Otto adds another top title to his résumé

New GHS football coach is also the athletic director

Aug. 17, 2010

Greenfield — Scott Otto just can't sit still.

Otto took over as the high school's athletic director Aug. 1, just seven months after being named the district's facilities coordinator and six months after being tabbed the Greenfield High School head football coach.

Otto, who will also coach football, replaced Rich Lemanski.

Wearing a pair of hats

"My professional goal from along time ago was to be an athletic director and a football coach," Otto said. "It's hard to do because you have to have a hat in two rings, like Phil Datka did at Germantown, and coach (Mike) Novak did it at Brown Deer. I'm trying to model myself after that.

"It can be done. You have to have an outstanding administration, like we have at Greenfield, and an athletic director that can juggle the two things. I'm not going to lie, it's going to be hectic and crazy, but I want to give it a shot."

It's been a whirlwind year for Otto. Otto resigned from West Allis Hale as head football coach and as a physical education and health teacher in November 2009. He was hired by the Greenfield school district as the facilities coordinator in January and as the football coach in February.

"Life is fluid and dynamic," Otto said. "If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be doing this, I'd told you no way. I was very happy with (being the facilities coordinator). It's a very unique situation and an opportunity that I'm very thankful for. I want to make great relationships with the kids and staying in the coaching ranks lets me do that."

Currently, Otto is the only athletic director in the 21-school NOW coverage area that coaches a sport, though he is not the first. That list includes Datka, who is still the football coach at Germantown, and Novak, the Brown Deer athletic director who coached boys basketball for many seasons.

Something new to learn

"I think I'll be looked at a little different (by other athletic directors) because I'm still in the trenches and with the kids every day," Otto said. "For me, this is what I do. This is how my life has always been. I'm very, very busy. It's the only way I know how to function, but I'm always energetic and positive.

"The biggest challenge is going to be to try to learn everything new. It was the same thing going from teaching to the facilities organizer. That's one thing I did miss with the facilities coordinator, I didn't have a lot of contact with kids. I think I can have a big impact on kids. It's more about being the coach or AD, it's about impacting kids' lives. That's what I love doing."

As for Lemanski, he will be strictly an assistant principal this school year before he retires next summer. He has served both roles in recent years. His departure ends his run of 24 years overall as an athletic director, the last 10 of which have been at Greenfield.

"This will be a new experience for me," said Lemanski, who previously worked in Arizona, Germantown and Sheboygan before coming to Greenfield. "I'm excited about it. In my last year, I have a new learning curve, which is a challenge. I don't want to feel flat. It's a new challenge. I love challenges. That's why I'm really excited about this. I want to go out with a bang and stay sharp and stay fresh."

Lemanski was a hands-on athletic director, regularly attending home events. He doesn't expect that to change this school year.

"I can't remove myself from this. It's in my blood," he said. "The athletics, I can't ever step away. I will, because Scott is a capable leader, but I'll be a huge cheerleader. I love watching the kids compete. You get to know the kids so well. I love to see them in an athletic form. I won't give that up."

Lemanski said he is most proud that the high school started upgrading its facilities during his tenure.

"They're outstanding facilities, cutting edge," he said. "We all (worked hard) to get them. We had a good group of board members that really went out and sold the need for a new building in the community. I wouldn't say it's reviving the city, but what a tremendous boost for the city of Greenfield."

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