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Mike DeRoehn, Lakeland College's head wrestling coach, has been named Kids Person of the Year by USA Wrestling. The award annually honors a leader who has made great contributions to kids wrestling in the United States.
From 2006-2011, DeRoehn served as the state coach of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, USA Wrestling's state association. In that role, DeRoehn coached athletes of all ages within the state, including those in the kids and cadet age divisions. He worked closely with the state's Schoolboy/girl and Cadet National Dual Meet teams each year. He was also responsible for running the training camps for Wisconsin's Cadet and Junior teams in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
In his role as state coach, DeRoehn handled numerous administrative tasks which affected the kids and cadet programs in the state, and he assisted the athletes and their families in many different ways.
He remains active with the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation on a volunteer basis as the university age level director.
He also owns and is head wrestling coach of World Class Wrestling School, a USA Wrestling-chartered club which assists young men and women in developing their wrestling skills, building character and developing positive habits on and off the mat. He has operated the club since 2003, and has worked with youth athletes on a year-round basis. His club focuses on folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman, as well as strength, conditioning and positive mentoring activities.
"The neat thing, between my club program and my college team, is that I am coaching nearly every age group," DeRoehn said. "It gives me a chance to coach and mentor a broad spectrum. Wrestling is my passion. Working with all these age groups makes it interesting for me. You learn different ways to teach."
In 2010, he was named USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Junior National Coach of the Year.
"We send the message through our club, and through the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, that we want to win titles, but developing good citizens and students is the most important thing," said DeRoehn.
In the 2010-11 season, DeRoehn led the Muskies to their fourth-straight Northern Wrestling Association team title with four champions. He led Lakeland to a ninth-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional, hosted by Lakeland, and sent the school's fifth-ever wrestler to Nationals.
"It is gratifying getting this award. It comes down to the entire Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, which is reflected in this award. We have great leadership in this state, from chairman Dave Black and our entire board. It all starts there. Our board makes decisions in the best interest of our wrestlers. This also gives me and other leaders the freedom to make a difference in the lives of kids," said DeRoehn.