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Pinning Hopes on Hard Work: Rusk County

Scott Martino ’82 coached wrestling for 28 years at Ladysmith High School.

Scott Martino

Scott Martino ’82 admits that he probably lacked the maturity to fully develop his talents as a Badger wrestler in the early 1980s.

Armed with that realization, experience in competition, an appreciation for hard work, and a physical-education degree from UW-Madison, Martino built a 28-year coaching career at Ladysmith High School.

“I always felt that I had to struggle to achieve,” says Martino, who’s a physical-education teacher and head wrestling coach. “As a coach, I try to build a work ethic and a confidence in students. I get as much satisfaction helping the kids who struggle as the kids who are gifted athletes.”

“Sometimes excellent performers fail at life. If you’re a good person, you will succeed in the long run,” adds Martino, a Schofield, Wisconsin, native.

His other roles at Ladysmith High School have included stints as vice principal, athletic director, community education director, and swimming pool director.

“The UW-Madison professors and coaches who influenced me set me on a great path to provide a quality education to Ladysmith’s students,” he says. “The older I get,” he says, “the more I value my UW-Madison education.”

The UW-Madison professors and coaches who influenced me set me on a great path.

Martino has logged many successes, but one stands out: he coached Mike Newkirk, a wrestling champion and football player of the year at the state high school level.

Newkirk went on to play defensive lineman for the Badgers, and in 2007, he earned the Jay Seiler Coaches Appreciation Award, which honors improvement, attitude, and willingness to help the team.

Martino was pleased because the award both reflected Newkirk’s hard work and is named for one of Martino’s high school classmates who played for the Badgers and died at a football practice in 1979.

Martino lives with his wife on a small farm near Ladysmith, where they raised two children, enjoy trail riding on horseback, and hiking in Rusk County’s Blue Hills. It’s the perfect setting for Martino, and offers many opportunities to reflect on his accomplishments and how the University of Wisconsin–Madison helped him achieve his goals.

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