Area football fields reflect honorable men - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area football fields reflect honorable men

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You pass through their gates each Friday to see your beloved high school football team play. Names like Harring, Seaton and Swanson are a part of our high school tradition, but we don't always stop to think about how they came to be a part of our culture here in the Coulee Region.

May this be a brief history lesson then on the influence people can have on their local community.

People like Arcadia's Bill Cashen come to mind when you think of such influence. He's a coach who between 1925 and 1963 won 172 games, 15 conference titles and led 12 teams to undefeated seasons. Twice his team was not scored upon. He also coached basketball for 27 years, going 283-184, coached track for 23 years, and baseball for 36 years. 

He was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985.

Perhaps more importantly though, was the impact he had on his student-athletes in the classroom.

"His greatest asset was his ability to work with the kids and instill that instinct or winning desire," said Jim Crowley, who served as Arcadia's athletics director during Cashen's final years at the school. "He did not like to lose."

Crowley and Cashen worked side-by-side for nearly a decade. Some of their fondest moments together were not on the field, but rather in the legendary coach's office after contests or after school, when they would challenge students to cribbage games. Crowley said the two never lost a game.

"He just had that personality. I don't know what that is, that ingredient," he said. "If you can find out exactly what it is, every coach would be writing it down and try to be successful."

Cashen's presence is reflected throughout the Arcadia campus, and in the press box. If he were here today though, he probably would turn away the recognition.

"It wasn't about Bill, it was about the principles he was trying to teach, the game he was trying to teach," said Bruce Schweisthal, Arcadia's current athletics director. "He didn't want it to be Bill Cashen, Arcadia's Bill Cashen's town. It's Arcadia, and he just wanted good folks coming out of it."

Over in La Crescent, a man credited with developing his school's athletics programs is also fondly remembered. Earl Seaton, who started his career with the Lancers in 1965, served as a teacher, head football coach, athletics director, principal and interim superintendent.

He received many honors, including being named the 1981 Minnesota Athletic Director of the Year, the same year the school's football field was named in his honor.

If you ever watch a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football game or one of the La Crosse schools play on Friday nights, you've probably seen the name Roger Harring at the top of the press box. Harring led the UW-L football team from 1969 to 1999, winning three national championships and 15 conference titles.

Harring was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

There are many other names of course throughout our area, some named after people, others after their namesake towns. Here is only a small list:

Holmen High School: Empire Stadium

Logan High School: Swanson Field

Tomah High School: E.J. McKean Field

Sparta High School: Memorial Park Football Field

Black River Falls High School: Tiger Stadium

Westby High School: Westby City Field

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