KINGMAN - Midway through the wrestling season, the Lee Williams High Volunteers have a new wrestling coach. Dan Ondrejka has been chosen to replace Robert Loveless, who was in his first year.
"He made a personal decision that it was more than he wanted and decided not to finish the season," said LWHS principal/interim athletic director Gretchen Dorner about Loveless. "We had interviewed Dan as well (before the start of the season) and he was our second choice."
Loveless was unavailable for comment.
Ondrejka was working with KHS wrestling coach Brandon Clor as an assistant and junior varsity coach for the Bulldogs. Dorner contacted both Clor and KHS athletic director John Venenga about Ondrejka's availability.
Dorner got the go ahead, re-interviewed Ondrejka and as of Friday, he's the new Volunteer coach.
"He's really excited to take the program," Dorner said. "We've got a few wrestlers who can make state this year and we've had a few new wrestlers join the team this past week."
Ondrejka had spent a lot of time in the Bulldog wrestling room, so there is a touch of sadness for him.
"I will truly miss them," the new Vols wrestling coach said. "They will always hold a special place in my heart. I would definitely like to thank coach Clor and Mr. Venenga for the opportunity to help coach a really great group of kids at KHS."
No matter how heart-wrenching the decision to leave the Bulldogs behind may be for Ondrejka, he's ready to go to work for the Vols.
"Lee has a great group of kids that are willing to learn and put in the work," he said. "In the first couple of practices they have already shown dedication and heart. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds."
Lee Williams next wrestles when the Vols host Coconino and Payson at 3 p.m. Jan. 6.