1935 Season

Ralph Hunn
Ralph Hunn
  Philip W. Rosten
Philip W. Rosten
 Results | Summary | W Winners 

Season Results


Season Summary

August 1934, Ralph Hunn was named head crew coach – at age 23 or 24, the youngest crew mentor in the nation - to succeed Mike Murphy who resigned July 1, 1934. Hunn had been named Captain for the 1934-35 season, but “necessary forces called him to the coaching spot.” In another article on the same page of The Daily Cardinal , the efforts of Murphy, Hunn and hockey coach Art Thomsen in attracting over 250 men and women to the largest intramural crew program of any college are discussed.

Most of the oarsmen were veterans with four and five years experience and to further the testimonial, Coach Hunn organized Wisconsin 's and the nation's first summer school crew with the residue of the official squad. Three races took up the schedule: decisive wins over a Green Bay shell at Green Bay , and two victories over the Milwaukee Boat club.

Coach Hunn worked hard throughout the summer of 1934, training crews for the 1934-35 season. He promoted four races with private boat clubs, all of which Wisconsin won with ease. He also initiated a 150-pound crew. In the fall of 1934, the varsity, under the hand of Hunn, ran up a five-length win in the third Milwaukee Boat club meeting.

With waves once more breaking on Mendota's shores, the average opening schedule for the lake has been bettered. The lake was covered for just 90 days. According to Prof. Chauncey Juday of the limnology department and well known for his observations of lake conditions, observations of the past week and particularly Thursday night indicate that the lake is at least 90 percent open. The breakup began in the middle of the lake on March 26.

Since the winter of 1851-52, Mendota had opened 26 times in March, 35 times in April and twice in May. The average opening date is April 7. Similar weather conditions prevailed last spring when the lake broke up on approximately the same day. Other dates for the past five years are: 1934 (April 7), 1933 (April 4), 1932 (April 4), 1931 (March 24) and 1930 (March 20).

In 1935 the crew schedule was again a full one as financial conditions had improved materially, and heavy crew racing schedules were maintained until 1942 (WWII).

The tentative 1935 crew schedule included three races in May (18, 25 and 30 th ) and two in June (1 and 8 or 10th).

On May 18, the 1935 crew season was officially under way when the Wisconsin shell swept over the finish line four lengths ahead of Marietta College; its first major boat race since 1931. (Time: 7:10 over the 2,000-meter course.)


Next came the Marietta Regatta on the Ohio River . On the way to the regatta, the Wisconsin shell “Dad Vail” was side-swiped by a farmer's truck and was ruined, thus smashing Wisconsin 's hopes for victory. To get the crew to the Mid-American Regatta at Marietta College , Ohio , the oarsmen had to drive their own cars because the Athletic Department was so short of funds. Howard Heun, a graduate of the Culver Military Academy in Indiana , tells of calling Commander Fowler at Culver to ask if they might stay a night on the way to Marietta . Commander Fowler was delighted to have the visit of the UW crew, lent them a shell with which to practice, put them up for a night and provided both dinner and breakfast to the group. The generous hospitality was repeated the following year.

Manning a borrowed Pennsylvania shell, the Wisconsin crew was at a disadvantage from the start. Then, at the start, the red-tipped Wisconsin oars ran into the Rutgers boat clipping the blade of the number two oar, and giving the other shells a two-length lead before the borrowed and damaged shell was finally headed down the course. By the time Wisconsin hit the finish line, the Badgers were fourth, behind Rutgers, Penn and Marietta , but ahead of Manhattan and Rollins. (Time was: 11:00.)

Note: This would be the second race at Marietta where the “Dad” Vail Trophy was awarded to first place. Wisconsin (there as a courtesy because of the “Dad” Vail connection) and Penn (whose coach “Rusty” Callow hoasted the first unoffical “Dad” Vail regatta in 1934 and who had sponsored the Trophy, both were given unofficial status in the race. The event was to be the only two-mile “Dad” Vail race and only the first of two to be followed by an observation train (the other being at Marietta in 1941). The official formation of the “Dad” Vail Regatta would be February 10, 1939.

On May 25, the 2V8 nosed out by the St. John's Military Academy varsity by 10 feet.

Around this time (May 30), the frosh also defeated Culver Academy by two boat lengths in a two-mile race. On June 10, Washington came to Madison on its way to the Poughkeepsie Regatta.

June 29 and 30, 1935, the second National Inter-Collegiate Crew Regatta was held at the Long Beach Stadium in Long Beach , CA , site of Cal 's victory in the 1932 Olympics. The $135,000 stadium was constructed for the Games in Long Beach , the first and only such structure built for rowing in the United States . The first regatta had been held in April of 1933, with Washington nosing out Yale, with Harvard, Cornell, UCLA and Cal also participating. The Long Beach Centennial Committee paid the train fares of all participants.

Wisconsin, still short of funds during these depression years, the non-transportation expenses of the trip were sponsored by Mr. W. K. Murphy, a loyal UW alumnus and probably No. 2 of the IRA-winning frosh crew of 1900 (see also D. Hayes Murphy's letter of March 30, 1967 under “Season Summaries for 1900”; D. Hayes is likely W. K. Murphy's brother), originally from Milwaukee. Murphy (no relation to former coach Mike Murphy) had a successful insurance business and home in Hollywood , CA . From Madison , the crew had been given the choice of going by one railroad and returning by another, round trip being the same. The group decided to go out by Southern Pacific and return via Milwaukee Road , connecting from LA to Seattle by coastal steamer.

In the first qualifying heat at 5:00 PM Friday, June 28, Wisconsin (7:04) finished third behind California and Syracuse (Bob Heinze, No. 2 in the UW boat in 1936 and 37 - Heinze skipped crew his sophomore year - remembers Gregory Peck was on the Cal crew in 1935.)

In the Consolation Varsity Race at 4:00 PM, Saturday, June 29, , Wisconsin (6:35.5) was second to Southern California (sic; Messrs. Heun and Heinze remember this as UCLA ). Wisconsin 's poor showing was at least in part, according to Heun, due to the use of a fragile, borrowed freshwater boat in the choppier salt water off Long Beach .

Huen recalls a couple of events of note during this trip. While practicing at the Long Beach Olympic trial venue, someone, for publicity purposes, invited several Hollywood starlets to visit. Ms. June Knight came to the Badger shell and was invited to sit in the coxswain's seat. After the experience, several Wisconsin oarsmen thought she should experience the thrill of victory as a coxswain and suggested they throw her in the water. Jack Cole grabbed her wrists and Irving Kraemer, her ankles. On the count of three, Cole let go but Kraemer wasn't so sure and Ms. Knight landed squarely on her rear, after which she gave a blood-curdling stare to all parties.

On the same trip, the filming of the first “Mutiny on the Bounty” was planned. At one point in the film, the becalmed ship was to require its being pulled by several long boats, for which several Badgers had been invited to work as extras. The opportunity fell through when the scene was postponed from one day before the races to two weeks later.

The steamer trip from LA to Seattle is described in an undated, unsigned account from Howard Heun,

We had been advised that the coastal journey on a small steamer might be somewhat unsettling because we would be riding the landward swells rather than cutting through them. A few of us for some reason made the added mistake of choosing cabins at the stern, just above the propeller.

Fortunately, the railroad rep was on board and, after we inquired, he said those of us who wished to could take the train from San Francisco to Seattle . Coach Hunn and most of the others continued the journey by sea and two or three took the inland train. On the journey back, the crew all had steak in the dining car. The menu had a note saying if the passenger especially enjoyed any item, the railroad would be glad to serve you a second portion. When the Badger crew all chose steak, the waiter said ‘Nossuh!' But the dining car steward on appeal said, ‘That's what the menu says, so we'll have to make good. But no more repeats on the entrees.' Some of the group felt this helped replace what had been fed to the fishes on the coastal steamer getting to Seattle .


The IRA's:

For the 40th anniversary of the IRA's in Poughkeepsie , Oxford and Cambridge were invited to participate, but due to financial troubles, the English schools declined the invitation.

Wisconsin again could not afford to attend the IRA's, which varsity eight results were reported on the front page of the New York Times as: California ( 18:52 ), Cornell , Washington , Navy, Syracuse , Penn and Columbia .



Edward B. Barney
Frederic A. Benedict
Joe W. Brooks
W. L. Charles Burroughs
Jack E. Cole
J. (Crawford) Crosland
Victor Falk
Charles Fiedelman
Gerhardt A. Getzin
Alfred Graef
Donald K. Gehrz
Robert S. Heinze
Donald R. Heun
Howard T. Heun
Otto Hibma
James Ivins
Irving R. Kraemer
Edward Le Veen
Herbert Loomis
Philip W. Rosten
Phillip H. Seefeld
Clarke Smith
Lloyd Smith
James I. Weimer
W. Thomas Woodward
Casimer Zielinski


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