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La Crosse in La Crosse County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

"Get into the game!"

 
 
"Get into the game!" Marker image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
1. "Get into the game!" Marker
Inscription.  For Coach Walter, "Babe," Weigent this common refrain was not just about football, but about the game of life. A towering figure in La Crosse athletics, Babe encouraged his players to make the most of every opportunity that came their way: work hard, stay tough, and be true to oneself and others. Babe was a coach, athletic director, husband, father, and mentor to dozens of La Crosse athletes from the 1930s to 1970, when he retired from Central High School. His football coaching record was outstanding: under his direction, the reputation of the school's football program ascended to a level it had never seen before. His legacy at Central and in the community at large was so significant that this park, the former site of the "Old Central" High School building, was named in his honor shortly after his death.

A talented athlete himself, Babe excelled in football and basketball as a student at Central from 1921-24, and in 1923 was selected the American Legion State High School Athlete of the Year. He continued his athletic successes at Marquette University, where he was captain of the freshman football and basketball teams.

He
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transferred after one year at Marquette to UW Madison and played varsity football there. He graduated with a degree in Physical Education and in 1933 was hired as a coach by his alma mater, Central High School, after several years coaching at Lake Mills High School. His overall football coaching record at both schools was 110 wins, 58 losses, and 15 ties, with five conference championships. He also coached tennis, baseball, and golf.

A man of many talents, Babe not only left an unparalleled legacy of athletic excellence at Central High School, but he also served his community through numerous volunteer activities. He was a member of the Concordia Aid Society, sat on the Wisconsin State Athletic Board, and was president of the Wisconsin Coaches Association. In the summer, he ran a fishing derby for children, which now carries his name, and he was Oktoberfest's first Grand Marshal and President of the local chapter of the Badger State Sportsman's Club.

Coach Weigent's greatest legacy is several generations of La Crosse youth empowered by his confidence in their ability to achieve excellence through hard work, determination, and commitment. His tireless dedication to youth sports and staunch belief in the character building possibilities of athletics set him apart and his memory is still very much alive in La Crosse. He was a man who coached life skills, not
"Get into the game!" Marker and Babe Weigent Memorial image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
2. "Get into the game!" Marker and Babe Weigent Memorial
just athletics, and this statue is dedicated to his memory.

Photo captions:
Central High School Football Team, 1944. Coach Weigent is seen on the left in a Central shirt. (Photo courtesy of Dick Zischke's daughters, Dianne Hauser and Candy Nehls)

Coach "Babe" Weigent in an office at Old Central. (Photo courtesy of Coach Weigent's Family)

Babe Weigent as first Grand Marshal of Oktoberfest, c. 1967. (Photo courtesy of the La Crosse Public Library Archives)

Coach Weigent speaking at "Babe Weigent Night—50 Year Sports Reunion," held at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium on June 13, 1964. (Photo courtesy of Coach Weigent's Family)

 
Erected 2017 by Central High School alumni, friends, and community members, and the La Crosse Parks Recreation & Forestry Department.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationParks & Recreational AreasSports. A significant historical year for this entry is 1933.
 
Location. 43° 48.515′ N, 91° 13.97′ W. Marker is in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in La Crosse County. Marker is at the intersection of Cass Street and 16th Street South, on the right when traveling east on Cass Street. Located in the northeast corner of Weigent Park in La Crosse. Touch for map. Marker
Weigent Park Sign image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
3. Weigent Park Sign
is at or near this postal address: 1529 Cass St, La Crosse WI 54601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dedicated to the Memory of Veterans of the Civil War (a few steps from this marker); 15th and Madison (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); 16th and State (approx. 0.3 miles away); 15th and Winnebago (approx. 0.4 miles away); 11th and Cameron (approx. 0.4 miles away); 9th and Ferry (approx. 0.6 miles away); 8th and King (approx. 0.6 miles away); Wesley United Methodist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in La Crosse.
 
"Get into the game!" and Memorial Contributors Marker image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
4. "Get into the game!" and Memorial Contributors Marker
Memorial Pavers image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
5. Memorial Pavers
Walter "Babe" Weigent
Teacher - Football Coach
Athletic Director and friend to all
Central High School
1933 - 1970
Walter "Babe" Weigent Statue image. Click for full size.
November 12, 2021
6. Walter "Babe" Weigent Statue
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2021. This page has been viewed 197 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 15, 2021. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 23, 2024