Chuck Regez, former athlete, coach, dies at age 71
Chuck Regez was known far and wide for his love of sports and his ability to excel in so many of them.
That might have been surpassed only by his love of family and friends.
“If you were Chuck’s friend, you were a friend for life,” said UW-Whitewater icon Jim Miller, one of Regez’s many lifelong friends and a fellow Whitewater High School graduate. “He really valued his friendships.”
But that went both ways. And those many friends of Regez suffered a major loss Tuesday with his death at age 71.
Among those feeling the loss was Joe Hart, former Gazette sports writer and Madison Capital Times sports editor, who became one of Regez’s closest friends after first covering the former coach’s Milton High basketball games in the 1970s.
“Chuck was a very good athlete and coach, but even a better guy,” Hart said. “We did a lot of things together.
“He was really calm and soft-spoken. I never saw him get upset with anybody, but he loved to compete.”
Regez is best known as one of Whitewater High’s finest athletes, a member of the UW-Whitewater Athletic Hall of Fame as a seven-letter winner in two sports, and as a dedicated coach and teacher in the Milton School District for 44 years.
As a Whippet, the 1957 Whitewater City High graduate earned nine letters, including four in baseball, three in basketball and two in football. He was an All-Southern Lakes and all-state honorable mention end on the undefeated 1956 football team, a two-time all-conference selection and league scoring leader in basketball, and a member of a conference championship baseball team as a senior—a rarity for the Whippets in those days.
Regez came up under the guidance of Ken Nehring, who was just beginning his storied Whippet career, and grew into the legendary coach’s first star—both in basketball and baseball.
“He was recognized as a very good athlete,” Nehring said. “There was never any question about that, and he was very good at whatever he did.”
That included a successful run as Milton High’s head coach in boys basketball from 1967 to 1987. His teams won seven conference championships, and the 1982 team became the school’s only WIAA state qualifier in that sport.
Typical of all his sports, Regez took his coaching seriously and even taught his mentor a few things—even though Nehring got his 400th basketball career victory by beating Milton, 65-58, in 1985.
“Chuck was real student of the game,” Nehring said, “and I would pick up things from him that he had figured out.”
In one of Regez’s most remarkable games as a player, Wilmot’s undefeated team never quite had things figured out. As a junior, Regez hit the Panthers with a 20-point fourth quarter and 37-point game as the Whippets spoiled Wilmot’s 12-0 record with a 63-62 victory at the Whitewater Armory.
While earning his eventual spot in the UW-Whitewater Hall of Fame, Regez won four letters in baseball and three in basketball. He led the Warhawks to a conference basketball championship as a freshman and pitched three shutout innings in the league championship baseball game.
“Chuck could really hold his own as a pitcher,” Miller said, “and he was a better baseball player that a lot of people realized.”
Milton quickly realized that Regez could succeed in almost any sport. In fact, he coached the school’s teams in five sports—basketball, baseball, golf, tennis and track.
Along with his basketball success, Regez had a 44-16 record for a .733 winning percentage as Milton’s baseball coach. His teams were 23-1 in conference play and won four conference championships in five years.
In recognition for all those efforts and his dedication to the community, Regez was inducted into the Milton Area Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006—an honor so many people knew he richly deserved.
“He was just an all-round good guy,” Nehring concluded.