Darin Lottig is taking his illustrious high school boys basketball coaching record to Lake Geneva Badger.
Darryl Rayfield will succeed Lottig at East Troy, where the Trojans return the bulk of their talent from last season’s 22-2 team that won the school’s fifth straight conference championship.
In succeeding Tom Dummer at Badger, Lottig will take over the varsity program in the district where he has taught middle-school physical education since graduating from Winona State University in 1995.
“It was a difficult decision to leave East Troy, with all the talent they have and the love I have for those kids, but I live in Lake Geneva, teach in Lake Geneva, and my son goes to school in Lake Geneva,” Lottig said. “So it was a move that all made sense.”
Lottig, a 1989 Walworth Big Foot High School graduate, compiled a 122-59 record in eight seasons as East Troy’s head coach. His teams were 99-18 the last five years in winning two Southern Lakes Conference championships and three Rock Valley North titles, including a 46-2 record against Rock Valley opponents.
Monroe’s last-second basket for a 54-53 victory in the WIAA Division 2 sectional finals kept Lottig’s 21-3 team out of the 2008 state tournament. East Troy’s 21-4 team lost to eventual Division 2 state champion Waukesha Memorial in the 2010 regional finals, and the Trojans lost 68-65 in overtime to eventual Division 3 state runner-up Racine St. Catherine’s in the regional finals of the WIAA’s new five-division format this past season.
St. Catherine’s and Whitefish Bay Dominican have captured six of the eight straight Division 3 state championships won by private schools since 2004. Both were in East Troy’s sectional last season, but that will change next March when the Trojans are shifted to the Middleton Sectional in Division 3, which was won last season by Lakeside Lutheran.
From an East Troy standout, many would perceive that as a less-difficult road to the state tournament, but “that wouldn’t have affected my decision,” Lottig said.
Instead, he is looking forward to rebuilding the traditionally strong Badger program, which competes in Division 1. The Badgers were in the 2008 state tournament, but they have slipped to 7-17 and 3-20 the last two years.
“We have a lot of work to do to go in the direction we want to go,” Lottig said. “But it’s going to be nice to walk into the local gym as the coach.”
Meanwhile, Lottig will be walking into a what appears to be a familiar situation. Similar to his East Troy program, Badger has a long-established reputation of thriving on strong three-point shooting and a transition game.
“I feel like I’ll be right at home here,” Lottig said.
And the excitement is shared by Badger athletic director Jim Kluge.
“We look forward to Darin bringing his style and his tradition to Badger,” Kluge said.
Rayfield also brings a strong basketball background to East Troy. He was an All-Southern Lakes East player for Wilmot in 1977 and 1978, and his son, Rion, was a star player on Burlington Catholic Central’s 26-1 team, which won the 2006 WIAA Division 4 state championship.
Darryl, who lives in Lake Geneva and is a full-time basketball fundamental skills instructor, has spent much of his time in recent years following Rion’s outstanding career at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla. He also has been a longtime basketball assistant at numerous area high schools, including Catholic Central in its state championship season and later at East Troy.
“I’ve been around and am well aware of the success the East Troy kids have had,” Rayfield said. “Even when they were younger, I got to know them.’’
Rayfield also knows the expectations that come with East Troy’s 2011-12 season and welcomes the challenge.
“The expectations are extremely high and have been the last several years—and with good reason,” he said. “With a lot of ability, that’s the way it should be, and we know that.’’
Rayfield also knows that sectional tournament alignment isn’t the bottom line.
“I really don’t pay any attention to that,” he said. “I just concern myself with the things we have to do to be successful.”