News, Sports
Despite desire, interim Prescott girls’ b-ball head coach will not return next season

Athletic Director recommended opening the position to prospective applicants

By Reagan Hoverman

The Prescott girls’ basketball pro gram will have a completely revamped sideline next season, as interim head coach Joan Korfhage will not be re

turning for the 2022 23 season, despite her desire to retain the head coaching position.

Throughout the 2021 22 girls’ bas ketball season, Korfhage made it clear to the media and the Prescott school district that she wanted to have the in terim title stripped and be given the head coaching job moving forward.

In her lone season as head coach of the program, Korfhage led the Cardi

nals to a 19 8 overall record and a Mid dle Border Conference Championship, which included a 12 2 record in league play. In addition to regular season suc cess, the Cardinals won a Division 3 Regional Championship and made an appearance in the sectional semi final game against Saint Croix Falls, a team that went on to Madison to compete in the state tournament.

In her first interview immediately after the season ended against the Saint Croix Falls Saints, Korfhage spoke of how much she loves the girls on the team and stated that she wanted to re

turn for the 2022 23 season as the head coach, sans interim title.

“I hope to continue, but I’m in terim,” Korfhage said after the game against Saint Croix Falls on Thursday, March 3. “I definitely want to con tinue. I love working with the girls and hopefully, they had a good season too. I think we did better than anybody thought we would.”

Despite her success, Prescott Ath letic Director Andrew Caudill made a recommendation to the Prescott admin istration not to offer her the job moving forward and to open the position up to prospective candidates.

In March, Caudill told the Journal that he would conduct a review of the girls’ basketball program, which would include allowing stakeholders to weigh in. After he reviewed the program, he would make a recommendation to the Prescott Superintendent.

When asked for specific reasons why Korfhage would not be offered the job and why the administration would be moving in a different direction, Caudill stated that it’s a private matter that cannot be discussed.

While Caudill wasn’t able to pro

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vide insight as to why Korfhage won’t be returning next sea son, Prescott senior Liz Rohl, one of the locker room leaders of the girls’ basketball team, provided some insight as to what the season was like with Korfhage at the helm.

“This year we had a lot of fun, it was fun, practice was fun and so were games,” Rohl said. “But I think (Prescott) has the team to go far and to make a state run. But we need to win more games to get there. I love Joan (Korfhage), she’s a good coach, but we need more structure, and we want to win more games.”

Rohl spoke highly of Korfhage, but also said that prac tices lacked structure during her senior season and that the team could get to another level with a more experienced coach. She peeled back the curtain as to what practices were like throughout the season.

“Practices were kind of all over. A lot fell on my and Brynley (Goehring’s) shoulders because we were the lead ers. Girls were messing around. It was a fun season, but we would have had more fun if we would have won more games,” Rohl said. “I think we need a higher level coach. I had Joan (Korfhage) throughout high school and she was a great JV coach, but we need – there is another level (we could get to) and we need that extra level if we want to make a run to state and try and get a gold ball home.”

While Rohl spoke about wanting to win more games, Ko rfhage stated that she won a lot of games as a coach during her time with the Prescott Cardinals. She provided her point of view regarding the head coaching situation.

“I would hope the district would have offered me the job,” Korfhage stated. “I have been a coach for Prescott schools for nine seasons, including volleyball and basket ball. Before that, I coached my kids’ basketball, volleyball and softball teams. I also coached a JO volleyball team, a boys AAU basketball team and completed a coaching practicum in softball. As far as school basketball is con

cerned, my overall record is 76 11, give or take a couple of games.”

In addition to providing her coaching accolades, Ko rfhage spoke about how she was informed that AD Caudill would be taking the girls’ basketball program in a different direction and that she would not be offered the job moving forward.

“I was informed that I wouldn’t be offered the head coaching job on April 28 during a 15 minute meeting with AD Andrew Caudill,” Korfhage said. “During that meeting, he told me that he conducted a complete review of the pro gram and thought it best to take the program in a different direction.”

Korfhage provided a bit of insight into what that conver sation was like, what the potential review of the program was and how, according to Korfhage, she wasn’t provided the opportunity to respond to any of that feedback or review of the program.

“The AD indicated that he completed the review of the program, which I believe included his observations and sur veying parents and players,” Korfhage said. “I don’t believe any girls basketball coaching staff, paid or volunteer were asked for feedback. I wasn’t provided the opportunity to re spond to any of the feedback prior to the meeting nor was I provided any sort of evaluation.”

Caudill only stated that the review of the program in

cluded talking to stakeholders, which he said included play ers. No parent or community member interviews were mentioned in his statement. Caudill had the following to say regarding the coaching situation: “I would like to thank everyone that provided feedback and our student athletes for taking the extra step of speaking to me about their own experience,” Caudill wrote. “After this thorough review of the girls’ basketball program, we in formed Coach Korfhage that we will post the position for applicants in advance of next season and that we are grateful for her years of service at Prescott.”

While Rohl advocated for finding a more experienced coach moving forward, she is only one of the girls who was on the 2021 22 Prescott girls’ basketball roster. Korfhage stated that other players and their parents expressed disap

pointment in her not getting the job through private conver sations.

“Several players, parents and community members have expressed their disappointment that I was not offered the head coaching job,” Korfhage said. “I think most people are surprised based on the successful season that we had.”

Saying it was a successful season may even be an under statement. Throughout the season, coaches throughout the Middle Border Conference told the Journal that this is as good as the conference has been in a long time. With less than a month left in the winter sports regular season, there were four teams with a fighting chance to win the confer ence title.

That level of parity in a high school sports conference is rare. With the high end talent of Baldwin Woodville, Al toona, Ellsworth, and certainly Prescott, the conference was jam packed with good basketball teams, and out of that scrum, Prescott, under the direction of Korfhage, emerged victorious as conference champions.

“The team was expected to finish third in the Middle Bor der Conference with only one returning starter and limited varsity minutes,” Korfhage said. “Instead, we were MBC Champions, and we went on to win the Regional Champi

onship. The team had four players receive MBC All Con

ference honors and Katrina Budworth received All State honorable mention. All of this was achieved on the heels of losing four starting seniors from the 2020 21 season, one being the all time leading scorer for both boys’ and girls’ basketball at Prescott.”

Regardless of how anyone looks at the Korfhage coach ing decision, there is no question that she was successful in her only year as the head of the girls’ basketball program. Moving forward, the administration will begin the coaching search.

According to Caudill, the coaching position is posted for internal and external applicants. To be considered, an appli cation must be completed. No names have emerged in the coaching search as of Monday, May 9.

Now that the decision not to retain Korfhage has been made, there is no question that there will be pressure on Caudill and the Prescott administration to get the coaching hire correct. The Cardinals are a team that is built to win for the 2022 23 season, as it returns dominant players in Izzy Matzek, Katrina Budworth and Lila Posthuma – one of the best cores of players in western Wisconsin.

If the new coach comes in and success isn’t achieved in the first year in the form of a conference title or a deep play off run, that will reflect on the new coach, Caudill, and the rest of the Prescott administration’s decision this offseason.

May 10, 2022