Brookfield East's new wrestling coach Mike Weller is hoping his athletes will respond to his passion and enthusiasm for the sport he coaches.
"I would like to think that passion and enthusiasm rubs off on my wrestlers," he said. "That's how I get kids turned on to the sport. I get them out and that's what keeps them out. I think that has been an influence on my wrestling career."
Weller has credited wrestling coaches Tom Sobocinski, Keith Morin and Tom Wozniak as being mentors to him throughout his wrestling and coaching career.
"I love the sport and I love teaching it and love to talk about it with people who love it as as much as I do," he said.
Weller, 37, graduated from Greenfield High School in 1995 and he helped out with the program for five years after he graduated (1995-2000) before becoming an assistant coach in 2001.
He became the Greenfield Middle School head coach in 2002 and remained there through the 2013 season.
He is looking forward to helping rebuild the Spartans wrestling program, which had struggled with numbers the past few years.
But he is familiar with Josh Dempsey and PJ LeClaire, his two star wrestlers, who are returning this season.
"I saw the kids wrestle at the sectionals these last couple of years," Weller said. "Some of their wrestlers just really stood out, how hard they competed.
"Josh Dempsey, both of the LeClaires, they're outstanding athletes."
Not being in the school, Weller spoke about how recruiting is one of his strengths.
"In the middle school they had about 20 kids a year," he recalled. "I built it up to 30 kids a year. I leaned on other coaches, especially football coaches, to get their linemen out. I used the good old fashion sign up sheets, flyers in the hallways, I would talk to teachers. When I get them out, I don't lose many kids."
Weller had another connection in Brookfield, a former classmate, Chris Demos, the head wrestling coach at crosstown rival Central.
"Chris spoke very highly of the community," he said. "He's building something great over at Brookfield Central. That should add some pepper to the rivalry. A couple former teammates, in addition to the natural rivalry."
When asked what he felt was his greatest strength, Weller didn't hesitate.
"Communication," he said. "And I'm a great listener. I also feel a good evaluator when it comes to talent, organizations. I'm always looking for ways to make things better."
Which is just what the doctor ordered for the Spartans.
Brookfield East will have a combination reception/banquet for new wrestling coach Mike Weller on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 2:30 p.m. at Mozzaluna in Brookfield. The wrestlers will also receive their awards from the 2013-14 season.
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