DELHI — From a young age, Kurt Hatfield has been living the sport of wrestling.
“I was drawn to the competitiveness,” said Hatfield, the new varsity coach at Maquoketa Valley. “You had to be better and stronger than that kid in competition.”
Hatfield credits Kris Lenz, a youth wrestling coach, with urging him to go out. With support from his mom, stepdad and other family members, he decided to give it a shot and has never looked back.
“... in wrestling, you get what you earn,” Hatfield said. “You get out of it what you put into it.”
Maquoketa Valley wrestling has a long tradition of success. Over the last five seasons, four state champions have been crowned under the direction of Tim Andrews, who resigned his position. Hatfield, the middle school wrestling coach in previous years, moved up the ranks and took the reins on preserving this wrestling dynasty.
Wrestling took Hatfield to the Iowa high school state championships his junior year at West Delaware. However, when wrestling at the district competition his senior year, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
After a brief time in college, Hatfield entered the workforce but wanted to get back on the mat. Coaching appeared to be the easiest way to feed this need. With a little encouragement from his wife, Jody, he received his coaching authorization in early 2009 and approached his high school coach, Jeff Voss, hoping to become an assistant at the Manchester school. It took some convincing, but Hatfield was granted an assistant coaching position for the 2009-2010 season.
While at West Delaware, Hatfield learned many valuable lessons about coaching. The most important included goal setting, pushing wrestlers to do their best in all facets of life.
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However, he still wasn’t completely satisfied. After the retirement of Maquoketa Valley’s middle school coach Mike Beatty, Hatfield was hired for that position.
“MV has some of the best parents, teachers, coaches, volunteers, school and program supporters around,” Hatfield said. “Their dedication, support and drive can rival the best.”
He knew he had found his new home at MV. Two years later, another position opened up — the head high school wrestling coach.
As with most jobs, the higher position means more responsibilities. This certainly is no exception. Hatfield will have to “line everything up, keep track of the kids’ weights, keep the program on track and make sure the schedule is correct” to have a successful season.
To help with all of these tasks, Hatfield has surrounded himself with talented assistant coaches — Maquoketa Valley alumn Brian Wegmann and 2013 West Delaware graduate and state runner up Zach Muller.
Through these coaches, Hatfield will give each and every one of the wrestlers the individual attention they will need to grow.
Backed by a solid base of returning talent, Hatfield hopes to bring Maquoketa Valley wrestling back into the state tournament spotlight. However, above all else, he looks to re-establish the hardworking culture that is essential to the health of the school as a whole.
“As a new head coach at MV, I’m excited,” he said. “In a traditionally strong wrestling program, this is a new era.”