Sept. 14, 2010
CHICAGO, Ill. -- Former University of Michigan football great Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch (1942-46) was selected by the Big Ten Network as the 25th greatest student-athlete in conference history as part of the "Big Ten Icons" series. The program counts down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history based on their collegiate playing careers.
Hirsch, whose collegiate career was interrupted by World War II, starred at Wisconsin and Michigan from 1942-46. As a sophomore, Hirsch's big-play ability helped the Badgers roll to an 8-1-1 record. He scored long highlight reel touchdowns against Notre Dame, Marquette, Colorado, Ohio State and Northwestern. A threat to run, pass or catch, the Wausau, Wis., native finished that season on Look magazine's All-America team. After the 1942 season, Hirsch was assigned to Ann Arbor, Mich., for military training but was permitted to compete for Michigan. There, he helped the Wolverines to an 8-1 record and a Big Ten title. He was also the only student-athlete in Michigan history to letter in four sports in the same year -- football, basketball, baseball and track. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 1984.
Hirsch developed his nickname "Crazy Legs" for his unique running style as a member of the Badgers. He was drafted by the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference, where he played from 1946 to 1948. After a merger with the NFL, Hirsch was a member of the Los Angeles Rams until 1957, becoming the first player to establish the flanker position and also helping the Rams to the NFL championship in 1951. That year, he finished with 66 receptions, 1,495 receiving yards (a then-NFL record) and 17 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 with 387 career receptions, 7,029 yards and 60 touchdowns. He was a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1950s.
Big Ten Icons 50 through 21 are being unveiled through Sept. 16 at BigTenIcons.com. The website features essays, video and other facts about each student-athlete's career. Viewers also can participate in the "Talk of the Locker Room" contest with a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Weekly winners take home a 55-inch Phillips HD television.
The television series, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 9 p.m. every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament.
Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423