The leader of the Pack: "Big Dog" a Madison College legend - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

The leader of the Pack: "Big Dog" a Madison College legend


MADISON (WKOW) -- He's become a true legend in Madison College athletics. Gary Breneman -- or "Big Dog," as he's known -- has been there longer than any coach, as an equipment manager and scoreboard operator for the basketball and baseball teams.

Over the years, he's brought much more than clean towels and water to the WolfPack.

"I enjoy doing it. It's just like a hobby for me," says Big Dog.

For 37 years, he's devoted his life to helping out with Madison College athletics.

"I asked Fred Williams the baseball coach if I could help out, and they said it was fine with them. So I just kept going after that," he says.

Big Dog used to take the city bus to get to campus, but last month the baseball team helped raise nearly $2,000 to move him much closer to the ballpark; in fact, he now lives just 75 steps away.

To understand why college students would raise so much money for one man, all you have to do is go to a game.

Big Dog is a celebrity in these parts, with special handshakes between him and the players, and about a zillion nicknames, which he can rattle off one by one.

"I just feel like I'm just a big part of the team. Everybody rallies around me when I get there," he says.

"Big Dog really is Mr. Madison College, there's no way around it," said Mike Van Veghel, athletic trainer at Madison College. "He never has a bad day, he's always smiling, he always cares about you and your day, as well as every athlete that we have here."

Once the game begins, no one cheers louder; no one pays closer attention.

"I like deuces: 2 balls, 2 strikes, 2 outs -- and aces, 1 ball, 1 strike, 1 out!" says Big Dog.

"We strike out and want to throw the bat into the woods and then there's Big Dog sitting there with a smile, telling us a joke, so it lifts you up and makes you relax," said Jon Dybevik, Madison La Follette grad and infielder for the WolfPack.

Sometimes, there's a special treat when Big Dog fills in to announce the players as they step up to bat.

"You hear the music and you're like 'All right, I'm in the zone,' and then you hear Big Dog say your name and it's like, 'Let's do this; let's get this one for Big Dog!'" said Eric DuCharme, outfielder for the WolfPack.

"I like all the players. They're good friends. We all get along together. They treat me like family," says Big Dog..

And in this family of wolves, there's no question Big Dog is the leader of the Pack.

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