(Covington, La.) Monday morning (Feb. 19), Coach Craig Ketelsen announced that he would be retiring as head coach after 30 years of service. He takes with him almost 20 consecutive years of district titles, two state titles, years of personal wrestling experience, 351 dual meet victories, and the title of 2017 NFSH Lousiana wrestling coach of the year.
According to a school press release, Ketelsen steps down to focus more time on his work as Athletic Director and will remain the wrestling representative for the Louisiana High School Coaches Association. Ketelsen will also still be active with the wrestling team as a JV and eighth grade coach. In his place, Matt Pinero will take the lead as varsity head coach.
“Matt has done a great job as an assistant, and the time is right for him to take over leadership of the entire program,” Ketelsen said. “I am looking forward to helping him continue and improve on our success.“
Last weekend (Feb. 16 and 17), the SPS Wrestling Wolves traveled to Bossier City to compete in the LHSAA wrestling state tournament to try and wrestle away the state title from the other Division I schools. The Wolves wrestled tough and took fourth place, but unfortunately left with no individual state titles. On the other hand, the wolves put eight wrestlers in the semifinals and had ten place top six, no easy feat to accomplish. The Wolves can hold their heads high knowing they are District and Parish Champions, and a top five team in the state. This represented the Wolves’ 10th district title, ninth consecutive parish title, and 20th parish title in school history.
The future looks bright for the Wolves with a young, yet very capable and experienced coach and team.
“I want to get stronger and improve my technique so that I can perform better next year,” freshman Sam Davidson said.
Pinero immediately takes over as head coach for the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead the St. Paul’s Wrestling team,” Pinero said. “Over the last 30 years, Coach Craig Ketelsen has molded St. Paul’s into one of the premiere programs in the state. I am honored that he and the administration have entrusted me with the future of the program.”
Pinero is a 2008 graduate from Rummel High School and former wrestling team captain. He coached at Rummel from 2008 until 2014 and has been an assistant coach at St. Paul’s since 2014. He currently serves as the Louisiana USA Wrestling membership director and director of events, as well as a coach for Team Lousiana – USA Wrestling. He has been the coach for several All-Americans as a member of the Team Louisiana staff. Pinero also currently teaches English at St. Paul’s.