Jennah Hartwig left an indelible mark on Janesville Parker’s girls basketball program.
She led the Vikings to the program’s first WIAA state championship in 1993 and was named the Associated Press’ state player of the year.
In 2015, after serving as Tom Klawitter’s top assistant for four years, she succeeded her high school coach and mentor as head coach. She led the Vikings to a 14-10 record that first season, and her 2017-18 team advanced to a Division 1 sectional semifinal before losing to eventual state runner-up Mukwonago.
Hartwig resigned Friday after six seasons as head coach. She said family and her career took precedence.
“When Matthew graduated last spring from Parker, I knew I wanted to get back into the work field,” Hartwig said. “I spent the summer looking for a job and looked forward to being able to put my college degree (accounting) to good use again. I got a great offer from a firm in Beloit and couldn’t turn it down.
“Plus, I wanted to be able to watch (daughter) Julia play college basketball for the next two years without missing many of her games. I missed so many of (daughter) Ashley’s games in college because I was coaching, and I always regretted that.”
Hartwig finished her coaching career with a 49-87 record, but injuries and playing in one of the state’s top conferences—the Big Eight—marred at least two of her six seasons at the helm. Her daughter Julia, now entering her junior season at UW-Green Bay, was a standout on the 2017-18 team and was part of four starters due back for what was expected to be a solid 2018-19 team. Julia hurt her shoulder early in the 2018-19 season and was limited to only three games.
“I know injuries are a part of sports, but we seemed to have more than our fair share of them every year,” Hartwig said. “And a couple of them were season-ending injuries like a torn ACL.
“It’s frustrating because it changes everything as far as how you game plan and how much depth you have on the bench.”
Hartwig, who was Jennah Burkholder when she led Parker to four consecutive state tournament appearances, had a stellar prep career. She’s the program’s all-time leading scorer and averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds her senior year. That year, she led the Vikings to the state title and beat out fellow University of Wisconsin recruit Katie Voigt for state player of the year honors. Parker finished 26-1 that season, including a win over Chicago Marshall, USA Today’s top-ranked team in the nation at the time.
Despite stepping down as head coach, Hartwig says she’ll keep close tabs on the Parker program and is willing to help out the new coach when he or she is hired.
“I love that program,” Hartwig said. “It’s been such a big part of my life and my daughters’, too.
“It’s going to be important for whoever comes in to develop the feeder program and get girls excited at a young age to play basketball and keep them interested. I’m excited to see who they hire and wish them all the best.”