MENOMONIE, Wis. (UW-Stout) – Dwain Mintz will be remembered not only as a basketball coach, but as a mentor, teacher and family man. The legendary UW-Stout men's basketball coach passed away Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Mintz is the winningest men's basketball coach in Stout history and is currently fourth on the WIAC all-time men's basketball coaches wins list with a record of 385-280. Mintz coached league contenders throughout his tenure at UW-Stout from 1963-89, including conference championships in 1966, 1969 and 1975. He was the NAIA District 14 Coach of the Year in 1966 and 1973, and NAIA Area IV Coach of the Year in 1969. During his 27 years at UW-Stout, Mintz turned out 26 all-conference first team players.
Four years after Mintz arrived at UW-Stout, the school won its first conference title in 20 years. The Blue Devils won the 1966 championship with a 20-3 overall record (15-1 in conference play). The 1969 title team (22-4, 14-2 conference) featured three all-conference first team players, including league Player of the Year Mel Coleman, and made a deep run to the fourth round of the NAIA national tournament.
Stout and UW-Eau Claire had epic battles throughout Mintz's and Eau Claire coach Ken Anderson's tenures at their respective schools. Anderson came to Eau Claire in 1968 and the two faced off against each other for 21 seasons.
"I knew coming in that Dewey was the guy I had to beat if I wanted to win conference and get to nationals," Anderson said. "You knew you had to beat him; he wasn't going to give you the game."
Anderson said that Eau Claire had a 39-game conference winning streak, which started following a loss to Stout. And the winning streak came to an end at the hands of Stout.
Preparation was a key for Mintz, said Joe Jax, who was an assistant to Mintz for 11 years.
"Dewey was a master teacher with great perseverance for winning," Jax said. "He believed there was a way to win every ball game and prepared his teams to do such. His practices and his game plan preparations were unique to each opponent. Practices were sometimes competitively bruising, thus it was no different come game time."
Mintz not only taught basketball, he taught life.
"On Wednesday, we lost a good man, a great mentor, a wonderful teacher and an icon that was total family, not only his own personal family, but his athletic family," said Eddie Andrist, who served two assistant coaching stints under Mintz.
Andrist, who would serve as the UW-Stout head coach for 18 seasons, continued.
"I have known Dewey for 46 years and he has always been there for so many of us," Andrist said. "Our success has been his success. He taught us well so we could go out and teach others. His legacy will live forever."
Mintz's legacy will live on in Johnson Fieldhouse where the court was named Dewey Mintz Court when the court was re-dedicated in 2016.
UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer first crossed paths with Mintz when Meyer was an undergraduate at student at Stout from 1975-80, an acquaintance that continued until recently.
"He was the consummate professional and his legacy is not only his success as a coach, but how he mentored his athletes to live good lives by exemplifying great values," Meyer said. "It was inspiring when we recently dedicated our basketball floor to Coach Mintz how many of his athletes returned to celebrate and thank him for the positive impact he had on our lives."
An outstanding baseball player who played in the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals farm systems, Mintz also coached the UW-Stout baseball team from 1963-68.
Mintz has been inducted into the UW-Stout, NAIA District 14, Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.), the Minnesota Junior College Athletic Association, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association halls of fame. The court in Johnson Fieldhouse was named Dewey Mintz Court in honor of Mintz in December 2016.
He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and health, along with a master's degree in cardiovascular endurance from Mankato State University and a Ph.D. in vision fatigue and endurance from Utah State University.
"Coach Mintz leaves a wonderful, inspiring and indelible imprint on UW-Stout and will be greatly missed," Meyer said.
"Coach Mintz touched so many lives and we will be forever grateful," Andrist said.
"It was an honor to work for and with him," Jax said. "We all learned so much from his deliverance."
"Stout lost one of their legends," Eau Claire's Anderson concluded.