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Southwest Wisconsin Feels the Impact of the Loss of Tracy Krueger

02/03/2021, 12:45pm CST
By Colton Wilson

If you grew up in southwest Wisconsin and played any high school athletics, you knew Tracy Krueger.

Whether as a coach, official or spectator, Tracy could be spotted on the court, field or in the stands on almost any given night.

Monday night Tracy was where he'd been countless nights before, in a gym, officiating a basketball game between Mount Horeb and Richland Center. As an assistant with the Richland Center team, I experienced first hand how a typical basketball game night suddenly shifted to something much more tragic.

With just over six minutes left in the game, Tracy blew his whistle at half court as the trailing official and hunched over feet from our bench. Immediately it became apparent that the situation was serious as he went to a knee and then collapsed as parents from both the Mount Horeb and Richland Center stands, as well as the resident doctor, rushed to his aid.

Both coaching staffs ushered our athletes into the locker rooms as the gym was cleared while the first responders attempted CPR. The game would be canceled minutes later.

Early the next morning, we were given word that Tracy had passed away.

Counseling was offered to those athletes and students in attendance that morning.

From reffing my games at Richland Center High School and later at UW-Richland, I have known Tracy for 15 or more years. Myself, my family, and many friends have had the privilege to interact with him, whether in an athlete-to-ref, coach-to-ref, friend-to-friend or in my younger sister's experience, coach-to-athlete, as he recruited and convinced her to play basketball for him at UW-Richland.

Tracy's legacy will be a lasting one in our community and all of southwest Wisconsin. So much of his time he dedicated to teaching young kids whether it be as a teacher, coach, camp director, or referee.

To those civilians in the stands on Monday night that rushed, without hesitation, to provide medical aid, thank you.

To Tracy's family and friends, my sincere condolences as Tracy was a great and giving man.

To Tracy, thank you for utter unselfishness to giving your time to the tens of thousands of athletes. Your love and giving to high school sports and the communities you were involved with left an impact that will be felt for a long time to come.

Tracy's Obituary

From Pratt Funeral and Cremation Services -- 

Tracy Lee Krueger, 69, of Muscoda, passed away unexpectedly February 1, 2021 at the Richland Hospital. Born May 12, 1951 in Watertown, WI to Pauline (nee' Roese) and Harold Krueger, Tracy revered his beloved sister Cheryl and idolized his older brother Bill. Tracy attended Suring High School and graduated from Marathon High School, representing Marathon while placing third at State in the 1-mile. He was a scholarship cross country athlete at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior, where he earned a Bachelors in Social Studies. He was awarded a Master's Degree in Physical Education from Winona State University.

Tracy believed in a life of service and friendship to others. He was a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church for 44 years, serving in numerous capacities including Council President and Vice-President. He supported the community as a member of the local Jaycees and later the Muscoda, Blue River and Avoca Lions Club. He was a tireless fundraiser for Riverdale and UW-Richland athletics and Greater Richland Area Cancer Elimination (GRACE). He was a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross and proudly served as a volunteer poll worker at election time.

Like his father, Tracy energetically and garrulously dedicated his career to area youth as a teacher, coach, and sports official. Teaching duties included Social Studies, Physical Education, and Health for K-12 students at Belleville and Riverdale High Schools, and Physical Education and Intramurals at UW-Richland. Coaching assignments included Rotary Youth soccer; basketball, football and track at the high school level; collegiate basketball, soccer and cross country; and countless basketball camps throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. "Coach K" was a label he wore proudly. He treasured the camaraderie he fostered throughout the Wisconsin sporting community and the bonds he forged with his officiating crews in various sports for over three decades.

A die-hard Cubs, Packers, and Badgers fan, Tracy and friends welcomed any opposing Badger’s football fan at their tailgate. He loved baking treats for neighbors and colleagues, and putting a smile on your face, preferably by entering the room, but if necessary by leaving it. He lived for regaling anyone who would listen, particularly about his children – Brendan, Alicia, and Beau, and cherished granddaughter Aubrey. His embellishments any topic were honed by his lifetime as an avid fishing buddy for anyone that would go with him.

Tracy was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Pauline, and by his sister Cheryl Polnaszek.

He is survived by his wife Cecelia (nee' Voss), his quietly strong partner for over 47 years; his brother Bill (husband of Toni), by his children - Brendan (husband of Heather Molnar), Alicia (wife of Kasey Carlson), and Beau (partner of Jeremy Ellison); and will always be the Old Spring Chicken to his granddaughter Aubrey. He's also survived by numerous in-laws, nephews and nieces, and friends, not to mention the thousands of student athletes who's lives he touched.

Visitation will be held at St. John's Gym in Muscoda on Saturday, February 6, 2021 from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM. The family requests masks be worn and social distancing be observed. A private family funeral will be held at St. Peter's Lutheran Church at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, to GRACE, or to the Muscoda, Blue River and Avoca Lions Club. The Pratt Funeral and Cremation Service is assisting the family with their arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Tracy Lee Krueger please visit our Tribute Store.

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