East Troy High School boys basketball coach Darryl Rayfield watches the action at the WIAA Division 3 state semifinal March 15. Rayfield was named Rock Valley Conference co-Coach of the Year with Edgerton’s Daryl Fox. (Eric Kramer photo)

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

The postseason honors have been rolling in for the East Troy High School boys basketball team.

And that includes longtime coach Darryl Rayfield.

Rayfield, who led the Trojans to their third Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 3 State Tournament in his seven years with the program, was voted as the Rock Valley Conference co-Coach of the Year with Edgerton’s Daryl Fox.

For Rayfield, the honor means one thing – that he’s been surrounded by an awful lot of talent.

“It means your team was successful,” he said. “I think the other coaches realize that we had some pretty good players, but I was still able to have them play in a way they were very competitive.

“The respect from the other guys in the league make you understand that your team is pretty good, that your program is pretty good. I think that’s what that means. The coaches appreciate how well your team plays, and that’s always nice to know.”

East Troy, which fell to eventual state champion Prescott in a semifinal contest at the Kohl Center, came together as a unit almost from day one, Rayfield said.

And that unity extended from the court to off it, as the players were all pulling in one direction – and that was definitely fulfilling as a coach, he said.

“This team was rare in that a lot of teams just kind of do their own thing outside of basketball,” Rayfield said. “These kids really enjoying being with each other. They did things together. This team was more connected than most teams on and off the floor.”

The overall unselfishness of the team was an added bonus, and one that helped lead the Trojans to where they wanted to be.

“It was a lot of fun because these kids all bought into what kind of things it took (to be successful),” Rayfield said. “This team became better defensively in the last three or four weeks of the year. They gave up taking quick shots; they gave up not worrying about getting their own points. That’s what made this team special.

“At the start of the year, their goal was to get to Madison.”

Even after all this time, which included stints as an assistant coach at Burlington Catholic Central and Wilmot, Rayfield hasn’t lost the passion for the game.

In fact, anyone who saw him coach at this year’s state tournament may feel that fire still burns as hot as ever.

For Rayfield, basketball is pretty much a 24/7 proposition, and it’s one that he still loves.

“I’ve been at it for a while,” he said. “It’s fun. Being around the kids every year is a new challenge. I have the same enthusiasm. There’s nothing like being around the young kids. That’s all good stuff. When the season is going on, it’s basketball. When it’s outside the season, it’s basketball. It’s been pretty much all basketball for a long time.”

It’s the mix of teaching the game and preparing for competition that drives Rayfield – and after a couple weeks away to recharge, he’ll be easy to find.

And that’s in the gym.

“I really, really like both,” he said. “When I have our kids doing individual workouts, I think I like that the most. When the season comes, I enjoy putting it all together. I do love practice, because that’s where you’re putting all the pieces together, but the individual workouts are really good because you find out who wants to get better.

“But to have it all come together with the team stuff, tinkering it with a little bit as the year goes on, trying to fine tune all those things is a lot of fun. I like all the pieces of it.”

 

 
 

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