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Winfred Otto Brockmeyer was born in Mankato, Minnesota on September 16, 1907, the son of Otto and Margaret Brockmeyer. He attended the University of Minnesota where he played football under two legendary college football coaches, Doc Spears and Fritz Crisler. He played halfback for the Gophers in a backfield that included none-other than the fabled Bronco Nagurski. His best college day came in 1928 when he not only gained 166 yards rushing, but scored all the points in the Gophers’ upset of highly ranked Purdue University. He ran 46 yards for one touchdown and passed for two more and UM won 18-0.
After his graduation from UM, he played semi-pro ball with the Minnesota All Stars, but his greatest ability was in coaching, and he quickly gave up his player role to concentrate on coaching. He started at Fergus Falls, Minnesota from 1931–1933 and Faribault, Minnesota from 1933-1937. In 1937, he came to Wausau and found a home. In his forty years of coaching high school football, his teams had a combined record of 265 wins, 43 losses and 14 ties. His record at Wausau High was even better – 230 wins, 33 losses and 9 ties. Over those 34 seasons, his team either won outright or shared in 26 conference championships. “Win” didn’t just win at football. For years he coached basketball, among other sports, and his basketball teams compiled a record of 128 wins against 88 losses, and won the State Championship in his first year with the team.
But, it was at football that he really excelled, and Wausau High’s record in the early to mid-1940s has never been equaled in the state. In 1939, Wausau won seven games and lost one. That one was the last game they would lose for years. In 1940, they not only went undefeated, but outscored their opponents 299 to 12, not giving up a single point until the final quarter of the final game of the year. In 1941, they went undefeated again and then again in 1943 and in 1945. They finally lost a game in 1946, but their winning streak of 46 straight may never be broken. Mr. Brockmeyer's winning percentage of games is .845, making him the winningest football coach in the history of the state of Wisconsin.
Both Football Hall of Famers Elroy Hirsch and Jim Otto learned the basics of football from Win Brockmeyer when they played for him at Wausau High School. Mr. Brockmeyer is, in fact, the only man ever to have coached two members of the NFL Hall of Fame in high school. While coaching high school in Minnesota, he also coached another Hall of Fame member, Bruce P. Smith the only man to win the Heisman Trophy (1941) from the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Brockmeyer was inducted as a charter member into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1980, and in 1984 was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations along with 12 other inductees including Jack Nicklaus and Red Grange. IN 2004 he was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
As coach at Wausau High School from 1937 to 1970, Brockmeyer had a 230-33-9 record. He was undefeated in 13 seasons. His teams won 26 conference titles. In the 1940s, he had a 72-2-4 record that included a 46-game winning streak. A scholarship was later inaugurated in his honor.
The son of Otto and Margaret Brockmeyer, "Brock" was married on Thanksgiving Day 1932 to Helen Mae Date. They raised three children. On March 14, 1980, Mr. Brockmeyer, 73, was on a golf outing in Florida with UW Athletic Director Elroy Hirsch and other members of the UW athletic staff when he was stricken with an apparent heart attack and died. In a tribute to Wausau, the city which Mr. & Ms. Brockmeyer loved so much, both of them were cremated and had their ashes scattered within the city.