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Prep wrestling: Area coaches remember BBE's Vos

Randy Olson, Sauk Centre Herald Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa wrestling coach Richard Vos shakes hands with Jaguar wrestler Tyler Tensen at the state wrestling opener March 2 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Prep wrestling coaches throughout the area were stunned by the death of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa head coach Rich Vos on Tuesday.

Two long-time area coaches, New London-Spicer's Jair Toedter and KMS's Wes Haglund, said they were saddened by the loss of a coach, husband and father who worked hard in the school and in the community.

One of BBE's annual invitational tournaments served as the official start of the high school season for many area teams, said Toedter, who began his teaching and coaching career at BBE. He said he still has strong ties to the community.

Toedter left for the head coaching job at NLS 19 years ago, before Vos moved into the community. But the two coaches had common ground through their ties to the BBE community and their sport.

"I love that community and I know Rich did so many good things there," Toedter said. "We were good comrades and we had a friendly rivalry and good relations between the communities and the programs. He always had a positive approach, no matter how competitive his teams were. He coached his guys hard whether they were high in the rankings or low in the rankings and I always had a lot of respect for him for that."

Vos brought that positive attitude into all his relationships, Toedter said, even in the sometimes hyper-competitive atmosphere of wrestling.

"It was fun to be in the coaches' room with him," Toedter said. "He enjoyed the camaraderie of the sport and he had a lot of energy. He didn't rub anyone the wrong way, which happens sometimes in sports."

KMS head coach Wes Haglund knew Vos for many of his 33 years with the Saints program, the last 13 as head coach.

"He was always positive," Haglund said, "and that's tough because it's a struggle in small communities to run a real good wrestling program when the basketball program is as good as it is (at BBE). He ran a great program and did a lot with those kids. He did so much for that community and the school."

Toedter, who like Vos has younger children, said the BBE community is "very tight" and will do its best to help the family.

"He's got a young family and it's hard to think about them being without a husband and a father," he said.

The upcoming season will have a different feel without Vos around, Haglund said.

"He was always in a good mood, always smiling, having fun," Haglund said. "Those kids are going to miss him. He was good for Minnesota wrestling. He put a lot more into it that some people do. We've lost a heck of a good person, all-around."

BBE Activities Director Rick Gossen said Vos was of great support when Gossen came into his job two years ago.

"All you had to do was ask him," Gossen said. "If we had a track meet, he was the first guy to come up and say he'd run the timing system. Coming into a new job, you need those kinds of guys and Rich was always there."

Vos' impact on the school and community went beyond athletics, Gossen said.

"Rich was one of those guys, from an educational standpoint, had a lot going for him," Gossen said. "As a math teacher, his students enjoyed him very much and as a coach there were a lot of kids in the school who were committed to him and the program. Guys who can do it in the classroom and on the court, in the wrestling room or on the field are hard to come by. He will be missed."

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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