Four new plaques will placed on Lakeland Union High School’s Wall of Fame as the school will add four new recipients — three individuals and one team — to the wall at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10. The Athletic Wall of Fame at LUHS was created as a way to permanently recognize individual, team, and coaching achievements at LUHS and beyond.
This year’s class includes Rick Goff, Peter Kovachic, Billy Kuchler, and the 1993 girls volleyball team.
Coach Peter Kovachic — 1977-2004
Peter Kovachic was a graduate of Whiting High School (Indiana) class of 1935, where he was a standout football player. Kovachic later taught in the Whiting School District where he was a very successful head football coach and the athletic director for many years.
After retiring in Minocqua, Kovachic began his coaching career at LUHS in the fall of 1977. He was a volunteer assistant coach from 1977-2004 for numerous sports at LUHS. Kovachic played a big role in helping the 1983 football team win a State Championship and for much of the success that both the football and basketball teams had during his tenure.
Former LUHS coaches had this to say: Jim Bauer remembers Kovachic was a stickler for teaching fundamentals and discipline. Basketball coach Ted Voigt added Kovachic was good for kids, coaches, and a huge asset to the athletic department. Football coach Don Scharbarth remembers Kovachic was constantly telling the linemen on the football team their first step was always just 6 inches. “Did you hear me? Six inches!” A fond memory about that occurred when after football road trips the team bus would drop Kovachic off on Highway 51 complete with flashing lights so he could get off the bus and walk the one block home. One night after a late trip home at about 1 a.m., after Kovachic got off the bus, coach Scharbarth overheard a player sitting right behind him say “watch, I bet before Coach K crosses the road he gets in a 3 point stance, looks both ways, and then crosses highway 51 taking nothing but 6 inch steps.”
As an athlete, instructor, coach, and athletic director, Kovachic was always around the students and the sports he loved. Members of the Lakeland Union High School athletic family will always remember Kovachic for his passion of fundamentals and his love for athletics.
1993 WIAA Division II Volleyball State Runners Up
The 1993 Lakeland girls volleyball team finished 2nd in the Lumberjack Conference with a 14-4 record. Moving into post season, the 1993 team rolled through WIAA Regionals going 8-0 in match play defeating Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Medford, Mosinee and Northland Pines. This generated the 5th regional championship over the same nine year period.
Competing in the WIAA Sectionals produced the same result with a 3-0 record defeating Ellsworth, Barron, and Black River Falls. Winning sectionals allowed the LUHS volleyball program to make its’ 4th trip to state in seven years. At State, the Lakeland ’93 team defeated Clintonville in the semi-finals to advance to the championship. LUHS was defeated in the State finals by Waupun. The 1993 team finished the season with an impressive 72-18 record.
Coach Rick Goff — 1997-2018
Coach Rick Goff started coaching boys cross country and track and field at LUHS as an assistant in 1997 and was a key member of the coaching staff and an important contributor to the cross country and track team’s success. He coached cross country for 11 years and track and field for 22 years.
During Goff’s tenure, the track team accumulated 22 conference championships, six regional championships, and 42 individual state qualifiers. Out of the individual state qualifiers, he coached five (1st place finishers), four (2nd place finishers), and two (3rd place finishers). Goff was an expert with the relay teams and long distance running.
Goff’s 22-year relationship with LUHS athletics, he brought great joy, commitment, and dedication to LUHS student athletes.
Billy Kuchler — Class of 2009
While at Lakeland, Kuchler participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He won four varsity letters in football, three in basketball and three in baseball for a total of 10.
Kuchler was one of the most prolific athletes in LUHS history and is thought by some to be one of Lakeland’s best all around male athletes ever.
As a football player Kuchler is one of a very small number of players to ever start for all four years. He is Lakeland’s all time leading rusher and scorer. During his career, Kuchler rushed for 4,182 yards and scored 59 touchdowns rushing and another 10 receiving for a high school total of 69 touchdowns. Kuchler also had 120 receptions, which makes him second all time.
During Kuchler’s four years it was no coincidence Lakeland also saw much team success on the grid iron winning 33 games, playing in the State Quarter-Finals three times, and the State Semi-Finals one time. Kuchler was named Offensive MVP three times, MVP once, and his senior year in 2008; Kuchler was a GNC 1st Team All Conference Running Back (LUHS was not in a conference for fb 2003-2007), GNC Player of the Year, Channel 9 Athlete of the Week, Channel 7 All Star, All Region, and All State. Coach Scharbarth said Kuchler had the unique ability to be full speed by his second step, had uncanny balance and vision, and compared him once he got into the open field as trying to tackle a Tasmanian devil.
As a basketball player, Kuchler was named team MVP twice, and GNC 1st Team All Conference twice. It was also no coincidence that Kuchler played on some of LUHS’s best basketball teams. Coach Voigt calls Kuchler one the most competitive athletes he has ever coached.
As a baseball player, Kuchler was named Team MVP three times, was 1st Team All Conference four times and was selected to play in the Milwaukee Brewer Classic. Coach Toijala called him the best all around baseball player he ever coached.
Kuchler played college football for one year at UM-Duluth, and baseball for one year at Morton College and one year at Triton College.
Kuchler lives in Minocqua and is employed by Lyle Dallman Inc.