Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 27, John Coatta


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.

Next up in our countdown, signifying 27 days until college football is back, is John Coatta.

A Deerborn, Michigan native, Coatta quarterbacked the Badgers from 1949-1951.

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Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1951, and was the Big Ten’s leading passer in both 1950 and 1951.

He was the first quarterback in the history of the Big Ten Conference to pass for more than 1,000 yards in a single season, a feat he accomplished in 1951 with 1,030 passing yards.

Coatta had a career completion percentage of 60.2 percent, which remains a top-10 number in the UW record book.

Following college he was drafted in the 16th round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, but he instead went into the workforce and later became a coach.

He was an assistant at Florida State before returning to Wisconsin as an assistant in 1965-66. He later took the head coaching job at Wisconsin, a position he held from 1967-1969.

Coatta’s Badgers struggled to a 3-26-1 record during his time as the head coach. After two winless seasons, the Badgers defeated Iowa 23-17 in October of 1969, and the fans stormed the field and carried Coatta off on their shoulders.

Coatta set a NCAA record for the most winless games to begin a coaching career (23).

He later coached at Mankato State, where he improved his career coaching record to 38-50-3. Coatta later scouted in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.

He died in 2000 at the age of 71.

Who wore No. 27 first?

• Fullback Vern Taylor was the first Badgers player to wear No. 27 in 1927.

Who wears No. 27 now?

• Freshman running back Bradrick Shaw will wear No. 27 this season for the Badgers.

Who wore No. 27 last?

• Safety Vonte Jackson was the last Badger to wear No. 27 in 2014.

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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