Time with Badgers, Packers filled with ‘fond memories’ for Lions’ Darrell Bevell

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

As part of the weekly NFL schedule, local media is granted the opportunity to ask questions of the opposing coach. On Thursday, Wisconsin media got a crack at Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell and couldn’t help but drag him down memory lane. 

You see, Bevell is something of an iconic figure across Lake Michigan. In 1994, as the quarterback of the University of Wisconsin, he led the school to its first Rose Bowl victory, 21-16, over UCLA. 

The climax of that victory was a 21-yard touchdown run by Bevell early in the fourth quarter, which ended up being the winning score. 

“I think it’s kinda a little ironic, you know, that the play I’m known for in Wisconsin history was a run since I was not the fastest guy,” Bevell said. “But I have great memories. I see the W, I see the red (paint in the end zone), I see that.

“I had such a great experience there,” Bevell said. “Great coaches, I had a bunch of great teammates I was able to play with and to be able to go into a place, be able to turn it around with a bunch of great people and be able to go, I mean, we hadn’t been to a Rose Bowl in 31 years, the school had never won (one). To be able to go there, to win the game, obviously to make an impact play in that game, it’s close to my heart. I love it. I love to see it. I love it being joked about. I love everything that goes along that play. It’s really fond memories.”

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Two years later, Bevell began his coaching career at Westmar, a small liberal arts college in Iowa. After four seasons at the college level, he returned to the state of Wisconsin as an assistant quarterbacks coach with the Green Bay Packers. 

There he had the pleasure of coaching Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, at least for the latter’s rookie season. That time is filled with many stories, but Bevell shared an amusing one on Thursday about a time he went hunting with Favre — not in Wisconsin, but out west in Utah. 

“I have a cousin that’s down in southern Utah, so we went on a hunting trip down there for cougars,” Bevell said. “We saw a couple, were able to track a couple and it was actually quite an experience. I think we rode horses for like 18 miles first, then jumped off the horses, jumped in a car and started cutting roads and looking for tracks. Found tracks and the dogs were able to go out.

“We were able to find a beautiful cougar to take a look at, and I don’t know if I want to give all the story away, maybe Brett would be able to tell it a little bit better, but he had a bow he was trying to use,” Bevell continued. “I think he only had four arrows and at the end there were no arrows left, but the cougar was still running.”

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