Wasmund takes over at Apple ValleyWORTHINGTON — Dalen Wasmund has had success on the wrestling mat at every level.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Dalen Wasmund has had success on the wrestling mat at every level.
He won in high school.
He won in college.
And for the past 30 years, he’s been successful as a coach.
On Tuesday, he was hired as the head coach at one of the most successful high school programs in the country — Apple Valley.
“I’ve been here a long time, so the good thing is I know what’s up around here and I kind of know the people,” said Wasmund, who has been an assistant coach at Apple Valley for 20 years. “It’s something that I never really saw coming and it’s going to be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it. But I think it will be a big challenge.”
Wasmund, a 1977 graduate of Worthington High School, replaces Jim Jackson, who is the winningest coach in Minnesota high school wrestling history.
Jackson amassed a 619-26-3 record while leading the Eagles to 14 state championships.
Wasmund has been an assistant coach with Jackson for the past 12 years, which included 11 state championships.
But when Jackson announced his retirement earlier this year, Wasmund was shocked.
“I was pretty surprised, actually,” Wasmund said. “I didn’t think that was going to happen for a few years yet. I thought we would ride off together and kind of quit at the same time. I was a little bit surprised at that all happening.”
But Wasmund isn’t a stranger to winning, either.
He had a 117-4 record at WHS and was a two-time All-American at the University of Minnesota.
“I think I know what it takes to be good,” Wasmund said Tuesday afternoon. “I think I’m pretty realistic about what needs to be done and how hard kids have to work. That’s the big thing, getting them going in the right direction and get them working really hard.”
Wasmund started coaching at Apple Valley in 1982 and was on staff for eight years. During those years, the Eagles won three state championships and were runner-up three times.
In 1990, he became the head coach at Eagan High School.
For 10 years, he was at the helm before returning to Apple Valley in 2000.
A little before noon on Tuesday morning, Wasmund took his next step — head coach.
“I felt like I wasn’t done coaching and I was kind of waiting to see,” he said. “We only have a couple open positions in the building for people outside. I was hoping that somebody outside would be a really good candidate and there just weren’t any for the head coaching job that fit the bill of being a teacher. I thought I would throw my hat in there.
“It wasn’t a real shocker. They wanted someone in the school to do the job and I was the only one in the school. They had another guy who had been in the program 10 or 12 years and I know he would have done a nice job, too.”
In his first season, Wasmund will have to replace quite a few starters from the lineup.
“We only have two wins coming back against St. Michael (Albertville), so I think St. Michael’s is going to be the team to beat this year,” he said. “We’re in a different position where we’ll be the hunters and not the hunted this year.”
And he will hit the ground running.
“We’re starting finals here, so I’m trying to get some kids together,” Wasmund said. “We have a few kids who are heading out to the East Coast to wrestle some duals out there. We’ll try to get together with as many of the kids as we can this week before school is out.”
Taking over a team which was ranked No. 3 nationally doesn’t come without pressure. But if anyone knows how to perform under those circumstances, it’s Wasmund.
“I think there’s going to be pressure for anybody,” Wasmund said. “But the good thing for me is that we’re going to do things really close to the same way and continue to work hard.
“We always talk about how it’s not really about the final result, it’s about putting in the effort and trying to make the kids better and improve every day.”
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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.