Athletic department develops with help from veteran coaches

When Mike Emendorfer, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s head football coach was hired in 1999, Chancellor David Markee and athletic director Mark Molesworth said to him, “It is going to take time to build this program.”

Emendorfer, who is now coaching his 17th football season, brought the program to a new level by developing a nationally top ranked team four of the last five years.

Several other coaches, along with Emendorfer, have been a part of the athletic department for the better portion of two decades, and witnessed the programs development first hand.

Head volleyball coach Deb Schulman coached her 1000th game a few weeks ago and is in her 28th season at UW-Platteville. Schulman has an overall record of 630-360 and ranks in the top 25 nationally in both career wins and winning percentage.

Head golf coach Pete Reif has been here since 1999 and earned the WIAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002.

Head cross-country and assistant track and field coach Thomas Antczak, in his 22nd year at UW-Platteville, lead the men’s cross-country team to nationals seven times throughout his career. His athletes have also won 44 titles and 10 relay titles since the 2000 season.

Athletic director Mark Molesworth joined the department in 1996. Molesworth directs over 16 sports and 450 student athletes and assisted with funding and designing several of the facilities.

For the last 16 seasons, Emendorfer’s athletes set 40 school records and 10 WIAC records, in addition to earning three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach-of-the-year awards. Emendorfer also implemented “Pillars of the Program” which helps athletes build life skills outside of football.

Emenedorfer said that one of the most rewarding factors as to why he returns season after season is the personal engagement with his student athletes.

“I have a long number of alumni who have contacted me, and I assist them with different things that are going on in their lives, but also, they become friends,” Emendorfer said. “It’s the daily contact with the student athletes such as assisting them and helping them in their personal, academic, and athletic lives.”

Molesworth attributed a large part of his career toward ensuring a quality educational experience for athletes. In addition, he assisted with changes made throughout the athletic department, including the facilities.

“During my time here there have been huge changes. If you look at facilities, we have renovated the stadium, renovated the gym, the indoor track surface, we built a new outdoor track, a new baseball field and made renovations on our softball field,” Molesworth said. “In addition, we have a brand new fitness center and new offices; so from a facility standpoint, almost everything has been touched in one way or another.”

Antczak said when he got here the outdoor track was terrible and now they have one of the nicest outdoor tracks in the upper Midwest.

“It is a great outdoor track,” Antczak said. “A lot of that credit also goes to Chancellor Markee when he was here.”

Antczak, Molesworth and Emendorfer said there are benefits of working with division III athletes. Having had previous experience at the division I and II levels, Molesworth said in those programs, there were situations that did not sit well with him.

“I like the concept of division three, not the fact that athletes are playing because they are on a scholarship, but because they love the sport,” Molesworth said. “Although we also like to win, and be competitive, the most important thing is the student athlete, their educational experience, and what they get out of it.”

Emendorfer, Schulman, Antczak, Reif and Molesworth combine to a total of 102 years of contribution to the student athletes and the development of the UW-Platteville athletic department.

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