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Bahr named Bemidji HS wrestling coach

Rance Bahr, former Bemidji High School wrestler and wrestling coach, was named Wednesday as the new Lumberjacks head coach.

His appointment was announced by Activities Director Harvey Crable.

Bahr becomes the 12th head mat coach in the Jacks long history in a sport begun in 1956 under Jack Willhite.

He succeeds Rob Whelan who stepped down this spring after three years as head coach.

Bahr is the fifth former Lumberjack to handle the mat program following Bob Whelan, Jim Cleveland, Rob Strand and Rob Whelan.

He brings a wealth of experience in the sport to his new post.

He is a 1992 graduate of Bemidji High, wrestling varsity for three years under Jeff Nelson and Cleveland, com piling a 67-32 record. He finished fourth in 1992 at the state meet at 140 and captained the Jacks his senior year.

His father, Darrell Bahr, was one of the original Lumber jacks wrestlers on the 1956 team as a sophomore and became a three-year starter.

His son continued his career at Itasca CC in 1993-94 and went on to graduate with a degree in special education from BSU in 2003.

He is in his seventh year as a special ed teacher in the school system.

He began his coaching career during his high school days with the Bemidji Wrestling Club in 1992.

He continued with the youth program through 2002 and again in 2004 and later joined Charlie Osborn with the newly formed Northern Elite Wrestling Club, handling the elementary level teaching while assisting Osborn in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the upper levels.

He joined the BHS program in 1996 at the Middle School level and later moved to become JV coach under Jim Carlson from 1999-2002.

He was voted Section 8-3A Assistant Wrestling Coach of the year in both 2000 and 2002.

He is looking forward to increasing the turnout next winter in rebuilding the program that started the past season with only 16 wrestlers on hand.

During its heyday under Ken Schmoker for 19 seasons, it frequently had upwards of 75 varsity and junior high wrestlers in the mat rooms.

Those numbers have declined the past two decades, a decline that Bahr hopes to turn around.

Bahr becomes the 14th new head coach appointed by Crable in his six years as Athletic Director. It is only three fewer than the 17 named by Jim Mergens in his four years from 1995-98 and one under the 15 named by Troy Hendricks from 1999-2003.

Bahr plans on completing his mat staff in the next few days.