Basketball court dedication Dec. 10 to honor former coach

By University Communications
November 28, 2016
Former UW-Stout men’s basketball coach Dwain “Dewey” Mintz visits the Johnson Fieldhouse basketball court that has been named after him.

Photo: Former UW-Stout men’s basketball coach Dwain “Dewey” Mintz visits
the Johnson Fieldhouse basketball court that has been named after him.

Former UW-Stout men’s basketball coach Dwain “Dewey” Mintz made a lifetime impact on his players and members of his coaching staff.

Mintz will be honored Saturday, Dec. 10, when UW-Stout dedicates the court in Johnson Fieldhouse in his name. The Blue Devils play host that night to the University of Dubuque.

The naming of the floor is part of a fundraising effort to refurbish Johnson Fieldhouse, including facility branding, creating and expanding the Blue Devil suites and a new scorer’s table.

“Dewey Mintz was the architect that put basketball on the map at UW-Stout,” said Blue Devil Coach Eddie Andrist, who served two stints as an assistant coach under Mintz.

Nearly 30 years after he retired, Mintz is fourth on the WIAC all-time men’s basketball victories list with a record of 385-280. Mintz coached league contenders throughout his tenure at UW-Stout from 1963 to 1989, including conference champions in 1966, 1969 and 1975. He was NAIA District 14 Coach of the Year in 1966 and 1973 and NAIA Area IV Coach of the Year in 1969. During his 27 years at UW-Stout, Mintz had 26 first-team all-conference players.

But it is more than the Xs and Os, wins and losses that Mintz’s former players remember. Steve Zmyewski, a member of the UW-Stout Hall of Fame, played for Mintz in the md-1970s when the team won a conference title.

“Forty years ago coach Mintz asked this kid from New York to come out and play basketball at Stout,” Zmyewski said. “And it changed my life.”

Mel Coleman played in the late 60s, earning conference player of the year and All-America honors. He holds the school record for most points in a season, 571, and once pulled down 38 rebounds in a game. Coleman was inducted into the Stout Hall of Fame in 1978.

“The wizardry and strategy you taught us stayed with me my whole life,” Coleman said.

“Dewey is an offensive genius,” said Len Luccarelli, a former assistant coach. “I have worked with a lot of coaches in my life, and there is nobody with the offensive mind of Dewey Mintz.”

Hall of Famer, team captain and two-time all-conference performer Bill Heidemann played with Coleman under Mintz.

“The basketball court was his classroom for teaching players the many lessons of life that we all went on to use and experience after leaving Stout,” Heidemann said. “Coach Mintz and that court for me was the starting point on building a foundation that I have built my future and life on.”

Four years after Mintz arrived at UW-Stout, the school won its first conference title in 20 years. The Blue Devils won the 1966 championship with a 20-3 record (15-1 in conference play). The 1969 title team (22-4, 14-2 conference) featured three all-conference first team players, including Coleman, and made a deep run to the fourth round of the NAIA national tournament.

An outstanding baseball player who was in the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals farm systems, Mintz also coached the UW-Stout baseball team from 1963 to 1968.

Mintz has been inducted into the halls of fame for UW-Stout, Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, NAIA District 14, Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.), Minnesota Junior College Athletic Association and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.

The floor was unofficially unveiled at a brief ceremony during UW-Stout’s homecoming festivities this fall. About 40 former players, coaches and colleagues attended.

“This is an exceptional honor bestowed upon Coach Mintz and so well-deserving,” Andrist said. “I am privileged and honored to have served with him as an assistant. He taught me so much about the game and about life itself.”

“Coach, all of our names are on this floor along with yours,” Zmyewski said to Mintz at the ceremony in October.

“It is heartwarming to see our alumni step forward and raise money to honor a former coach in a way that will impact the student athlete experience for many sports,” UW-Stout Athletic Director Duey Naatz said.

The fundraising effort kicked off last spring.

Dewey Mintz Court is the fifth floor named in the WIAC. The others are Bo Ryan Court at UW-Platteville, Ken Anderson Court at UW-Eau Claire, Dave “Augie” Vander Meulen Court at UW-Whitewater and Bennett Court at UW-Stevens Point, named in honor of Dick and Jack Bennett.