Former Burlington High School coach Rick Koceja (left) and former student/athlete Greg Uhlenhake are honored at the halftime of Friday’s boys basketball game as the school’s most recent inductees into the athletic Wall of Fame. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

Former BHS hoops star, coach added to school’s Wall of Fame

By Mike Ramczyk


One is one of the top five basketball players to ever grace the halls of Burlington High School.

The other is one of the most influential, game-changing coaches in the history of running at the school.

Greg Uhlenhake and Rick Koceja were given their proper spots in the Burlington High School Athletic Wall of Fame Friday night in front of a packed crowd at the Burlington-Waterford boys basketball game.

Surrounded by friends and family, the dynamic duo showed nothing but smiles as they enjoyed their moments in the sun.

Uhlenhake played on the school’s first state tournament team in 1974 and still holds several scoring records.

He earned first team all-area and all-state recognition for the Demons and went on to play basketball at UW-La Crosse. He coached sports for his children and grandchildren, and married his high school sweetheart Kris and had four children, Jeremy, Geoff, Kyle and Kayla.

Greg and his brother Ed formed a strong 1-2 punch on the Demons’ squads.

Koceja led his alma mater Milwaukee Boys Tech High School to the cross country state meet twice and held two records in the mile and two-mile as a runner.

He became a physical education teacher and started a girls cross country team in Amherst before coming to Burlington, where he coached cross county, track and basketball.

At BHS, Koceja helped 22 individuals and two teams qualify for the state cross country meet.

He coached state champion Lee Zubrod to the 1,600 and 3,200 titles, and he helped 43 athletes advance to the track and field state meet. Koceja, who now coaches cross country and track at Catholic Central, is a former Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association non-varsity coach of the year.

Last fall, he helped lead Catholic Central runner Elsie Kmecak to a state championship.

To read the entire story see the Jan. 27 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.