I'm coming up on 73, so my memory includes players like Elroy Hirsch, whom you were fortunate enough to meet at the University of Wisconsin. I saw Hirsch play with the L.A. Rams and opposite a great receiver from UCLA, Tom Fears, while catching passes from Bob Waterfield (one of UCLA's greatest quarterbacks) and Norm Van Brocklin. Not a bad gig, all things considered.
If you ever get a chance to see the movie Crazylegs, All American, I recommend it. Hirsch plays himself, and Waterfield, along with a few other members of that Rams team, is also in the film. (It was made in 1953, so I don't know whether it's still available on Netflix or similar sites.) At any rate, I was an avid fan of the Rams before I moved to Northern California in the '70s and the 49ers became a consuming passion for me.
I agree that Hirsch was a great athletic director at Wisconsin, and if memory serves — it doesn't always — he was previously the general manager of the Rams, a job that didn't work out as well, I think.
In an effort to get past the loss to Florida, which still rankles, I looked up a story about Hirsch that was written by Bob Oates, a great sportswriter for the L.A. Times who died in 1993. Oates brought an analytical eye to pro football. I don't remember ever being disappointed with a story he wrote — not once.
This story, written in 1988, compares the era in which Hirsch played with the times in which Jerry Rice's star burned brighter than maybe anyone else's in the NFL. Oates also wrote a story once in which he said no one — not even Rice — could compare with Hirsch in making an over-the-head catch. As I recall, Oates said Hirsch would throw back his head — not turn his head — while running at full speed and catch the ball as it appeared in front of him. I couldn't find that story, but you may have better luck.
And incidentally, that Rams team I spoke of earlier had several other UCLA players, I think. One was Don Paul, a great linebacker.
Back to our alma mater: spring practice is almost here for Jim Mora's team; Go Bruins!