Rickert steps down as Spartan wrestling coach
For as long as he can remember, Jared Rickert has been a part of wrestling in Sparta.
The 2007 Spartan graduate first took to the mat in the first grade, and what followed was one of the most prolific wrestling careers in Sparta history.
Rickert was a three-time state qualifier for Sparta, finishing third at 140 pounds his senior season.
He recorded a record of 153-37 in his four-year varsity career as a Spartan, becoming the first grappler in school history to record four straight 30-win seasons.
In 2007, Rickert set Sparta’s single-season record at the time by posting a whopping 48 wins.
He earned all-Mississippi Valley Conference honors all four seasons as well, including first-team honors in 2004 and 2007, and was named MVC Wrestler of the Year his senior season.
After high school, Rickert went on to wrestle at the collegiate level for the University of Minnesota, where he earned Academic All-Big 10 honors during his sophomore season with the Gopher grapplers.
It wasn’t surprising, then, that Rickert returned to the mat as a coach in his hometown, first working as an assistant, before taking over the varsity job four seasons ago.
But all good things must come to an end, and last week Rickert announced he was stepping down as Sparta’s head coach after four seasons to focus on his family and his career.
“My family and my professional career is going in a different direction. I’m a husband and a father, and I didn’t really get to spend much time with my family during wrestling season,” he offered.
“I don’t know if it has totally hit me – it probably will when next season comes around,” said Rickert of his decision to step away from the sport that has been a huge part of his life for the nearly three decades. “I believe I was in first grade when I started wrestling, so I’ve been around it my whole life. I’m going to miss the boys. It’s a pretty fun and unique sport to be in.”
Rickert began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant under Jake Larsen.
After Larsen resigned, Rickert spent one year as an assistant under Mike Roddick, before he and Roddick took on the roles of co-head coaches for the 2015-16 season.
Roddick stepped down the following season, and Rickert was elevated to the position he’s held for the past three seasons.
In his four years as Sparta’s head coach, Rickert’s teams recorded a 14-8 record in MVC action.
He has coached 35 all-conference wrestlers, including 10 grapplers who earned first-team honors.
Rickert is proud of his coaching accomplishments in Sparta, and said the most rewarding part of the job is watching his young charges grow into young men.
“Over the years, it’s the things you can instill in the kids, not only on the mat, but in life,” he said. “To see 14 or 15-year-old kids grow into young men, ready to take on the world, that was one of the biggest things for me. It’s cool as a coach to know you’ve had a hand in helping someone advance to another level.”
Rickert is thankful for his time with the Sparta wrestling program, and was quick to point out that he’s had great support from the community.
While his immediate focus will be on family and career, Rickert isn’t ruling out a return to the mat in the future.
“It was a hard decision for me to make, but things change,” concluded Rickert. “But I will never be a stranger to Sparta wrestling in the future.”