Camp Randall.

Wisconsin Badgers: Top 5 Individuals of the 2015-16 Year

It’s been quite a year for UW-Madison athletics. From the end of an era in Bo Ryan’s coaching career to an epic Holiday Bowl win to numerous successes in other sports, many standout athletes and coaches have proven their worth. Now, as the academic year comes to a close, it’s clear that there are a few that have stood above the rest. Here are our top five individuals, notably athletes and coaches, from the 2015-2016 academic year.

  1. Football: OLB Joe Schobert

    Joe Schobert has led the nation's best defense (courtesy of
    Schobert led one of the top defenses in all of college football and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. (Photo courtesy of

It was a career year for Schobert, who was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft and will be heading to play professionally in Cleveland. He was voted team MVP after recording 19.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 79 total tackles. In big games, Schobert stepped up – he recorded 13 tackles and two sacks against Alabama, sacked Iowa standout C.J. Beathard three times and matched with 13 tackles against Northwestern. His clutch moments, including a crucial interception against Minnesota and a 57-yard rush against Maryland, spurred the team to a 9-3 regular season record and rose his draft stock.

Honorable Mention: Head coach Paul Chryst and his staff for their work in recruiting the 2016 and 2017 classes. 

  1. Women’s Soccer: Midfielder Rose Lavelle

    Lavelle was recently called up once against to the USWNT. (Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer)

Already an accomplished athlete, Lavelle stood out as a member of the successful women’s soccer team and earned herself a berth to play as part of the United States Women’s National Team. She finished 2015 as one of the most accomplished collegiate women’s soccer players in the country, earning such honors as Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, NSCAA First Team All-American, and Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. She registered seven goals and three assists in 19 games, along with 78 shots on goal to lead the team. To end the year, she was ranked the #2 player in women’s college soccer.

  1. Women’s Hockey: Coach Mark Johnson

    Head coach Mark Johnson talks with players (left to right) Angie Keseley (21), Erika Lawler (13) and Hilary Knight (23) from the bench as the Wisconsin Badgers women's hockey team plays Robert Morris University at the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Oct. 5, 2007. Wisconsin won, 3-0. ©UW-Madison University Communications 608/262-0067 Photo by: Jeff Miller Date: 10/07 File#: D200 digital camera frame 3504
    Johnson led the women’s hockey team to the Frozen Four. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Miller, UW-Madison University Communications)

Badger Women’s Hockey may have been the most successful Badgers team this year, and it’s in huge part to a great coaching job by Johnson. The team finished with a 35-4-1 record and made it all the way to the Frozen Four, losing in devastating fashion to rival Minnesota. Johnson led the Badgers to an undefeated record in LaBahn Arena and 18 shutouts, including nine straight from October 10th until November 13th. Forward Annie Pankowski was invited to the U.S. Women’s National Team, and junior goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens was named USCHO Player of the Year. Additionally, the team’s 35 wins were the most since 2010, and their 24 wins in conference tied a school record.

  1. Men’s Basketball: Coach Greg Gard

    Gard led an improbable season in Madison. (Photo courtesy of Zach Rosen, SST)

Perhaps the most turbulent Wisconsin team this year, men’s basketball reached some of its highest highs and lowest lows in 2015-2016. After Bo Ryan’s surprise retirement immediately following a home win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Gard inherited a team that was 7-5 with home losses to Marquette, Milwaukee and Western Illinois. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle: The Gard-coached Badgers finished the regular season with a 13-7 record during the regular season, including a 12-6 record in the extremely competitive Big Ten. Upsets over Michigan State, Indiana and Maryland brought hope back to a dejected fan base, and the Badgers were mere seconds away from a third-straight Elite 8 appearance before a close loss against 6-seed Notre Dame. Wisconsin now enters next season as a potential Big Ten favorite, and Gard was rightfully named head coach.

  1. Men’s Wrestling: Isaac Jordan

    Wrestler Isaac Jordan is our individual of the year. (Photo courtesy of

No Badger had as dominant a season, however, as men’s wrestler Isaac Jordan. A staple in the 165-lb. division, Jordan went 29-0 before losing his first match of the season against #1 ranked Alex Dieringer in the NCAA Championship. He was a Big Ten Champion (9-0 record), All-American, and finished with an 11-1 record against ranked opponents in his weight category. Despite a rough season for the team, Jordan’s personal accomplishments allowed him to gain national recognition for his efforts.

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