Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 78, Ross Kolodziej


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

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Next up in our countdown, signifying 78 days until college football is back, is defensive lineman Ross Kolodziej.

The Stevens Point native spent 1997 to 2000 with the Wisconsin Badgers, helping the Badgers earn a pair of Big Ten and Rose Bowl Titles in 1999 and 2000. Wisconsin went 3-1 in bowl games during his tenure, in which he started 45 games along the defensive line.

Kolodziej excelled in the weight room, and to this day holds lifting records at UW for a defensive player in both the squat and clean.

Following college, he was drafted in the seventh round (No. 230 overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He spent time with the Giants, the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals and the Minnesota Vikings over the course of a seven-year NFL career.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

He later played for the Las Vegas Locomotives and the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.

Kolodziej joined Paul Chryst’s staff at Pittsburgh in 2013 in an assistant’s role, and was promoted to head strength and conditioning coach in 2014. He followed Chryst to Wisconsin, where he is now the Badgers head strength and conditioning coach.

Who wore No. 78 first?

• Tackle Reginald Ritter first wore No. 78 for the Wisconsin Badgers in the 1927 season.

Who wore No. 78 last?

• Wisconsin offensive lineman Rob Havenstein wore No. 78 from 2011-2014. He was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

Next: Wisconsin Football Experience

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