Your Town Stevens Point: The Witt family legacy at UWSP
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -In sports, things often run in the family. For the Witt Family and UW-Stevens Point Track and Field and Cross Country, that is quite literally true.
Rick Witt has been at the helm of the two sports for the pointers for 41 years.
“A lot of people that have gone through UWSP Track and Field in 41 years,” says Rick when asked what comes to mind when he thinks about his tenure. “I mean it’s about the guys and the girls on the team.”
One of those guys on the team over the years was his son Brett. Just because his dad was the coach, doesn’t mean he didn’t make him pull out all the stops during his recruitment.
“The smartest thing he ever did-probably an NCAA violation in some ways, but he took me on a spring break trip with his team,” says Brett with a laugh. “I mean, he’s dad, he can take his son.”
It worked, and Brett had an All-American career running under Rick.
But eight years ago, Brett had the opportunity to become a Pointer again. This time, the decision was a little tougher.
“Did I want to work with my dad for however long he was still going to do this was harder than just knowing it was the four years of running for him in college,” says Brett of his thought process.
Eventually he landed on yes. With it, for the last eight years, father and son, Pointers through and through, have run the program together.
But that itself isn’t the sweetest part of this setup.
Brett explains: “I mean I enjoy working with him and we’ve had success together, but the fact that my kids see grandma and grandpa 2-3 times a week and they’re at their soccer games; that’s priceless.”
You might be asking, after 41 years, why does the elder Witt still do this?
Well, the fire still burns to chase that number one spot and doing it alongside his son makes that pursuit even more gratifying.
“I think every coach would like for one day to be able to say, ‘we were the best,’” Rick says. “If I could help my son and UWSP achieve that goal, then you know, circle would be completely full.”
Brett just finished his eighth season coaching his alma mater, but does he think he has another 33 years in him to say he’s coached for as long as Rick has now?
“Oh, I don’t know about 33,” says Brett. “I love what I do right now, there’s no way my wife is going to let me retire anytime soon. So, I’ve got quite a bit of time left.”
With that in mind, it’s a fair guess that UWSP Track and Field and Cross Country will run through the Witt family for over half a century.
They will leave a legacy behind, what do they want that to be?
“I want people to really think that it was a family, I mean we really care about the athletes on the team,” Rick says.
“To look back and have them think that they had a good enough experience that they would want their children to experience UWSP Track and Field and Cross Country; that’s the legacy that I’d like people to believe and see.”
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