Wrestling team gains experienced new coach, plans on changing style

Mitch Sundquist, Staff Writer

Varsity wrestler senior Jacob Sims said he had mixed emotions when he heard wrestling coach Chris Paisley would not be returning as the head wrestling coach this year.
“At first I felt bad for Coach Paisley,” he said. “He didn’t seem happy leaving wrestling the way he did,” Sims said. “But then [I felt] excited to be a part of rebuilding the wrestling program with a bigger and stronger team.”
Last spring, Sims and the rest of the wrestling team received the news that Paisley would be replaced by Kale Mann. Mann grew up in Norton, Kan. and wrestled all four years in high school, where his teams finished third at State and the State runner-up. Individually, he was a state runner-up. Mann decided not to wrestle collegiately and attended Kansas State University. He coached at Manhattan High School during his four years at Kansas State, and then coached at Mill Valley High School for ten years.
Mann first heard about the open coaching position at Blue Valley through an online wrestling talk forum. After he was hired, he addressed the wrestling team for the first time in April.
“I basically told them I was really excited to be part of the Blue Valley tradition, that was a rich tradition, and excited to be in a place that I felt like we could compete and win championships,” Mann said.
Sims said he had positive initial thoughts about Mann after the first meeting.
“He seemed like a real nice guy and was very passionate about the sport,” Sims said. “Both of us and the team were eager to get started.”
Although this is Mann’s first year at BV, he said he already likes the tradition and small-school feel.
“I feel like there’s a lot of tradition here,” he said. “I also feel, even though it’s a big school, there’s a lot of the characteristics of the small school that I grew up in, where student achievement is important and student activities are important. It’s very student-centered.”
Sims said Mann got himself involved in the program quickly during the offseason.
“He gave us information and helped coach in camps and clinics,” Sims said. “He also helped coach with open mats and weights. It was a lot more preparation for the season than I have done in the past few years.”
Sims said he has already noticed some differences between Mann and Paisley’s coaching styles.
“Mann is more of a pure wrestling guy,” he said. “Meaning that instead of running and doing carries everyday, we will be strictly wrestling to get better and stay in shape. More of a ‘work harder, shorter practice’ type of motto.”
Mann said he focuses his coaching style on the fundamentals of wrestling.
“We’re not going to do a tremendous number of moves,” he said. “We’re going to try to really master not just the move, but all of the variations of the move and all the different scenarios that could happen.”
As far as wins and losses, Mann said it is hard to create specific expectations for the team because of the tournaments he will be at for the first time as a coach.
“Where I coached before, we went to about two of the same tournaments, and that’s it,” Mann said. “So I don’t have a good feel for what the competition level is going to be at the tournaments.”
Although the expected wins and losses are unknown, Mann said he still expects some of the aspects he has already seen from the team to carry over into the season.
“[I’m looking] for the team to continue their enthusiasm and hard work,” he said. “And the wins and losses will all settle out at the end.”