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VIDEO | Bittersweet event at UW-WC as coaches/teachers/alumni gather for The Last Shot

West Bend, Wi – It was a bittersweet reunion at UW-Washington County, WI, as nearly 150 students, coaches, teachers, and alumni gathered to reminisce and say goodbye to a longstanding educational tradition in West Bend. Former athletic director and coach Deb Butschlick presided over the Last Shot event which offered those with ties to the Wildcats to acquire trophies, photos, and memorabilia collected since 1968 and give the items a good home.

Roger Peterson was a longtime teacher and tennis coach. “It’s very sad and we’ve had a lot of good years. My participation was a faculty rep for the UW colleges and the tennis team,” he said. “We had a lot of good years, and our conference was the way athletics should be… it was for the children.”

Since 1968, the campus in West Bend, Wi has been the critical first step for students aspiring to earn a college degree. UW-WC provided an ideal university entry point allowing students to remain in their community, pay lower tuition and attend smaller classes taught directly by professors instead of teaching assistants.

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April 27, 2024 – West Bend, WI – The Last Shot event at UW-Washington County was one big reunion as over 150 alumni, student athletes, coaches, and teachers gathered to reminisce about the strong connections made over 52 years as the local University prepares to close its doors for good. Deb Butschlick organized the event as a way to give athletic trophies and photos, collected since 1968, a good home.
The above broadcast featured speakers including Butschlick, men’s basketball coach Steve Murphy, soccer player/coach Marv Wolf, and former interim dean / athletic director / coach Tom Brigham.

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Steve Murphy – “I do want to recognize the amazing leadership we had, and I know Tom Brigham did an amazing job.  A lot of us were fortunate for Deb Butschlick.  She was always organizing things, making stuff happen, she took care of the kids.  She was more than just an athletic director she was a mom to these kids; she was a teacher; she just took care of everything. Those of you that know her understand how important she was to this school and in particular the program.”
Marv Wolf – No. 22
Marv Wolf – “It was really a special time. We had the support here from the administration and all the things that were going on. We always had leadership, we had guidance, we had organization, we had wisdom, we had knowledge, and most importantly was friendship.”
Tom Brigham – “When we started every coach, I had was a faculty member. They did not receive a dime; they volunteered their time. These faculty members realized the value of athletics and how athletics change lives and athletics is a proving ground of how to be a better person. The other point is, if you look at the list of coaches, many of our coaches were prior students on the various teams. Those two elements prove to me that we must have been doing something good on this campus.
“In 2018 we were told by the UW that we were going to sunset the athlete program. I’m not going to get into the politics of it, but it was devastating to me. Then in 2023 we were told we are going to close the campus. We are going to take down the bricks and we are not going to exist anymore.  That is a reality.  One thing they’re not going to take away from me or any of these people are wonderful partnerships and the friends we developed.”

West Bend, WI – It was an eerie feeling walking past the ghostly empty trophy case at UW-Washington County. After opening in 1968 the local University is closing.

In order to salvage some history and do justice to student athletes who worked hard to balance academics and athletics a banquet is being held Friday, April 26, 2024, so people can give State trophies and plaques a good home.

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The event was organized by former Athletic Director Deb Butschlick.  ”I bet if I rolled my old blue couch from my office onto the floor someone would bid on it,” she said.

Butschlick, who had been a part of UW-WC for 33 years, is spearheading an event called “The Last Shot” to give former student athletes a chance to reunite, reminisce, and give all the trophies and plaques a new permanent home.

The event, scheduled for a Friday night in April, aims to bring together former student athletes from as far back as 1968.

Hat tip to volunteers who helped with setup including Deb and John Butschlick, Cayden Butschlick, Tom Brigham, Marv Wolf, and Courtney O’Connell.

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“I got swamped with calls, emails, texts, Snapchats,” said Butschlick, reflecting on the community’s desire to see the school one last time. “We want to be able to see it and go through it one more time.”

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“The Last Shot” will feature a buffet lunch, door prizes, and tours of the school. The unique aspect of the event is the door prizes, which will include trophies from past athletic achievements.

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“Everything’s going to get thrown out, so that’s why this is my way to try to save history,” said Butschlick. “If they want a specific trophy, and they get their number picked, they’ll get a trophy.”

Former coaches expected to attend, include Steve Murphy, Tom Brigham, Mitch Burry, John Minz and others. The event is not a fundraiser but aims to cover expenses.

“The Last Shot” is an adult-only event, where former student athletes are welcome to bring a guest. Attendees can expect a nostalgic trip down memory lane with hundreds of pictures and trophies on display. The event will have a cash bar and opportunities to reconnect with old teammates and coaches.

Join us on Friday, April 26, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium for a buffet dinner and celebration with the athletic community.  A cash bar will be available starting at 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins at 6 pm.

Tours of the campus will be available. Several of the former coaches will also be present. Photos and other items that will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis during the banquet.

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