Wisconsin was dubbed the "Badger State" because of the lead miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s. Without shelter in the winter, they had to "live like badgers" in tunnels burrowed into hillsides. The University of Wisconsin's mascot, Bucky Badger, was adopted in 1889. In 2006, Bucky Badger was inducted as a charter member of the Mascot Hall of Fame's College Division, joining YoUDee from Delaware and Aubie from Auburn.
Wisconsin's football program has been among the most successful in the Big Ten since the early 1990s, when Barry Alvarez was hired as head coach. Under Alvarez, the Badgers won three Big Ten Championships and three Rose Bowls.The Badgers are 11-10 in bowl games, and have made 14 bowl appearance in the past 15 seasons, including a school record seven straight appearances. The Badger football program has had two Heisman Trophy winners: fullback Alan Ameche in 1954, and running back Ron Dayne in 1999.