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John E. Erickson

Class of 1949

Awarded in 2005
At Large Award

Johnny Erickson, as he is known to generations of Beloit graduates, is a dynamic example of the Pop Warner adage that “you play the way you practice.” He stands today as an icon of Beloit College, representing not only the greatness of Beloit’s athletic programs, but also the residential and academic philosophy of engagement, leadership, and the development of human potential. As an undergraduate, he became one of the most celebrated basketball players during the reign of the legendary Dolph Stanley, while serving as president of Beta Theta Pi and a member of the Turtle Mound Society and other academic and leadership organizations. He was the driving force and chairman of the campaign that led to the construction of the Beloit College Sports Center. A government major influenced by Prof. Ivan Stone, he ran for the United States Senate in 1970. Beyond Beloit, he has been a model as a coach, business and sports executive, and guide for young athletes throughout their challenging years of competition and celebrity. He has directed the Big Eight Collegiate Conference, served as head coach at the University of Wisconsin for a decade during which time he was named Midwest Coach of the Year, and was general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, leading the team to the NBA national championship. A leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for more than 15 years, he has inspired athletes of all ages with his commitment to the highest values and standards of sport and society. Beloit College is proud to have John Erickson of the class of 1949 on its team and to award him the Distinguished Service Citation.