Kittleson resigns, accepts assistant coaching spot with Loras

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Perry head coach Trevor Kittleson and cheerleaders Brooke Garnes (left) and Skylar Cunningham (seated, right) react after senior Kade VanKirk secured a podium spot at the state wrestling tourney Feb. 19. Kittleson recently resigned to become the new assistant coach at Loras College.

DUBUQUE — The wrestling program at Perry High School suffered a real blow recently when head coach Trevor Kittleson announced his resignation. The popular and successful coach and physics/science teacher at PHS has accepted the assistant coaching position at Loras College.

“I am going to miss Perry,” Kittleson told ThePerryNews.com. “The community really embraced us and absorbed us, and we will be forever grateful for that. We have made some great friendships in our five years in Perry, and I’m sure those will continue.”

Kittleson praised Perry Activities Director Tom Lipovac and his assistant and volunteer coaches, noting “you could not ask for a better group of people to work for and work with.”

Kittleson is a St. Ansgar native. His wife, Laura, hails from Oregon, Illinois. The couple have an 8-month-old son, Dakota.

While the move to Dubuque will still leave the coach about 160 miles from his hometown, the distance to Laura’s will be shaved dramatically, as Oregon is less than 100 miles from Loras.

“We are both very family-oriented, and that was definitely part of the consideration in taking this job,” Kittleson said. “There is never a perfect time to leave a place you love as much as we do Perry, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and the location made it even more attractive.”

The Duhawk wrestling program will have two new faces this season, as 23-year head coach and NWCA Hall of Fame inductee Randy Steward recently resigned after a successful tenure. He will be replaced by T. J. Miller, who quickly turned to Kittleson as his own replacement as assistant coach.

“The wrestling world is a small world, and T. J. told me awhile ago that something might be coming down the pipe,” Kittleson said. “I have always wanted to coach at the collegiate level, and I am honored T. J. and the people at Loras thought enough of me to bring me on.”

Perry sophomore Zach Thompson is congratulated by assistant coach J.P. Hulgan (left) and head coach Trevor Kittleson after ensuring a spot on the podium with a quarterfinal win at the Class 2A state tourney this season. Kittleson resigned recently to become the assistant coach at Loras College.
Perry sophomore Zach Thompson is congratulated by assistant coach J.P. Hulgan (left) and head coach Trevor Kittleson after ensuring a spot on the podium at the Class 2A state tourney this season.

Kittleson’s five years with the Bluejays included numerous successes. He helped guide Kane Seeley to the second of his two state titles, led Jackson VanKirk to a runner-up finish at state and sent several other grapplers to the big stage while winning a conference dual title. Zach Thompson (sixth each of the last two seasons) and qualifier Kaleb Olejniczak will return to highlight the Jays this year.

“I’ve had the honor of working with some incredible young men here in Perry,” Kittleson said. “It was not easy sharing the news with them, but I told them that if they continued on the path they were on, that more success would come their way, and I believe that it will.”

The assistant job at Loras is, Kittleson noted, “absolutely a full-time job.” Among other duties will be recruiting, something that will be new to the coach.

“I know there will be a learning curve, but I’m confident I can handle the challenge,” he said. “I have a lot of connections throughout Central Iowa and in some other parts of the state that will help in my recruiting, and I’m looking forward to selling the program and what it is we will expect from the guys and what they it is they will gain from us.”

Kittleson closed by saying he believed the program in Perry was in good hands.

“I will be putting in my suggestion on who the new coach should be,” he said. “Whoever it is will be working with some really dedicated and outstanding assistants and volunteers, and they are going to find the kids here are some of the finest they could ask for.”

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