A few weeks ago, I received an email request for any old records I might have on Clintonville football from their new head coach, Nick Raasch. I have old files of records and admittedly I did not have much. One name stood out and I scratched my head wondering why I hadn’t done a blog on him when I wrote about multi-sport stars back in early 2021. Maybe because Mike Jirschele played in the mid-70’s and the others were stories from players who stared in the 60’s. Anyway, I began to dig deep and suddenly I had a story…actually, now three. So, here is the third installment:
A special note about another early Clintonville player:
Gladwin “Bobby” Born was a 5’9, 160-pound halfback for the Truckers. A three-year starter from 1945-1947 he was the player that Don Jirschele emulated when he stepped up to the varsity in 1948. Born was quick and he could sweep for bug yardage or dive into the line for short yardage when needed. He once had a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 1946 season opener, a 24-0 win over Wabeno. Back in the 1940’s through the 1970’s coaches and sportswriters from around the state were invited to submit names to a weekly honor roll story for the Associated Press. Born was to be named to 11 out of the possible 15 weekly lists for the 1946 and 1947 seasons. “Bobby” (I couldn’t find out if his middle name was William or how he got the nickname) earned honorable mention to the AP All-State squad in 1946 but in 1947 he was on the first team after rushing 89 times for 837 yards, 9.4 avg. and 11 touchdowns. Not only did Born earn All-State honors but tackle Ed Felschow and guard Bob Nass were named as honorable mention by the AP. The team went 5-2-0 in 1946 and 6-0-1 in 1947.
From the Appleton Post-Crescent...December 4, 1947
Born was a multi-sport star as he led the basketball team in scoring for three seasons, earning all-conference all three years. Admittedly scoring back then wasn’t like it is today but he was the conference third leading scorer as a sophomore and the second leading scorer as a junior and senior. He averaged about 13.5 points per game his senior year. In track he specialized in the 200-yard dash as a junior, but a stomach ailment kept him from competing as a senior. Gladwin was also a very good baseball player. Almost every story about him in 1947 mentioned that he had poor eyesight, so he worn plastic glasses. Total passing stats for him aren’t known but he was accurate from his left halfback position. Against Oconto in 1947 Born tossed the ball for 103-yards and two scores. He was a high percentage outside shooter in basketball, so the glasses were a big help. Born went on to star in football at Ripon. Like Don and Mike Jirschele, Gladwin was a very good student.
On August 18, 1948, the third high school All-Star game was played in Madison and the North squad, for whom Born played for, won over the South by a 7-0 score. On the second play Gene Felker of Milwaukee North Division intercepted a lateral and raced 19-yards for the lone score. He then kicked the extra point, and the scoring was over. Gladwin was the leading rusher in the game, carrying 17-times for 93-yards.
From the 1948 Clintonville Yearbook
A Coaching Parade:
Tony D. Ellis
Gladwin Born’s football coach was Tony D. Ellis a future WFCA Hall of Fame member. Ellis started at Spring Green (Now River Valley), spending nine seasons there. A very small school with often fewer than 100 students, he was able to be successful by working his team hard and through smart coaching. They were often playing schools two to three times larger. The 1930 team went undefeated and outscored their opposition 397 -2. After the 1940 season he moved to Oregon high school where he started the school's football program. He stayed only one year before moving to Clintonville where he spent the next 25-years coaching and teaching science. In 1967 Ellis announced that he was retiring from coaching at the age of 61 with a 100-77-12 overall record at Clintonville. In conference play the school was 73-73-9. That’s a 27-4-3 against non-conference opponents. While a coach he also led basketball, boxing, baseball, track and golf squads. His 35-year football overall record was 150-96-13. Oregon didn’t play a varsity schedule in 1940 so he was 50-19-1 at Spring Green.
One door closes and another opens. Ellis left the coaching profession and in stepped another future Hall of Fame coach. Chet Jurkovac started at Edgerton as an assistant. He then moved to Mineral Point as the head coach for three seasons before taking over for Tony Ellis. While at Mineral Point, he had several very good assistants…future HOF coach Bill Rice who directed McFarland for 33 seasons and future University of Wisconsin head basketball coach, Dick Bennett.
Chet Jurkovac…1994 Appleton Post-Crescent
Jurkovac taught social studies plus physical education as well as coaching golf and wrestling besides football. Besides winning the 1978 state title over Oregon 21-6 his 1976 team went undefeated for the first 10 games before losing 12-7 in the state finals to Menomonee Falls. For many seasons his Truckers were at the top or near the top of the Bay Conference. His teams won 22 consecutive games in the 1970’s and then there were down years in the 90’s when they went winless in 1991 and that was part of a 13-game losing streak. Clintonville was one of the smallest schools in the Bay and it was hard to compete. His overall record, including his time at Mineral Point, was 152-99-2
From 1960-2001 the man who roamed the sidelines of the Clintonville basketball court was another Hall of Fame coach, Carl Bruggink. Inducted in 1980 to the hall he was the youngest man to be inducted, 21-years before he retired. When he retired, he was the 8th winningest coach but over the years he has dropped to #14 but still, his 544-368 record was still impressive. In the 1980s and 1990’s it was rare for his teams not to qualify for State.
He directed the Truckers to the 1977 and 1989 state titles, and they were runner-up in 1976, 1987 and 1988. They made eight trips to State, three times in Division 1 and five times on Division 2. When he wasn’t coaching his team at State, he often was the color-analysts for the state-wide TV broadcasts. The basketball court at Clintonville was dedicated in his honor in 2011. His daughter Sheri married one of Clintonville's former multi-sport starts, Mike Jirschele.
It's not very often that three distinguished men overlapped their careers in the same place. Clintonville seemed to be the right town to coach.