Dodge City Red Demons head wrestling coach Lars Lueders accepted the head wrestling coach position at Bishop Carroll Catholic School in Wichita Monday.

Lueders coached the Red Demon Wrestling Team from 2008 through this year. He also taught mathematics at Dodge City High School during that time. The Red Demons just finished a historic season in which the team had three wrestlers win their respective division state championships.

Lueders said originally decided to apply for the job because he and his family needed to move a little further east.

The process was quick between getting interviewed and getting offered the job, something that was beneficial both for Bishop Carroll and for Dodge City High School, he said.

“I was grateful (for) that because I knew, if I was going to accept the position, Dodge needed to figure out who their next coach was going to be,” Lueders said. “It’s important to me that this program keeps going and it stays successful, and I’m thankful that Bishop Carroll got going on it so Dodge has the opportunity to find their next leader.”

Lueders said Dodge City recruited him out to southwest Kansas and gave him the opportunity, helping him become the coach and the teacher he is today.

“I’ll always be thankful to the administration and to the community for bringing me out here because it jumpstarted my life and it’s all I’ve really ever known,” Lueders said.

The thing he’ll take away the most, however, are all the interactions he had with the community, people associated with the wrestling program and the athletes.

“I’m really close to my wrestlers. We say that we’re a family, and it’s the truth,” Lueders said. “I feel like (they’re) kind of like my sons. So every little interaction I have, every experience I had with my wrestlers is the biggest thing I’m going to take away, and I hope that I don’t lose contact with them and that they know I’m still there for them.”

Leaving them is the hardest part, he said.

“The hardest part was just leaving a program that I built, and leaving my wrestlers,” Lueders said. “I met with them today and that was pretty emotional.”

He said he broke down during that meeting.

“That was definitely the hardest part about leaving, is just leaving that you spent a lot of time building and leaving the wrestlers that I’m currently coaching and even the wrestlers that I coached in the past,” Lueders said.

It meant a lot to him that the community believed in him and believed in his vision, he said. His message to the community, he said, was mostly just “Thank you.”

“I’m grateful for the community and just the buy-in that I got from the school and the community,” Lueders said. “Everybody believed in me as a person and believed in my vision and I’m just grateful that they did. So just ‘Thank you’ is the biggest thing I want to say to them.”