season with a 14-9 win over No. 5 Minnesota, clinching its eighth Big Ten title.
In 1964, the regents decided to add more seating after a number of successful seasons had brought more and more people to the stadium. This time, the plan was to go up. The second deck along the west side was to be constructed with the addition of a press box (freeing up more seats in the bleachers). The project was completed in time for the 1965 season and brought the capacity up to 77,745.
Head coach Milt Bruhn wins his final game as coach, beating Minnesota 7-6, after resigning the Monday before. Bruhn ended his career with a 52-45-6 record, including two Big Ten titles. The Badgers wouldn’t win another game over their next 23 tries, spanning more than two seasons.
The artificial turf at Camp Randall Stadium was first installed in 1968 when Wisconsin became the second school in the nation to install Tartan Turf. Designed by the 3M Company, the original turf cost $210,000 and was funded by the UW Parking and Transportation Board in exchange for permission to convert practice fields on the north end of Camp Randall into a 500-car parking lot.
The initial surface turned black in some areas when the green fiber tips broke off, so 3M sprayed the field green for the 1969 season.
Badger running back Alan “A Train” Thompson rushes for a then-school-record 220 yards on 33 carries in his collegiate debut against No. 6 Oklahoma. Despite Thompson’s career game, the UW fell 48-21.
The 23-17 win against Iowa marked the first Wisconsin victory in the last 23 games. Head coach John Coatta notched his first win at the helm after suffering two winless seasons entering the 1969 campaign. The students rushed the field and carried Coatta off on their shoulders.
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Coach John Jardine earns his first win as a Badger, beating No. 17 Penn State, along with hall-of-fame coach Joe Paterno, in a non-conference battle.
The “Dance Revolution” was at its peak as Rufus “Roadrunner” Ferguson led the team in rushing with 1,222 yards in 1971. The 31-28 win over Michigan State was the first for Wisconsin in 10 years. Ferguson rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries in the first half alone, finishing with a team-high 117 yards on 25 carries and while also recording a touchdown.
The Duke Ellington Orchestra performs the first concert in Camp Randall Stadium history, drawing an estimated crowd of 6,000.
This win was head coach John Jardine’s biggest by far as it was part of Jardine’s only winning season at the helm of the Badgers. The 21-20 upset of fourth-ranked Nebraska was one of the biggest wins in school history. Badger receiver, Jeff Mack, scored the game-winning 77-yard touchdown with 3:29 left.
Wisconsin running back Billy Marek notched his third-straight game with more than 200 yards as he tallied 304 yards to go along with five touchdowns in the 49-14 win over Minnesota. Cornerback Ken Simmons forced one fumble, recovered two and intercepted Gopher quarterback and former coach of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy.
In its inaugural season as a varsity sport, the men’s soccer team plays its first home game at Camp Randall Stadium, tying Illinois State 0-0. The Badgers’ first win at Camp Randall would come on Oct. 9, a 3-1 victory over Iowa. UW called Camp Randall Stadium home for seven seasons, compiling a 42-16-6 record.
Linebacker Dave Crossen sets the Wisconsin record for tackles in a game with 28 against Purdue.
Dave McClain opens his tenure as UW’s head coach at home with a 7-6 win over Richmond.
A monumental performance from third-string quarterback Mike Kalasmiki guided the Badgers, as Wisconsin defeated Oregon 22-19. Kalasmiki came into the game after second-stringer, Charles Green, who replaced injured John Josten early in the first quarter, wasn’t able to produce any offense. Kalasmiki directed a 22-point run in the final 10:29 to mark one of the most memorable comebacks in UW history.
The game is also remembered as the origin of the famed “Bud Song.” UW Band Director Michael Leckrone said the song became a football tradition after this game. “Wisconsin was behind by three touchdowns, and the stadium was really dead. I played the song to get everyone pepped up. About 20 seconds after that, Wisconsin scored a TD. I played it again, and Wisconsin scored another touchdown. From then on, the band could never play enough “˜Bud,'” said Leckrone.