Mr. Joel Nellis co-authors a book

A physical education teacher here at BC, Mr. Joel Nellis is currently co-authoring a book about Badger football walk-ons, which will be published this fall and made available in local book stores. Nellis was a football walk-on himself at Wisconsin. He went through the incredible program first hand. He reached out to Jake Kocorowski, co-author of the book, after seeing his extensive article about several walk-on players and thought they could make their dreams of writing a book about the subject a reality.

The Badgers have an impressive history of football walk-ons who come in without any sort of football scholarship, pay their own full tuition, and work hard to earn a scholarship while attending the university. Some even move on to play in the NFL after college.

“I wanted to tell a story because a lot of times they’re just always the underdog but they’re really good football players and they are really talented athletes, and I kind of wanted to showcase that more,” said Mr. Nellis.

Although they are still in the process of writing it, the project has been going on for a while, with their first interviews taking place about a year ago. Mr. Nellis and his co-author have interviewed about 50-55 different players and coaches, getting their unique perspectives on the program and the process of being a walk-on.
After listening to the stories of several athletes, Mr. Nellis said, “The coolest part about interviewing all these people is at the very end. how appreciative they are of their story being told.”

He says that if it were not for the struggle and the determination to earn a scholarship, he wouldn’t be as successful as he is now in his life and his job. Many of the people he interviewed expressed a similar gratitude for the program, and many are running successful companies, businesses, and doing amazing things in their jobs, which they would have never been able to do without knowing how to really work for something.

Mr. Nellis hopes that if students read the book, they will learn from the hard work and determination of the players. “If not for that process of having to go through that stuff, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and so I think that’s the biggest thing for high school kids, to know that it’s a process, and you have to have some hardship and learn from that and then try to move forward.”