Wolverine And Badger
Hirsch grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin. "His first challenge as a skinny high school running back in Wausau had been those crazy legs of his," it says on a Web site devoted to a road race named in his honor, the Crazylegs Classic. "One foot points out farther than the other, so he was the halfback who wobbled as he ran." "Hirsch ran like a demented duck," Francis Powers wrote in the Chicago Daily News about Wisconsin's 13-7 win over Great Lakes Naval Station at Chicago's Soldier Field in 1942. "His crazy legs were gyrating in six different directions all at the same time during a 61-yard touchdown run that solidified the win."
At Wisconsin, Hirsch starred as a running back, teaming with Pat Harder to help the Badgers flourish in the grind-it-out Big Ten. In 1942, Wisconsin sported a 8-1-1 record, good for second place in the Big Ten and third nationally in the final Associated Press poll. It was, however, Hirsch's only season with the Badgers. The U.S. Marines sent Hirsch to training program at the University of Michigan the following year, where he also earned All-America honors. At Michigan, he became the only Wolverine athlete to letter in four sports (football, basketball, track, and baseball).
He was the most valuable player in the 1946 College All-Star Game at Chicago's Soldier Field as he led the All-Stars to a 16-0 upset victory over the Rams in a game that annually pitted the top rookies against the defending NFL champions. (The game was discontinued in 1976).