Rifle’s Kalvin Deere leaps at chance to coach
PEACH VALLEY — Coal Ridge High School has filled its head wrestling coach position with Kalvin Deere, a Rifle resident who has been involved with the younger wrestling community in the area throughout the years. He is looking forward to the 2013 season, which will be his first season as a head coach.
Deere was a three-sport athlete at Rifle High School, participating in wrestling (152-pound weight class), football, and track (lettered all four years). He graduated in 2003, and pursued further education in Arizona at High Tech Institute for Applied Science of Drafting and Architecture, where he earned his associates degree.
He passed up on collegiate sports offers because his major was not offered at those universities/colleges.
In 1997, Deere started helping with youth wrestling in the Rifle area. He returned to Rifle from college in 2006 to coach middle school, and was an assistant wrestling and football coach for at Rifle High School in 2008.
“The kids and coaches of other teams [build] that camaraderie, so coaching in the area for so long, most of the wrestling people know me already,” Deere said. “There’s still some that I don’t know of course, but it makes the learning curve a little easier.”
Working for the Garfield Re-2 District, the newly crowned head coach heard of the position through the extra-net the school shares with staff members.
“I was a little tentative at first. I’ve done assistant high school coaching, but I think I’m ready for it,” Deere said.
Deere will be taking over responsibility for the team in place of previous wrestling coach Mike Mikalakis, the current head coach for the Coal Ridge soccer team. Mikalakis stepped down as the wrestling head coach prior to the school year.
Preseason workouts for the Titans have already begun. “Actually we started some voluntary preseason stuff on Tuesday of [last] week, so we’ve got [a few] days in,” Deere said.
“We’ve got an interesting mix [of athletes]. They’re really spread out in weight, so we should be able to fill up our weight bracket,” he continued. “The experience is spread evenly, but [they] all seem to be very positive, especially considering all of the changes that have been made this season.”
The leadership of the Coal Ridge upperclassmen will be a significant factor for a successful 2013 season. Deere plans to focus on many aspects of the sport, including neutral positioning, conditioning, attitude, and physicality. He emphasizes the importance of athletes learning to use emotions to their advantage, while also being in control and being respectful.
“I’m pretty excited overall,” the coach said. “It’s an interesting class this year because we’ve got a lot of freshman coming up, [but] we’ve got some really solid older kids, too.”
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.