By Jordan Kopsky

As a curator for the University Archives at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, John Winchell, 54, works about 40 or more hours a week and a good amount of that time is fulfilling research requests. With his 17 years on the job, he is regularly on the computer and answers a lot of questions about Western’s history. One way he does this is finding files in the 32-foot-high shelves in the back archive room.

Although in 2016 when ESPN’s GameDay came to campus, things changed a little bit.

For Winchell, organization is key. So when the Intercollegiate Athletics Media Office called the Collections Center a week prior to GameDay, it was a little crazy that afternoon. ESPN wanted some old historical photographs to put on its broadcast.

What they were specifically interested in was how the Broncos were once called the “Hilltoppers.”

ESPN wanted the photos “asap” and it was only John and a graphic design student finding the photos. As John found the images, the student scanned them in.

“Where Heritage Hall is now is where our original office was, on top of the hill,” Winchell said. “And so, the whole campus in the teens and the 20s was essentially on that hilltop.”

After World War ll, the university expanded to what we now call the main campus and in 1939, there was a contest to change the name and the “Broncos” won.

“That [ESPN] week, when we got that call, we scrambled around finding photos of perspective from the bottom of the hill [at Heritage Hall] looking up at the original building,” Winchell said.

“It was kind of fun in a way because we were a little part of this big event that was going on at campus.”

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