Marcus Richter has always had a love for the game of basketball, both as a player and a coach. Growing up in Owatonna, Minnesota (about an hour south of the Twin Cities), he played hoops and baseball in high school, and coached during the summers at the parks and recreation department.
Although he said he was probably a better baseball player than basketball player, the latter was what he enjoyed most. So when the varsity girls’ basketball head coaching position opened last year for Waunakee High School, Richter thought it would be a wonderful opportunity. He applied and was offered the job last June.
“It’s always been kind of a dream of mine to be the varsity coach of a program,” he said.
The season is just getting underway and he is looking forward to it, saying that he not only has talented players, but that they are also a great group of kids. Richter is a physical education teacher at the high school, as is his assistant coach, Tim Decorah. Between the two of them, they have had all the girls in their classes. And although they lost four starters from last year’s team, many returners played varsity last year in different capacities, and he feels it will be a competitive team.
Richter graduated from Owatonna High School in 2009 and then attended Winona State. While there, he was a student assistant to the men’s basketball team describing it as the combination of a graduate assistant and a manager. He spent three years in that role, but when he later began student-teaching, it became more difficult with his schedule, so he then instead coached the freshman girls’ basketball team at Winona Cotter High School.
Richter met his future wife, Jess, who is from Sun Prairie, while in college. She graduated from Winona State at the end of 2013, and Richter did so the following semester. Jess is a scientist at PPD, Inc., a pharmaceutical company in Middleton, and they have two small children, Noah and Elle. They enjoy being outside with their kids, and when time allows, golfing and camping.
Given Richter’s love of sports and his last name, he has been asked over the years if he is related to former UW-Madison athletic director, Pat Richter. He is not, and growing up as a Minnesota Gophers’ fan, he said with a smile that he hadn’t heard of him before moving to Wisconsin. In addition to the Gophers, he has been a University of North Carolina fan since 4th grade, and one of his favorite NBA players is Harrison Barnes, who played for the Tar Heels.
Prior to taking the helm of the Warriors girls’ varsity team, Richter coached the boys’ freshman basketball team at Sun Prairie for several years, and then last year at Waunakee. He is excited to implement what he has learned with those teams and apply it to the varsity team he now leads.
Waunakee has a strong tradition of successful athletic programs and he knows the expectation will be no different for the girls’ basketball team. But he is just fine with that, saying it is also part of the fun. “You want to be out there competitive every night,” he said.