Teamwork is at the heart of community in sports. And it’s the foundation of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Women’s Basketball Coach Bradley Fischer’s philosophy.
From recruitment to practices, Fischer said he emphasizes teamwork and “fit.” When he’s talking with potential players, he’s looking for students who are talented and unselfish, and who will blend well with his existing team.
This is Fischer’s fourth year as head coach, and the team has exceeded his expectations each year.
The Women Titans have secured 20 or more wins each year for the past three years. Last year, the team finished 23-7 on the season, captured the WIAC Tournament title for the second straight season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship. Two team members, junior Taylor Schmidt, a graduate of Algoma High School, and
Katelyn Kuehl ’15, were named to the D3hoops.com NCAA Division III All-Central Region Women’s Basketball Team.
The team became a second family to Kuehl, who graduated in spring 2015.
“You learn to trust one another, to depend on each other, to hold each other accountable and to have each other’s back,” said Kuehl, who came to Oshkosh from Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac.
Through their recruitment techniques, attention to players’ academics and the time and effort put into preparing the team for games, it’s obvious the coaches care about the players, said teammate Maggie Novak,a junior.
“Coach always tells us that we were recruited to fulfill a certain role,” said the graduate of Milwaukee’s Divine Savior Holy Angels High School. “If each girl is committed to their strength and to developing their strength, everyone should complement each other and pick up from where the other girl leaves off.”
“As a team you share the entire journey of a season together—the roller coaster ride of ups and downs, the laughs, the tears, the jokes and the friendships,” senior Ashley Neustifter said.
“The memories I have gained through this experience will last a lifetime,” the Oshkosh West High School graduate said.
Fischer grows his program with players who want to call UW Oshkosh home for four years. He has avoided transfers and prefers to recruit from within a three-hour radius of Oshkosh. That isn’t to say he won’t look for players from farther away —if they blend well with his team and strategy.
His players have been successful on and off the court.
Team members had the highest GPA of any sport in the UW Oshkosh athletics department and ranked in the top 25 in the country for GPA in women’s basketball.
Community support of the team goes back many years, said Assistant Coach Kelly McNiff, who played women’s basketball at Oshkosh until she graduated in 2000.
“I’m seeing that start to grow again,” said McNiff, who is in her third year coaching at UWO.
The sense of community on the team and the support of the campus and Oshkosh communities have made playing a sport she loves even more thrilling, Kuehl said.
Students and the larger Oshkosh community have always been behind the team, Neustifter said.
That’s right where Fischer wants them.
Hail Titans! Read more about the success of UWO football, golf and other Titan teams at uwoshkoshtitans.com