In an email dated Friday, July 31, Lawinger informed his athletes and their parents of the Platteville High School administration’s decision to relieve him of his coaching duties.
Lawinger was informed of his non-renewal for both sports by PHS principal Tim Engh and new assistant principal and activities director Michael Foley in a five-minute meeting earlier on Friday.
When reached for comment, Foley said Platteville administration will not publicly discuss personnel issues.
In his email to parents, Lawinger wrote, “When asked why, the theme for the dismissal was that my coaching style was not in tune with the Platteville philosophy.”
Lawinger insisted that he will reapply for both positions.
“I am passionate about all of my players getting better,” said Lawinger. “It doesn’t matter if they are the best player on the team or the worst. My philosophy is that they all need to improve because a team is only as strong as its weakest link.
“When I came in I wanted to have 45 players on three teams in the basketball team and two full teams for softball and we’ve done that. I believe in giving young people as many opportunities as possible. You need a lot of opportunities when you’re young to figure out who you are and what you like. And you’re only young once.”
Lawinger, a 1967 graduate of Platteville High School, moved back to Platteville in the spring of 2014 to take over the PHS softball program when Tina Davies stepped down. Lawinger promptly led the Hillmen to a 16–6 record in his first season and to a share of the program’s first conference title since 2001. Platteville went just 7–13 this spring, after dealing with several injuries and two costly player suspensions.
In his only season as the PHS girls’ basketball coach, Lawinger led the Hillmen to a 13–11 overall record and a 4–6 finish in the SWC.
Lawinger is a retired teacher from Sussex Hamilton High School, where he coached softball for 34 years and amassed 399 victories and eight trips to the WIAA state tournament, his last coming in 2012. He now has 422 career victories.
Lawinger spent 10 seasons (2004–2014) as a assistant boys’ basketball coach at Division 1 power Germantown, helping the Warriors win three straight D1 state titles (2012–14). He also spent seven seasons as the boys’ varsity basketball coach as Sussex Hamilton from 1987–1994.
Lawinger becomes the second PHS coach to be non-renewed by administration. Former volleyball coach Yvette Updike was not renewed after leading the Hillmen to the WIAA state volleyball tournament last fall.
In the last two years, PHS has replaced or will have replaced eight varsity coaches, including football coach Scott Statz (stepped down as head coach after 2014 season), volleyball coach Yvette Updike (non-renewed in fall of 2014), former girls’ basketball coach Wayne Jentz (retired in 2014), Lawinger (non-renewed) for girls’ basketball, baseball coach Chuck Smet (stepped down to JV coach after 2014 season), former softball coach Tina Davies (resigned prior to 2014 season), Lawinger (non-renewed) for softball, as well as girls’ soccer coach Mary Hardyman, who stepped down after this spring’s season.