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2013 Hall of Fame Inductees
2010 Inductees

Rice Lake Sports Hall of Fame thirteenth inductee banquet. 12-01-13 at Lehman's Supper Club. Inductee's from left: Lavern Pottinger, Jean Hermann accepting for her late husband and inducee Howard Whitney Jr., Sara 'Bailey' Drost and Gary Larson.

Sara Bailey Drost
Sara, a 1989 Rice Lake High School graduate, earned 7 trips to state in cross country and track. Her school record time of 5:10 in the 1600 meter run (at the state meet in her senior year) still stands after 22 years.
In cross-country, she was the Ho’N individual champion twice and runner-up twice. Running against Division I competition at sectionals, she finished in the top 9 in each of her four years, including 4th place finishes in her sophomore and junior years. At the state meet she finished 20th, 19th, and 33rd in fields of up to 150 runners. She was the top finisher in 10 invitational meets and finished 2nd an additional 7 times during her high school career.
In track, running the 1600- and 3200-meter races, Sara won 4 individual conference championships and finished second 4 times. She won 3 Division I regional championships, finishing 2nd once. She was sectional runner-up 4 times and earned 4 top 11 finishes at the state meet, including 5th place her senior year.
Sara was named Most Valuable Runner in 1986, 87 and 88 and Most Outstanding Athlete in 1987, 88 and 89. She was the Jaycees Athlete of the Year in 1989. She was also a national qualifier in the prestigious Hersey Track Meet as an 11-year-old, and won the 1600 meter run at the 1988 Badger State Games with a time of 5:06.
Sara was awarded a full 5-year athletic scholarship to UW-Parkside for cross-country, and indoor and outdoor track before being hit hard by injuries her freshman year when she elected to end her competitive running career.

Gary Larson
Gary Larson was the Head Boys Basketball Coach at RLHS for 15 years (1985-2000). During that time, his teams won 192 games while losing 142. Coach Larson has more wins than any basketball coach in Rice Lake’s history. Gary’s teams won a Heart of the North championship as well as four Big Rivers titles. They also won six regional titles and were sectional runner ups four times. The pinnacle of Larson’s coaching career came in 1993 when the Warriors won the sectional championship and went on to Madison where they brought home the Division 2 State Championship. Prior to coming to Rice Lake, Gary spent four years coaching at his alma mater, Kenosha Tremper High School under legendary Coach Jimenez. Gary played 2 years of college basketball at Northland College prior to transferring to U-W Madison, where he graduated in 1977 with a degree in psychology. He later earned a Masters of Education degree from UW Lacrosse. From 1985 to 1995, he was the Rice Lake Boys Basketball Vice-president and currently serves as President of the Rice Lake Girls’ Basketball League. In 2011, Gary retired after 25 years of teaching at the Rice Lake High School.
He returned to coach the Warrior girls varsity team in 2012-13 with a record of 11 and 12 and in 2013-14 posting a 11-14 record including the regional championship.

LaVern Pottinger
Every school, town, or city has but only a few “once in a lifetime” coaches, and that’s what LaVern Pottinger is to Rice Lake and the Rice Lake Warriors football program. Vern coached the Warriors for nine seasons, from 1997 through 2005. At Rice Lake, Pottinger led the Warriors to a 72-30 overall mark, including playoff appearances in all but his first season. Rice Lake won one Big Rivers title, three second places and three third places while going 43 and 19 in the Big Rivers and 13 and 8 in the play-offs in 8 straight winning seasons, and was Division 3 state runner-up in 2004. Pottinger believes a winning program has as much to do about building character as it does with sound football. After 11 sub-bar seasons for the Warrior football teams, Pottinger changed the mind-set of the football program. He completely revamped the weight-lifting program, instilled confidence and developed a winning attitude in the football players and the entire community.
Vern was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball at Sparta High School, graduating in 1964. He was selected to the All-State Football Team as a quarterback in 1963 and during his senior basketball season, the Spartans lost to Eau Claire Memorial in the sectional finals of the one-class state playoffs. Pottinger went on to star in three sports at Ripon College. He earned All-Midwest Conference honors as a defensive back his junior and senior years. His first job was teaching math and coaching football, basketball and baseball at Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois from 1968 to 1971. After two years as offensive coordinator at UW-River Falls, where he was studying for a master’s degree, Pottinger’s first head coaching job was at Mauston High School from 1973-77. Pottinger returned to Illinois in 1977 to take over a faltering program at Belvidere High School. By the time he left 20 years later, Belvidere had posted a 146-68 record, including 11 playoff appearances, 8 conference championships, 2 state championships (1993-94) and one state runner-up (1988). After 38 years of coaching, Pottinger’s football coaching career record is 232-119 for a .660 winning percentage. Vern is currently in the Sparta Sports Hall of Fame, the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2007), and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2012). He and his wife Judy reside in Rice Lake.

Howard Whitney, Jr.
Howard was a three sport athlete at RLHS, graduating in 1940. As an end in football, he helped lead the Lakers to two undefeated HON championships in 1938 and 1939. In basketball, Howard played center on the Lakers Ho’N
co-championship team in 1939 and in 1940 helped lead the team to the Conference Championship and a berth in the State basketball tournament at Madison. In the Spring of 1940 he placed 4th in the mile run at the State track meet. Enlisting in the Army following graduation, he played football on the 128th Regimental Infantry Team for two years. In August of 1944 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and awarded the Soldier’s Medal for Heroic Deeds. In December of that same year, Howard Whitney, Jr. died in a New Guinea hospital at the age of 23.