By Jason Arndt
Burlington High School boys basketball fans will see a different look from the Demons’ bench entering the 2023-24 season.
After 28 years of serving as head coach, Steve Berezowitz, who has guided Burlington to several regional titles, decided to switch to a co-coaching format with assistant Kyle Scott.
Scott, who graduated from Catholic Central High School in 2002, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Burlington program.
As a player, Scott helped the Hilltoppers claim a 2001 WIAA state title, and later guided Catholic Central to the Division 5 state championship in 2016 as head varsity coach.
Scott stepped down as Catholic Central coach in 2020 and joined Berezowitz’s staff as an assistant three years ago.
Berezowitz said he and Scott have discussed a co-coaching format for a couple of years because it will allow Berezowitz to be on hand for his children’s activities.
A father of four, Berezowitz has two children competing in college sports – one at Marquette University and the other at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in addition to a junior at BHS.
“He wanted some time to go see them. It’s something that has been in the works for a while. It’s a co-head coaching deal where this allows him to see some of his kids’ games a little bit more,” Scott said. “So far, it has been an awesome experience.”
Berezowitz said he has seen co-coaching work well for his three daughters, who played under Teri Little and Dan Lynch on the girls volleyball team, and that helped with his decision.
“I have watched my three girls go through co-coaching with Dan Lynch and Teri Little. Kyle and I talked about this a couple of years ago and I kind of said this is what I was thinking,” he said. “It’s a great partnership. It’s working out for me and it’s great for him.”
While the program will undergo a slight change to its coaching format, the objective remains the same, Scott said.
“Coach (Berezowitz) and I never really talk about who is in charge. It’s a team effort. There are things I take the lead on and there are things he takes the lead on,” Scott said. “All we really care about is winning the game. We don’t really care who is in charge and who is not.”
The coaching duo returns a veteran squad that finished 20-6 overall and second place at 12-2 in Southern Lakes Conference play.
The Demons, however, will be without all-time scoring leader and graduated senior JR Lukenbill, who earned conference player of the year honors last year.
But Burlington still has a stellar core of players, including seniors Connor Roffers – who is poised to break Lukenbill’s record this year, along with Benjamin Graham, Karsen Skiles, Drew Lang, Tommy Teberg and Jack Sulik.
As a junior, Roffers scored 16.7 points per game to finish second behind Lukenbill, while Lang notched 7.4 ppg.
Skiles logged 6.0 rebounds per game.
“On this team, everyone has grown. Going from being a junior to a senior is a huge difference,” Scott said. “They all have worked their tails off during the offseason. I think coach Berezowitz and I have been impressed with everything we have seen.”
As for the players, they followed through on the court, where they have begun the season 2-0 with wins over Brookfield Central and Mukwonago.
While Burlington has shown a promising start, the Demons will need to contend with a highly competitive league that includes perennial power Westosha Central, Elkhorn, and new opponent Beloit Memorial.
“I think everyone is good. There is Beloit Memorial, which is new to our league. We play them Thursday, and they are very good,” Scott said. “Central has had a great program for a long time as have Waterford and Elkhorn. Anyone can beat each other on any given night. If we are not sharp, we will get beat by any team in our league.”
Scott, who admits to having coaching clichés, said the team has a simple goal of focusing on the present instead of the future during the season.
“We don’t really set expectations on if we want to do this, or we want to do that. We literally want to go 1-0 every night. I think if we go 1-0 more often than not, we will be happy with where we are,” Scott said. “We just want to play our best every single night.”