This story originally ran in the program for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, where Tim Krumrie was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- A consensus First-Team All-American in 1981.
- Three-time First-Team All-Conference selection.
- Recorded 444 career tackles, finishing as Wisconsin’s all-time leading tackler.
- Coached by Dave McClain.
- Becomes the ninth Badger player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Tim Krumrie, a freshman linebacker from tiny Mondovi, Wisconsin, literally leaped into the spotlight as a Badger rookie. He hardly was comfortable on the sprawling Madison campus before he was thrust into a starting role in the 1979 season opener.
To add to the opening-day intrigue, he had been moved to nose tackle, an undersized one at that at 227 pounds. When his coaches suggested the move, Krumrie, a standout wrestler, merely told them he was unsure about playing in the interior line.
“I am not going to make any tackles at nose tackle,” Krumrie remembers saying. “‘Well, due to your wrestling back ground we think you have great leverage’ and that type of stuff. They put me at that position on second string. And if I was still (on the travel squad), I would go along with it.”
Before the Badgers even played a game, the starting nose tackle ahead of Krumrie was injured in practice.
“So here we go,” he remembers of a 41-20 opening-season loss at Purdue. “I am more intrigued driving in the bus and seeing the stadium and seeing all of those people. Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin… Wow, it is unbelievable. It is really how it happened.”
It was the first of 46 consecutive starts for Krumrie at Wisconsin. He made 444 tackles, 276 of which were unassisted—still a Wisconsin career record heading into the 2016 season. He was named All-Big Ten three times and was a first-team All-American in 1981 when he collected 131 tackles, still a season best for a Wisconsin lineman (through 2015). The Badgers upset top-ranked Michigan in the 1981 season opener, 21-14.
“My senior year I twanged my knee,” Krumrie said of the 1982 season. “I think it was in training camp. It was my choice to go. I wanted that 46 (starts). That really humbled me a little bit. I did well. That was my thing. I said what I lack in strength with this injury, I can make up with hard work and technique.”
During Krumrie’s senior season, the Badgers claimed their first bowl victory in history—over Kansas State in the Independence Bowl, 14-3. Krumrie, the team captain, dominated with 13 tackles, earning Defensive MVP honors in the 1982 capstone game.
A few months later, Krumrie was selected in the 10th round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, and he played his entire career with the club, including one Super Bowl. Following his pro career, the two-time Pro Bowler was an assistant coach for the Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
He benefited from his wrestling background because he could use leverage and wrestling techniques to baffle larger opponents. Krumrie only wrestled his first couple of seasons at Wisconsin because the wrestling coach knew his future was in football. Still, Krumrie would go to wrestling practice, which he said aided him in football.
“The best advice I got from those guys in wrestling was to use your eyes,” Krumrie said. “You have to have your eyes on your opponent all the time. It is nothing more than watching. Finish, finish. You can be in a lock in a situation and be as tired as you can be, but if you finish the match and you work your butt off something good will happen sooner or later.”
He was enshrined in University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2009, he was honored again when the outstanding high school senior defensive lineman award in Wisconsin was named the Tim Krumrie Award.