The University of Wisconsin-Superior announced Friday that it is removing the interim tags from basketball coaches Zach Otto-Fisher (women) and Greg Polkowski (men).
Otto-Fisher guided the Yellowjacket women to the NCAA Division III tournament after replacing Don Mulhern, who resigned in September to take over at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
In Otto-Fisher’s first season at the helm, the Yellowjackets went 23-5, including 16-0 in UMAC play. They were the conference regular season and tournament champions for the third year in a row.
“Zach did a tremendous job coaching our women’s basketball program this past year. The accolades he and the team earned are attributed to his hard work and dedication to our student-athletes,” said UWS Athletics Director Nick Bursik. “It was clear watching him work with the student-athletes over the past few seasons and going through the interview process that he was going to make a tremendous head coach. We are excited to have him to continue to lead our program.”
Otto-Fisher, a UWS alumnus, joined the Yellowjacket women’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant to Mulhern in 2016-17. Prior to UWS he was the head coach at Glencoe-Silver Lake (Minn.) High School and served on the staff of the Minnesota Fury, one of the top A.A.U. programs in the Upper Midwest.
“I want to personally thank Mr. Bursik and the search committee for giving me this opportunity, to continue building on the successful culture and program that is Yellowjacket women’s basketball,” said Otto-Fisher, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in legal studies in 2008. “It’s an exciting time for me and my family and I’m looking forward to continuing the work with our tremendous student-athletes, athletics department, campus community and the city of Superior.
“UWS is a very special place to me and to be able to lead the women’s basketball program on and off the court is truly a blessing.”
Polkowski walked into a similar situation after taking over for Paul Eberhardt, who left the men’s program in October. Polkowski, a former UWS and UW-Eau Claire assistant who played for the Yellowjackets from 2004-08, oversaw a 7-18 winter and seventh-place UMAC finish.
“Greg brings passion to everything he does, and it was clear from our first conversation that he was very passionate about the men’s basketball program at UWS,” Bursik said. “His team definitely took on his personality and as the year went on they improved every game. I look forward to seeing the team continue to develop under Greg’s leadership.”
Prior to his two-year stint as an assistant coach at UWEC, Polkowski was the head boys basketball coach and a physical education instructor at Waukesha North High School. He was also an assistant coach to former UWS coach Dave Buchanan for two years at Carroll University.
“I want to thank the search committee, Chancellor Renee Wachter, Nick Bursik, Director of Enrollment Management Brenda Harms and everyone who had a hand in making this a reality. It’s a dream of mine to have the chance to lead the Yellowjacket men’s basketball program,” Polkowski said. “I’m excited to continue the work and build on the progress that has been made since I started here. The future is bright for the program. The players and coaches are excited to get back to work to achieve the goals we have already set.
“UWS holds a very special place in my heart and my family and I are excited to be back here permanently where we can become a bigger part of the community.”
A native of Goodman, Wis., Polkowski graduated from UWS with a bachelor of science degree in physical education and added a master’s degree in education from Carroll University.