Leckrone: "It's the End of an Era"

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

"This is one of my favorite pictures, this was Barry greeting me or me greeting Barry, I don't know which way it was, but it was right after the Michigan game in 1993," tells Michael Leckrone holding onto a picture from that day.

It has been a harmonious relationship so far. With Leckrone conducting and Barry Alvarez coaching, they've brought Badger's fans to their feet.

"When he came here I had been here 20 years, and I had seen a few winning seasons, a couple of bowl games, some of the minor bowl games, and not a huge amount of success," remembers Leckrone. "There was a great crowd spirit, but suddenly when he came it was a different attitude."

That different attitude was soon followed by a different score board.

He says, "almost out of the blue again, I realized a dream. I was at the Rose Bowl, and I will be eternally grateful to Barry for that experience because I thought it was never going to happen."

But it did... again and again.

"It is so much easier for me to motivate my students when they know the game is going to be exciting," says Leckrone as he flips through an old album. "I start looking at it, and I have nothing but great memories about everything that happened."

And that's why today's announcement, that this will be Alvarez's last season as coach, was tough to take.

"Anytime that you see the end of a... I guess you'd have to call it an era, when you see that coming up, I think there is a sadness to it because you reflect on all the great things that happened and all the wonderful times. It is a bit of melancholy thinking maybe we will never see the likes of that again."

Leckrone of course has big hopes for the next coach, but he does give Barry the credit for getting him and the marching band to all those bowl games.

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