Pecatonica, Highland, and Mineral Point High Schools
2017 Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee
High School Coach
September 30 – Wisconsin Dells
Growing up in a home with a teacher, coach, and outstanding athlete for a father, it only made sense that you try to follow in his footsteps. When that man is also your hero, you work as hard as possible to succeed and not let him down. If he is Hall of Famer, Dick Wainwright, you try to do everything with as much dignity and respect for the game as you can.
Mitch Wainwright graduated from New Glarus High School and played football, basketball, and baseball there. He attended UW-Whitewater and earned a teaching degree. His first full-time job was a math position at Pecatonica High School in Blanchardville, which also included the head girls’ basketball coaching position. For fifteen years, Mitch and his assistant, Dave Swenson, worked together to build a team to try and compete with the teams like the Barneveld Eagles and coach Jim Myers. The teams always focused on two areas: defense and being a “team” first. During those years, the Pecatonica Vikings put together a record of 269-85. They also included five conference championships, six regional championships, and five sectional championships. In those five state tournament appearances, his teams were runner-up three times and state champions twice. Two of those teams were also WIAA Sportsmanship Award winners.
Making a career shift into administration meant also moving to a new school district, and in 2002 Mitch left Pecatonica for Highland. For four years he was the middle/high school principal and athletic director. The last two years in Highland, Mitch became the basketball coach for the girls’ program and had a record of 26-18. A new administrative position opened up in Dodgeville and he moved his career again. While working for Dodgeville, the girls’ basketball position opened up in Mineral Point. Before applying for the position, Mitch sat down with his daughter, Tessa, who was a middle school student in Mineral Point, to talk about whether he should apply and if Tessa would like to play for her dad. She said yes and in 2010, Mitch became the new girls’ coach. In eight years at Mineral Point the teams have compiled a 131-61 record with two conference championships, three regional championships, and one sectional championship. In 2016, the Mineral Point girls’ team won the first state championship in program history and was also the winner of the WIAA Sportsmanship Award.
Mitch has many great memories of his coaching career. He was able to share many of them with his mother and father, even coaching against him a couple of times. He is also proud of his children, Tyler and Tessa, who along with his wife, Ellie, made many sacrifices and gave great support through the years. The excitement that was created at both Pecatonica and Mineral Point schools with all the great fan support, t-shirt sales, signs, and the impressive support by each community was fantastic. There are also many memories of players that have gone on to play college basketball, or have enjoyed careers and families of their own. Many of the athletes have maintained great friendships with each other and Mitch. Mitch would also like to share his award with all his players and coaches, especially Dave Swenson, Bill Mitchell, Mike Chambers, and Kaleen McGettigan, along with so many other great people and coaches he has met or been able to work with, including Jim Strommen, Dan Burreson, and Vickie Dahl.
Mitch would like to thank the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association for this humbling honor, but would like to make certain that it is the players that should receive the recognition for his Hall of Fame induction.
(Taken from the WBCA Hall of Fame Induction program)