Bernie Kane had his introduction to Wisconsin wrestling as a freshman at Madison Central High School in 1952. As a three-year letter winner, he compiled a record of 31-13, was a two time state qualifier, and was a sectional champion in 1956. As a college freshman, he won a state AAU title at 191 pounds in March of 1957 while attending UW-Platteville.
A year off to work and a subsequent marriage to Ruth Zimmer led to a return to school at UW-Stout in 1958. While at Stout he assisted in the development and administration of the fledgling-wrestling program. Bernie served as coach during the 1959-60 season when the team earned a 6-5 record finishing fifth in the conference. He earned an 11-1 record in individual competition before an injury shortened his career prior to his graduation in 1961.
His teaching career began in Madison at Sherman Junior High. A transfer to East High School in the fall of 1962 led to an opportunity to begin coaching as an assistant to Rob Reif. His appointment to the head coach position in 1969-70 has led to a dual-meet record of 118-67-1. His record was highlighted by an 11-0 season in 1974-75 that led to a Big Eight Conference Championship.
His East High teams have won five tournament championships with numerous individual titlists. A total of 17 wrestlers have won individual conference titles since the 1969-70 season. A number of individual regional and sectional qualifiers have led to 13 state qualifiers including two state champions and three additional place-winners.
Since the original awarding of the Madison Dual-Meet Championship in 1969-70, East High wrestling teams have won 9 of 15 dual-meet championships and have retired two "Pad" Padgam trophies by winning three consecutive titles.
Don Hafeman, Superintendent, Madison Metropolitan School District, has these words about Bernie, "Coach Kane has been involved in coaching for the past twenty three years and has acquired a fine record. More than wins and losses, however, Coach Kane has made an outstanding contribution to the young men he coaches. Specifically, he coached each of the boys very well and yet differently. He recognized the differences in their personalities and addressed them accordingly.
His sensitivity is what makes the difference between coaching athletes to win and lose or coaching young men to lead confident and productive lives. Coach Kane has the rare ability to make that distinction, and he has earned the respect of those he has coached as well as that of their parents."
Bernie is active in wrestling officiating in the local area at both the high school and collegiate level. He assisted in the organization of the Southern Wisconsin Wrestling Officials Association.