A reader flipping through the pages of the La Crosse Tribune on March 4, 1950 might just have missed a great sports action photo buried on Page 10, the back cover. It’s a great photo because it shows real action — and it doesn’t hurt that one of the key players is David D. Hanneman of Mauston High School.
March 1950 was high school basketball tournament time. Mauston High School was one of the host venues for sub-regional tournament play for Wisconsin’s public schools. The action photo was actually from March 3, 1950, the second day of the sub-regionals; a game in which Mauston knocked off Hillsboro 45-37. In the photo, Hillsboro center Allan Wheeler grabs a rebound over the outstretched arm of Hanneman, wearing No. 24 for the Mauston Bluegold. Although he did not score in the contest, Hanneman, the Mauston center, held the prolific scorer Wheeler to just 9 points. Just a day prior, Wheeler scored 22 points in Hillsboro’s loss to La Crosse Central.
Mauston ended its season after going 1-1 at the sub-regional tournament. In the first game on March 2, Tomah stormed back from an 11-point deficit to clip Mauston 40-36. Tomah won the sub-regional title the next day by whipping La Crosse Central 67-47.
This photo from 1948 or 1949 has a classic sports-pose look to it. The varsity basketball squad from Mauston High School looking eagerly at Coach Bob Erickson, who cradles the ball like it’s made of gold. It’s so much more interesting than the stereotypical team photo with athletes lined up in rows.
My father, David D. Hanneman, was a multi-sport, multi-year letter winner at Mauston High School from 1947-1951. It was very common to have multi-sport athletes at small-town high schools. A core of the young men in this photo played basketball together in grade school before moving on to high school junior varsity and varsity play. These same fellows came together with classmates for Mauston High School reunions for more than 55 years. That’s teamwork!
In the 1950-51 basketball season, Mauston advanced to the sub-regional level of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) tournament on March 1 in Tomah. In the first game, Mauston rallied with a 23-point third quarter to defeat Richland Center, 55-53. Tom Rowe led Mauston scorers with 15 points.
In the sub-regional championship game March 2, Mauston ran into a buzzsaw called La Crosse Logan High School. The Bluegold lost big, 72-36. After trailing 8-1 early in the game, Mauston pulled to within five at the end of the firsts period. In the second period, Mauston got as close as three points, 20-17, but then the game got out of hand.
Logan led 29-19 at halftime, according to the game recap in the La Crosse Tribune. At the start of the final quarter, Mauston trailed 50-24. Five Mauston players fouled out of the game. The leading Mauston scorer was Roger Quick with 8 points, while Tom Rowe, Bob Jagoe, Bob Randall and Dave Hanneman each had 5 points. La Crosse Logan made it to the regional tournament finals before losing to Onalaska, 58-56.
One of the best games of that 1950-51 season came on December 19, a 61-42 decision over conference rival Westby. “Big Dave Hanneman had himself a field night for MHS as he hoisted in eight buckets and added four free throws for scoring honors,” read the game recap in The Mauston Star. “Jagoe collected 15 points and Randall had 9 — he scored the first 9 points of the game for MHS.”
Coach Erickson was still fairly new during my Dad’s time at Mauston High School, but he went on to become a legend as a coach and teacher. A 12-time letter winner at Platteville State Teachers College (now UW-Platteville), Erickson was named to the UW-Platteville athletic hall of fame in 1980. He came to Mauston in 1947 after serving in World War II, starting a 13-year tenure at Mauston High School. Erickson coached boxing, basketball, football and baseball. He also served as Mauston’s athletic director. He died in July 2003 at age 82.
The 1947 football campaign was destined to be one for the ages at Mauston High School. The photo gallery below could be from that championship season, based on the youthful appearance of my Dad, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007). Dad was a starter for the Mauston Bluegold, even in his freshman year.
Dad played guard and tackle throughout his high school football career. But as is the case on small-town football teams, boys play both offense and defense. Many of the players would switch positions, depending on the opponent and game conditions.
Mauston ran up a 7-1 record in the 1947 football campaign, gaining them a share of the West Central Conference championship crown. Mauston was 3-1 in conference play. Midway through the season, Mauston ranked as one of the state’s highest-scoring teams. Here’s the 1947 season recap:
Sept. 12 Mauston 12, Reesdburg 0
Sept. 19 Mauston 25, Middleton 6
Sept. 26, Mauston 20, New Lisbon 12
Oct. 3, Mauston 13, Tomah 0
Oct. 10, Mauston 45, Westby 6
Oct. 17 Sparta 14, Mauston 7
Oct. 24 Mauston 37, New Lisbon 0
Nov. 1 Mauston 13, Viroqua 0
Bob “Jigger” Jagoe, who played quarterback for Mauston starting in the 1948 season, recalls how Dave’s mother, Ruby V. Hanneman, was zealous in her cheering.
You could hear her in the stands, shouting. She was so proud. Of course we used to kind of make a mockery of it, because she was so adamant, letting everybody know who her son was out there who made the tackle. They announced, ‘Tackle made by Dave Hanneman’ and she said, ‘That’s my Davey!’
In the 1950s, home football games were played at Veterans Memorial Park on the south end of Mauston. This locale looks much closer to downtown, so I’m betting these 1940s games were played in Riverside Park along the Lemonweir River. In several of the photos you can see the distant spire of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
— This post has been updated with quotes and other information.