Powered by tradition.
It’s a phrase that has played such a prominent role in the Warhawk football program’s history.
Bob Berezowitz, who coached football at UW-Whitewater from 1985-2006 will be honored this weekend against UW-Stevens Point. The Student Athletic Complex (SAC) will be named after Berezowitz, who was instrumental in its construction and fundraising according to Athletic Director Paul Plinske.
“I’m really humbled. I don’t know if words can describe it,” Berezowitz said. “The building was very much needed at the time. I had a small office in the service building where I couldn’t even have parents come in with a young man and talk to him. I had to kick the secretary out so I could sit behind her desk.”
Berezowitz was inspired by his situation and crafted the idea of the Student Athletic Complex, which opened in 2003.
“Obviously he’s meant a lot to not just UW-Whitewater football, but the university and the Whitewater community,” Sports Information Director Tom Fick said. “It makes it an appropriate honor. It was his vision that kept Warhawk Stadium a showplace, not just a dream.”
The Warhawk football program would be nowhere without three UW-Whitewater coaches: Forrest Perkins (1956-1984), Bob Berezowitz (1985-2006), and current head coach Lance Leipold (2007-present).
The three coaches’ careers have overlapped. Berezowitz joined Perkins’ staff as an offensive coordinator in 1981. Leipold first coached on Berezowitz’s staff as a quarterback’s coach in 1987, a wide receiver’s coach in 1988 and offensive coordinator in 1990.
Perkins holds the longest coaching tenure in UW-Whitewater history, 29 years, and holds a 190-88-8 record. Since Perkins, the ’Hawks have only had two coaches. Berezowitz was second in line of the tradition of winning that UW-Whitewater is proud to have since 1956.
“The program was always a winner under Perk,” Berezowitz said. “He went the extra mile and built Warhawk Stadium, which is now Perkins Stadium. He’s the second winningest coach in the WIAC, so following him was not going to be easy, but you don’t try to be Forrest Perkins, I tried to be myself.”
Not only did Berezowitz coach, but he also played quarterback for the ’Hawks.
As a quarterback, Berezowitz gained All-American honors and tied the school record for most touchdown passes in a game with five. Berezowitz left UW-Whitewater in 1973 to become the head coach at Evansville High School.
“I had played for Perk, and coached for him and then left to develop my own identity away from Whitewater,” Berezowitz said.
One of the big things that Berezowitz established in his tenure was start a rivalry that Warhawk football fans have known for the past 10 years. Mount Union University and UW-Whitewater started their rivalry in 2005 by facing off in the national championship game.
“Basically we knew we wanted [Mount Union’s] caliber, but we wanted to know what it would take to be at [Mount Union’s] caliber,” Berezowitz said. “Those games were good games for us from a standpoint of telling us what we needed to recruit, and at what level we needed to play.”
Since then, the ’Hawks have been at the Mount Union Purple Raiders’ caliber and beyond, winning three consecutive D-III national titles, all against Mt. Union.
Today, Berezowitz is busy with his 12 grandchildren, but still finds time to mentor high school quarterbacks for Next Level because it’s his passion.
“To be honest, I miss being around the young men, because when you recruit a group of people coming in and they’re with you for 4-5 years, you develop some very close relationships,” Berezowitz said. “Ones that go on for life after…you became a father away from home to the young men.”