MILWAUKEE (WITI) — 2014 — a year with so many twists and turns. The sports world gave us joy, anger, excitement and disappointment. You can’t go a single month in Wisconsin without some sort of significant sporting event, and here’s your proof:
January 2014: The Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers seasons were coming to an end. On New Year’s Day, the Badgers fell to the Gamecocks in the Capital One Bowl. A few days later, the football seasons came to an end when the 49ers knocked the Packers out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round, winning 23-20.
On the high school basketball court, Germantown was riding a 69-game winning streak, the longest high school streak in the country. Brookfield Central taught us there’s still a reason to play the games. On a Tuesday night, the Lancers slayed a dragon.
February 2014: Former Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship and after serving a league-mandated suspension for abusing Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, Brewers’ Ryan Braun showed up in Maryvale, Arizona ready to play ball. Of course, his arrival was overshadowed by a furry four-legged addition to the team: Brewers Hank.
March 2014: It was a big year for Milwaukee-area high school hoops teams. Germantown, Wisconsin Lutheran, Brown Deer and Dominican all won WIAA state titles in their respective divisions. March Madness was all the craze in Wisconsin. The UW-Milwaukee Panthers got a bid — losing in the first round. Later in the month, they lost their chance to repeat in 2015 for violating academic standards. The Badgers went all the way to the Final Four, but lost to Kentucky at the buzzer. Marquette University didn’t go dancing, but they still lost. After six seasons, head coach Buzz Williams took off for Virginia Tech. The Milwaukee Wave lost their head coach in March 2014. Keith Tozer and the Wave parted ways after 22 years. On the very last day of the month, the Brewers started the 2014 season with a bang.
April 2014: The Milwaukee Brewers won 20 or 28 games and sat solidly in first place. Big news came this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. Former Senator Herb Kohl was selling the team to two New York City hedge-fund billionaires: Wes Edens and Marc Lasry. Meanwhile, Marquette University welcomed former Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski as the Golden Eagles new head coach.
May 2014: Packers General Manager Ted Thompson shined with a draft class worth bragging about. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix led the bundle of new rookies to Green Bay, and the Packers drafted their hometown kid: Badgers wide receiver and Watoma native Jared Abbrederis. Unfortunately, Abbrederis later torn an ACL in training camp, and started his professional career on injured reserve.
June 2014: The Milwaukee Bucks won the second overall pick in the NBA Draft lottery, and they used it wisely — taking Duke forward Jabari Parker. That wound up being another feel-good story with a not-so-good ending. Parker tore his ACL in December. He lasted less than two months in his rookie showing.
July 2014: Just before starting Training Camp, the Bucks’ new owners announced they hired Jason Kidd as the new Bucks’ head coach. Then, they fired Larry Drew. It was a busy July, as it normally is when the weather is nice. The AVP Pro Beach Tour swung through Milwaukee. Tri Bourn and John Hyden took the men’s title. April Ross and Keri Walsh Jennings took the women’s crown. Miller Park saw professional soccer for the first time. Chivas and Swansea City played their exhibition game in Milwaukee. Also in July, the Brewers, still hanging onto first place, sent four players to the All-Star Game. Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Francisco Rodriguez represented the Brew City in Minneapolis.
August 2014: It was still summer, but August started with a chill. The Ice Bucket Challenge swept the country — and just about every Milwaukee athlete showed their support in the effort to raise money for ALS. It may have been a bit late this year, but the IndyCar race zipped through the Milwaukee Mile. Will Powers took the checkered flag and later won the series championship.
September 2014: The Milwaukee Brewers finished off an epic slide — going from first place with a 90-plus percent chance of making the playoffs to third in the Central Division — missing the playoffs completely. To end the month, the Packers lost to the Lions to start the season 1-2, which brought about the “R-E-L-A-X” rallying cry from QB Aaron Rodgers.
October 2014: Matt Kenseth showed us how to deal with work problems — getting into an all-out brawl with fellow NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski.
November 2014: Wisconsin Lutheran won the Division III football title — the Vikings bringing the only gold ball back to the Milwaukee area. In Madison, running back Melvin Gordon exploded — breaking the single-game rushing record at Camp Randall, only to have it broken a week later.
December 2014: The Badgers beat Minnesota to win the Big Ten West Division Championship, but they lost badly to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. To add insult to injury, Coach Gary Andersen left the program to take the head coaching job at Oregon State. In came new head coach Paul Chryst. Meanwhile, Lance Leipold led to UW-Whitewater Warhawks to a second straight Division III championship. He then moved up the ladder — heading to Buffalo for a much-deserved Division I head coaching job.
As 2014 comes to an end, the Packers are back in the playoffs — hoping to make 2015 a year to remember.