Madison hoops history: East state champion 1958 starters

The starting five for Madison East High School basketball team compete in the 1958 WIAA state tournament. From left are Bob Powers, Ron Staley, coach Verlyn Belisle, Pat Richter, Dave Heisig, and Dale Holzhuter.

Visitation and memorial services for former Madison East teacher and coach Verlyn Belisle, who died at age 93 on Sept. 3, are scheduled today and Saturday, respectively.

Visitation is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today (Friday, Sept. 13) and also from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday at Gunderson East Funeral and Cremation Care, 5203 Monona Drive, in Madison.

Services are scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 14) at Gunderson East Funeral and Cremation Care, with Father Robert Evenson presiding.

Entombment will be at Roselawn Memorial Park.

Belisle coached basketball and baseball for many years. His teams won state championships in both sports — 1958 in boys basketball and 1967 in baseball.

Madison East (22-3) defeated Milwaukee North (22-1) 62-59 in the 1958 boys basketball state title game. East topped Superior Central 71-63 in the quarterfinals and Madison West 57-55 in the semifinals, according to WIAA records. Pat Richter was a starter for East. 

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Madison East defeated Sauk Prairie 3-1 in Eau Claire in the 1967 state baseball title game.

In addition to winning city and conference titles under Belisle’s direction, the Purgolders had an undefeated conference title in basketball in 1966.

Belisle, who was born in Madison, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

According to his obituary, Belisle is survived by his wife of 73 years, Lois; son, Verlyn (Jane) Belisle; daughter, Cathy (Brian) Leininger; three grandchildren, Bryce, Travis and Vanessa; three great-grandchildren, Abby, Christian and Jacob; and his brother, Doyle (Sandi) Belisle. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Francis and Arnold Belisle; and sisters, Claudette and Irene.

Memorials in Belisle’s name may be made to the Madison East High School Endowment Fund or a charity of the individual’s choice.


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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.