Welcoming a New Blue Devil

Alex Lutz –

This basketball season brings a new face on the sidelines for the Blue Devil men’s basketball team. Coach Jim Lake has taken the reigns for this year and he is excited about what’s to come.

 Lake shared his enthusiasm about being a part of the program here at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “When I looked at this and researched this school, I really felt like it was a sleeping giant as far as an hour away from the cities; in a great state like Wisconsin where hoops are very well thought of.”

Tanner Schmitt of Westby, Wis said, “Coach Lake brings a new energy to the program. He’s very easy to talk to. He created a new culture here.” Schmitt later added that Lake’s game style and practice style are very similar in the fact that it’s up-tempo and always intense. “He makes the drills competitive which makes them fun,” Schmitt said.

Jon Ciriacks of East Troy, Wisconsin had nothing but high praise for his coach, “I feel like the overall energy of workout and practices have increased. It also seems like players are more motivated to come to practice,” said Ciriacks. He said, “One thing that sets Coach Lake apart from other coaches that I’ve had is his ability to teach. So far, he seems like more of a teacher that can coach which is awesome to have.”

Coach Lake started coaching basketball in college and has coached at almost every level of basketball except the professional level. “I feel pretty prepared, having coached at just about every level of basketball to be where I’m at today,” he said.

 Lake grew up in North Branch, Michigan and later attended college at Central Michigan University, where he got his bachelor’s and started coaching. He got his masters from Ohio University.

Many coaches will model their coaching style after great hall-of-fame coaches but for  Lake, he likes to use the people he’s worked with when it comes to molding his coaching style. He’s had the opportunity to coach with some of his best friends, which has given him memories that he holds dearly.

When it comes to this year’s team, Lake is excited for what’s to come. He still believes that there’s a lot of work to be done. “We have a couple guards coming back off of injury. We have a really strong leader coming back in Zach Dahl,” said Lake. “We also have some other guys who are veterans who didn’t have a large role in the past that will be getting their opportunity now. We have a ton of young guys who are hungry and coming at it. All of our big guys are freshmen, so we have some work to do in toughening them up.”

Overall, everyone is excited for what’s to come in the season and on Nov 16, they will have their opportunity to see their work pay off during the UW-Stout Tip-Off Tournament.