Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Coaching: It’s a family thing for Witzenburg

By Justin Webster | Mar 12, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Witzenburg also coaches hurdles for the track and field team in spring and assists with softball in the summer.

Coaching is definitely a family legacy for Fairfield girls’ basketball head coach Brian Witzenburg. His parents Bob and Joyce have both coached, and his sister Penny and her husband Roman Foore coach softball.

The Ledger spoke with the team skipper after the banquet about his historic first year, and his preparation to coach hurdles for the Trojan Track and Field team.


Q) You got emotional a couple of times, talk about why this matters so much to you?

Witzenburg: I try not to get emotional, but this is something special. They wanted to be here all season long and there is just something special about this group.


Q) What’s going to be your best memory in 10 years when you remember this team?

Witzenburg: You are always going to remember that you made it to State your first year as a head coach. But, I got a letter from my mothers college coach, Bob Spencer, who was the coach at Parson’s College in 1972.

It was just a letter of advice and things like that and it was really neat and wasn’t something that he didn’t have to do, but he did when he heard that I got the job. I’ll never forget that.


Q) What is next for the basketball program?

Witzenburg: We have some stuff put together for the summer. We’ll play a couple of weekends, but we’re not going to burn them out though. I want their love for it to burn and them to be ready to roll next year. I don’t want them sick of it before the season starts.


Q) Do you have an advantage since most of these girls play sports year round and you don’t have to keep them active all year?

Witzenburg: Right. If I do that, then they get sick of my voice. That’s when basketball gets long and I don’t want to do that to any of them. We try to keep it fresh and keep their minds fresh and I don’t want them walking into the season thinking that they’ve already played the season. We want that burn for basketball to be there all season.


Q) Talk about the importance of reaching the quarterfinals in Des Moines for the future girls’ teams.

Witzenburg: Absolutely. Usually it’s the first hurdle that matters and it’s hard to get over the first one. Now all of the girls, especially the seventh and eighth graders have seen it can be done and some pressure has been lifted off of their shoulders and now it’s not “Let’s get there,” but it’s “Let’s keep this going.”


Q) Coaching hours are long, what’s next for you?

Witzenburg: I’m still the hurdles coach in track. I just got back from Florida, watching my daughter play softball for Wartburg. I’ll get right into track and then I coach softball. It gets long but my family is great and understanding and I try to be there for them also.


Q) Give a shoutout to the people who helped you get here.

Witzenburg: My family. It wouldn’t be done without them.

My wife Karen, My kids Emmett, Letty, Haley.

Those are first and foremost. My mom and dad were at every game. They’re down in Florida right now watching my sister Penny coach softball. She coaches division three and just got hired to coach USSSA Pride.


Q) So coaching is a bit of a family thing?

Witzenburg: Absolutely. My mom and dad both coached so many years. It’s just kind of in us to coach and win. We don’t lose very often.


Q) Is this season more bragging rights to say at Thanksgiving, “Look, I’m a winner, too!”?

Witzenburg: I try to one up but, it seems like my sister always gets me. She just got hired [Saturday] with my brother-in-law to coach professional softball and coach the best team in the world. It’s great conversation and it’s just fun to have as a family.

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