FENNIMORE — Fennimore athletic director Jim Prochaska will be inducted to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in Wisconsin Dells on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The 2019 WBCA Hall of Fame Induction banquet will be held at Glacier Canyon Lodge of the Wilderness Resort with cocktails at 4:30, dinner at 5:30 with the induction ceremony to follow.
Prochaska is part of the 30-person 2019 class that includes nine high school coaches, two assistant coaches, two college coaches, seven high school boys players, six girls players, two referees and two friends of the game.
Prochaska’s life has revolved around sports. He was the oldest of five children of Melvin and Dorothy Prochaska, and was lucky to grow up in a Fennimore neighborhood of excellent athletes.
His fondest childhood memories were playing football and baseball in the vacant lot on Madison Street, makeshift ballparks around Fennimore, playing pick-up basketball at the elementary school and neighboring driveways with friends.
A 1978 graduate of FHS, Prochaska earned four letters in cross country (winning two state championships), four letters in track (placing twice at state in the two mile run) and two letters in basketball as the starting point guard.
He went on to compete in cross country and track and field at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and graduated in 1982, while earning teaching degrees in both Physical Education and Health.
Prochaska’s first teaching job was at West Grant High School where he was hired as a special education teacher. He was also named the athletic director and asked to coach JV girls’ basketball, learning great fundamental practices from Jef Graewin. He was named the girls’ varsity head coach the next year.
West Grant won four Blackhawk Conference championships and more than 200 games during Prochaska’s tenure and just missed a trip to state in 1990 when they were beaten by undefeated Fall Creek, the eventual Class C state runner-up.
In 1995, the West Grant and Bloomington school districts merged to form River Ridge and Prochaska was named the new school’s first varsity boys basketball coach.
During those formative years of teaching and coaching, Prochaska and wife Darcy welcomed four children, Logan, Trevor, Parker and Breland, into the world.
In 2000, Prochaska returned home when he accepted a teaching position and athletic director job at Fennimore. He worked with the junior high and youth programs for a few years until the girls’ varsity basketball job opened. His first teams steadily improved becoming a championship caliber program in the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League.
Prochaska’s Golden Eagles won conference titles in 2011 (21–3, 13–1 SWAL) and 2012 (22–3, 13–1) with his daughter Breland as an all-state point guard.
His Fennimore teams were twice beaten in the sectionals, falling to the eventual D3 state champions Cuba City in the 2010 sectional finals and eventual D4 state champion Neillsville in the 2012 sectional semifinals.
Prochaska retired from coaching basketball in 2016 to watch Breland play her final season of college basketball at Clarke University. However, he has coached softball the past four seasons as FHS.
“Throughout 35 years in education and coaching, I have been truly blessed by my association with great players, fellow teachers, coaches, administrators, officials, family and friends,” said Prochaska. “A special thank you to my wife, Darcy, for her support, love and hauling the family to all the games, but everyone of these relationships share in this award.
“A special shout out for the lifelong friendships and special memories with all the coaches, workers and campers at the Bo Ryan summer basketball camps.”
These opportunities enabled Prochaska and his children the opportunity to watch, learn and develop strategies, while competing against excellent players and coaches.
“Thanks to all who have made this journey memorable, exciting and worthwhile,” added Prochaska.
Other 2019 inductees include fellow head coaches Mark Adams (Brookfield Central), Joel Claassen (Milwaukee Pius), Jim Gosz (Milwaukee King), John Leadholm (Cambridge), Bob Maronde (Grafton), Roger Pribbenow (Oregon), Al Schieve (Slinger) and Duane Vike (Holmen), college coaches Pat Miller (UW–Whitewater) and Kevin Borseth (UW–Green Bay) and former NBA player and Kenosha St. Joe’s standout Nick Van Exel.