Kocer named assistant wrestling coach of year
SCOTLAND — After coaching for 40 years, there are not too many things Jim Kocer hasn’t accomplished or seen in the world of wrestling.
But Tuesday, the 61-year-old Scotland man was honored to be named the 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year by South Dakota wrestling coaches. It is the first time Kocer has won an award for his coaching efforts.
“I have been coaching for a lot of years,” said Kocer, whose coached wrestling for more than 25 years. “It felt really good to be given this award, but I was really surprised. I thank coach (Mark) Stoebner who nominated me.”
Kocer, Scotland’s activities director, stepped away from coaching the Highlanders in 2007. After taking a year off, he returned to the staff to coach as an assistant under Joe Walloch. From the 2008 through 2013, Kocer assisted the Scotland wrestling team. He continued his duties as an assistant coach this year as a staff member for the Bon Homme/Scotland wrestling team, which co-oped in wrestling for the first time.
“It felt a little strange seeing some of the Scotland guys wearing the blue of the Cavaliers,” Kocer said. “But things fell into place so well and coach Stoebner is such a great coach. Everything went pretty smooth right from the start.”
Kocer helped Bon Homme/Scotland finish in fifth place at the Class B state wrestling tournament this season. BH/S had three individual state champions at the Class B tournament, the most of any team competing. Alex Caba (120), Duncan Stoebner (113) and Dan Stibral (285) each claimed state titles. Caba and Stoebner attend school at Bon Homme in Tyndall, while Stibral is one of five wrestlers, who competed in varsity action from Scotland this year.
“After the state tournament, there was a welcome home in Tyndall, and I told the group that it was fun coaching them,” Kocer said. “The way practice felt, it was like everyone was one big family. This season helped me gain a new life coaching, so I hope to be back coaching next year.”
Other coaches from our area to earn coach of the year honors are McCook Central/Montrose’s Scott Andal and Bon Homme/Scotland’s Mark Stoebner. Andal was named Region 2 coach of the year, while Stoebner was Region 3 coach of the year.
Here is a complete list of the honorees
Assistant Coach of the Year: Jim Kocer, Scotland; Junior High Coach of the Year: Keven Morehart, Phillip; Press Coverage of the Year: Troy Schwans, Salem Special; Friend of Wrestling: Josh Klinkhammer, Brookings; Class A Wrestler of the Year: Troy Kiggins, Sioux Falls Roosevelt; Class B Wrestler of the Year: Ryan Schuman, Tri-Valley; Class B Coaches of the Year: Region 1. Chad Smidt, Clark/Willow Lake; Region 2. Scott Andal, McCook Central/Montrose; Region 3. Mark Stoebner, Bon Homme/Scotland; Region 4. John Latham, Stanley County; Class A Coaches of the Year: Region 1. Darrell Kortan, Sioux Falls Roosevelt; Region 2. Marc Murren, Sioux Falls Washington; Region 3. Rocky Burkett, Aberdeen Central; Region 4. Lance Pearson, Rapid City Central.