Waldera resigns from B-T girls

One of the top girls basketball programs in the area will have new leadership as it enters a potentially crucial time.

After leading the Blair-Taylor program for 10 years, Duane Waldera’s resignation was accepted by the district school board last week Monday. In his resignation letter, Waldera wrote that he needed to dedicate more time to his law enforcement career as the Jackson County Sheriff and wanted to watch his children play basketball collegiately. Both of his children — B-T grads Danyelle and Matthew — are set to play at University of Wisconsin-Platteville next year.  

Duane Waldera came to lead the B-T program after the controversial decision the board made not to renew the contract of previous longtime coach Ken Nereng. In his first season at the helm, Waldera’s Wildcats won the Dairyland Conference Large Division title. That was the first of five conference championships — two in the Large Division and three in the Small Division — as he compiled a 139-101 overall record.  His teams have won four conference championships in the last five years — with the only exception being a second-place finish behind an Independence/Gilmanton team that lost to the eventual state champions in the sectional final round in the 2018-19 season. 

B-T won the DC-Small title in the 2019-20 season and the DC-Large in the 2020-21 season, compiling a 36-10 record over the last two years.

The opening could be attractive as the Wildcats figure to be competitive going forward. They graduated just three seniors who received significant playing time last season and have several players with experience, including a pair guards who are well on their way to scoring 1,000 career points. Incoming junior Lindsay Steien already has 940 career points and classmate Abby Thompson has scored 684.

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