CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kennedy Activities Director Aaron Stecker confirmed Wednesday that Nick LeClere is expected to be the Cougars’ next head wrestling coach, pending Cedar Rapids Community School District board approval.
“The interview committee sat down and looked at Nick’s experience and his vision for the program through the transition from three to five years ago and what he wants it to look like ...,” Stecker said. “We’ve seen what he’s built in our Junior Cougar wrestling program and it all just fit.”
LeClere has served as an assistant on the wrestling staff for seven season and is an assistant softball coach. He worked with former wrestling coach Dennis Hynek, who resigned after last season.
“I feel pretty invested in the program,” LeClere said. “I think we had it going on the right direction under Hynek’s leadership. I’m excited to keep it going.”
The Cougars were 17th at last season’s Class 3A state traditional tournament and reached the regional dual finals, falling to North Scott and posting a 10-2 record. Kennedy has won two straight Mississippi Valley Conference divisional crowns.
“We have five returning state qualifiers from last year and two additional state qualifiers from the previous year,” LeClere said. “We’ve got a pretty good group, really.”
LeClere has a long-term vision at Kennedy.
“I told them I don’t see myself stepping down for several decades,” LeClere said. “I’m a big believer in establishing your roots early and helping it grow into something great.”
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LeClere was a 2007 state champion for North Linn. He started his college career at Iowa before transferring to Coe. He was a two-time NCAA Division III finalist and three-time All-American for the Kohawks.
LeClere recalled how North Linn grew and developed into a top-tier program and built a community where the same faces are supporting it at state that were supporting him when he was there.
“That’s what I want to build,” LeClere said. “It’s like small-town community atmosphere but at a big school.”
LeClere’s family has been heavily involved in wrestling, including his father, Doug, and brothers, Dan and Chris.
“We had some good folks to look at,” Stecker said. “It wasn’t an easy decision to differentiate, but we’re excited about Nick and his potential as a head coach.
“It’s in his blood and his family’s blood.”
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