WHITEWATER Former UW-Whitewater head football coach Bob Berezowitz couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
On a blustery fall day made for football, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater dedicated its Student Athletic Complex to the Warhawk legend.
The Berezowitz Student Athletic Complex is used as a meeting place, classroom, office space for five Warhawk coaches, and tutorial space for students.
In nearly an hour-long dedication, colleagues, along with his former Whitewater head coach Forrest Perkins spoke in depth about the impact Berezowitz had on them and the university.
Berezowitz later capped the ceremony with an emotional 20-minute speech about his 50-year journey at UW-Whitewater from player to a coach.
”This is a very special day for the Berezowitz family,” he said in his speech. “It was hard to find words to express how honored I am. The idea of the Student Athletic Complex was never about me, it was about the student athlete.”
The complex might be for the players, but the idea for the building belonged to Berezowitz.
The legendary coach was also instrumental in the planning and fundraising of the facility that opened in the fall of 2003. The building houses coaches' offices, meeting rooms, and conference rooms, along with a growing trophy area that has been a powerful recruiting tool for high school football players around the Midwest.
“When I first took over for coach Perkins as head coach in the old building, I had a prospect in for a visit, and we couldn’t even fit in the old office,” Berezowitz said. “That’s when I knew we needed a new building.”
Berezowitz eventually got his wish for the $1.5 million complex that opened in the fall of 2003.
“Ninety-five percent of the money raised from the building came from former Warhawk players,” Berezowitz said. “And none of the money came from state funding.”
Berezowitz served as an assistant football coach under Perkins, a fellow Warhawk coaching legend. He then succeeded Perkins in 1985 and directed the program for 22 years with an impressive 158-73-4 record that stands as the second most wins in school history.
He also who won eight conference titles and led his team to Stagg Bowl berths, which laid the foundation for Whitewater’s growth into the premier football program in Division III.
“People have asked me through the years, ‘What’s the difference from when I played to now as a head coach?’ The difference is this building (Berezowitz Student Athletic Complex),” said Warhawk coach Lance Leipold, played quarterback at Whitewater in the mid-1980s and then returned to succeed Berezowitz as Warhawk coach in 2007.
“When you drive to the north end of campus and see the names Berezowitz and Perkins, they are the pillars of this program now and forever.”
It’s a legacy that certainly deserved to be honored.