Thus far, my journey has been a challenging one. Finding sources that prove or disprove the question I am trying to answer has been difficult. However, I found 6 or 7 solid sources to help me answer my question: Why was Bill Zorn so significant to Eau Claire? This question is still not permanent yet because I am unsure if I want to change my question. However, the answer to that question has a few different directions, which made it complex. Bill Zorn was so important to Eau Claire because he was so involved at the University. He was Dean of Men, head football, basketball and track coach, and athletic director throughout his tenure at Eau Claire. Zorn was well-liked because he was very successful over the years. He was the most successful during his basketball years. Lastly, Zorn was loved by the faculty/staff at the university and by his players he coached. Everyone talked very highly of Zorn no matter what. Throughout my research, I have yet to hear a negative story about Mr. Zorn. With all of these reasons put together, Zorn made such an impact on Eau Claire that the university named the basketball arena after him. Of course I elaborated on this topics throughout my paper but this is a summary of what I was thinking and what I found out about Zorn.
The third source I have chosen to utilize is an abstract from the Special Collections and Archives online library. This is a summary of what I will find from the Bill Zorn Papers (an archive in the special collections) and I chose this material because I get an overview of the information I will find through the many Zorn folders. Also, I have already dug up some information from the archives that I will be using in my research paper as well but I did not blog about them.
The third source I am using is very valuable because it is straight to the point. There is a lot of information to gain from this abstract so it can only be beneficial. Some information I found was unknown to me. For example, “Zorn was born March 30, 1899 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He attended high school in Stevens Point, graduating in 1918. After high school Zorn attended Stevens Point Normal School and enrolled in the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) during World War I. In 1920, he enrolled at the University of Chicago. On June 30, 1924, he married his high school sweetheart Virginia; they had one son, Bill Jr., and one daughter, Amy Lou” (1). This information is valuable because most of the articles I read from newspapers only discuss his basketball or football success and not about his life. The abstract even mentioned this, “Nicknamed “Mr. Enthusiasm,” he was known for his strong character and leadership both on and off the court” (2). This is helpful because I’m trying to discover his character and why he was well-liked enough that Eau Claire named a building after him.
This source is very reliable and credible because it is found in UW- Eau Claire’s archival collection. I have nothing to argue against this passage about Zorn because it is all factual information. The only issue, I want to know more about why Zorn was so liked. None of the sources really go in to much detail so I will have to use the events and success of Zorn to connect it to his likability on campus. From here I will continue to search through the archives to find more information pertaining to Zorn. This source has been a positive factor in my discoveries but I am thinking about changing my research question to better fit my findings and because I have less broad questions that I would like to address.
Bill Zorn Papers, 1916-1984. AS 393. Special Collections & Archives. McIntyre Library. University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Eau Claire, WI.
The second source I discovered and decided to use was a primary source. I found the article at the newspaper and magazine archives. The reasons I wanted to use this source was because of the significance it has to my exploratory essay and the fact that Ron Buckli, the author, is credible and has been a journalist/writer at Leader Telegram for many years. Buckli had this article published on May 21, 1968.
The main reason for the article was because the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire was celebrating the retirement of Bill Zorn. About 500 friends/players showed up to his basketball coaching and athletic director retirement party. The quote I enjoyed the most from this piece was, “words of praise, skillfully mixed with good-natured barbs and stories from the past, were heaped on Zorn by some of the nation’s leading sports dignitaries during the entertaining program” (Buckli, 1). This quote give the reader a small bit of who was there and how important Zorn was. I also learned a few more things about Zorn through this article. For example, Phillips, the chancellor, presented Zorn and his wife with a brand new stereo and $5,000. Lastly, Zorn did not completely resign from Eau Claire, he continued the Dean of Men position on campus.
I have no argument against Buckli’s article. The only aspect I am unsure of is, since Buckli was a Bill Zorn advocate, he would not write anything not positive about Zorn. This can skew the information about Zorn, however, I am not overly concerned due to Buckli’s ethos.
Based off this article, Zorn was very well perceived by his peers. My question was addressed slightly. “Why was Bill Zorn so significant to Eau Claire?” Zorn was beloved by his peers because he was a great coach and a great person to be around. The individuals in attendance displayed that. Also, after reading this I think I may change my research question slightly. What made Bill Zorn so significant to Eau Claire? This is a subtle change but I think it is enough to help me write my exploratory essay.
Buckli, Ron. “Five-Hundred Pay Tribute to Zorn at Testimonial.” Leader Telegram 21 May 1968. 1. Access NewspaperArchive.com. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
The source I decided to use was a secondary source. The article is called Mr. Enthusiasm by Zachary Ryan, a form student of Eau Claire. The reason I chose this source was for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted to gain some knowledge about Mr. Zorn. Ryan also had posted his works cited, which was very creditable and that shows he did his research. Lastly, he wrote the essay for his History 489 class, which means it is accurate and a professor has also looked over the work before publication. Ryan’s audience includes well-educated individuals looking for knowledge and other college students looking to also gain some knowledge on Zorn. The purpose was to mainly state who Zorn was and what he accomplished while at Eau Claire. Ryan states, “the purpose of my paper is to inform readers on an aspect of institutional history at UW-Eau Claire by giving an overview of a man who shaped the university into what it is today. Not only as a coach, but as a man who at one time held five positions on campus” (Ryan 1). The article was published in 2009 so the relevance and accuracy is up-to-date.
The article based on the argument that Bill Zorn was a successful and well-liked man on the Eau Claire campus and he was a man who changed the university in a positive manner. For example, the start of the essay begins by putting Zorn in a category of fame. “John Wooden, Dean Smith, Bill Zorn” (1). This was a big statement right away because John Wooden and Dean Smith are very well known within the sports world and to put Zorn in the mix with these names had large implications on what Ryan thought of Zorn. Ryan also gives a brief history of Wooden and Smith and how Zorn related to them and can be put in the same category as these legendary figures. Ryan also mentions the beginning of colligate sports and how they began which was a nice transition into talking about Zorn and how he got involved with athletics. The last part of the article that stood out to me was one of his sources. Ryan used the Bill Zorn Papers in his essay, which is located in the archives here at UW-Eau Claire. This shows Ryan creditability because he did the research necessary and the Bill Zorn Papers are what I will be using in my essay as well.
The overall essay was very well-written and states a ton of factual information on Zorn. I was impressed with the set up and execution of Ryan. With that being said, I was still a bit skeptical and hesitate at first. I understood that Ryan was only a student and he had absolutely no situated ethos, therefore I knew nothing about him. The paper was also based around Ryan’s opinion which is okay, however, it led me to be weary. In the end, Ryan showed his knowledge and showed he did extensive research and that showed his invented ethos. He also supported his opinion with factual and reliable information from his sources.
After reading this article I gave gained a lot of information about Zorn. I learned he held five positions while at Eau Claire: football and basketball coach, Dean of Men, athletic director and teacher. Zorn was married and had children plus at one time he coached the football, basketball, and track team (16). Ryan also included Zorn’s success and amiability which led to university naming the basketball and event building after Zorn. There was a lot of information thrown in to the essay and the only thing missing was directness of the paper. Once you can read through the informational history of Ryan’s paper it is easier to comprehend and this is due in large part to his history class in which he was writing this essay for. In closing, I would like to further indulge in Ryan’s paper and completely digest all the material presented. I would also like to further my research by traveling to the archives to do my research on the Bill Zorn Papers as well. I still have a long way to go in discovering exactly who Zorn was and why he was significant to Eau Claire but through Ryan’s paper, I received a good taste of what Zorn was all about.
Ryan, Zachary. Mr. Enthusiasm . Diss. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2009. Print.
My topic for my research paper/exploratory essay is UW-Eau Claire’s Bill Zorn. Some background information on Zorn is he was the basketball coach at EC for almost 40 years and also contributed as football coach for a few years as well. The Zorn Arena, the basketball arena on campus, was even named after Bill Zorn (Zorn Papers, Box 12, Folder 1).
My research question is “Why was Bill Zorn so significant to UW-Eau Claire?” The reason I ask this question is because as a student at EC, I had no idea who Bill Zorn was and had no clue why the university named a building after him. All I really knew was that he had to be important in order to have a building named after him. Lastly, my question is quite broad because I do not know much about Zorn, yet. I have a lot of research to do in order to get a good grasp on my topic and possibly formulate a more solid research question moving forward.
Zorn, B. (1925). Bill Zorn papers.