Saturday, July 6, 2013
Fort Dorchester recently lost the coach that built the Patriot wrestling team into a championship program but his replacement is cut from the same cloth.
B.D. LaPrad, who led the Patriots to two state championships and several other state-finals appearances, has left Fort Dorchester to take a position at River Bluff High School in Lexington. The coach cited an offer too good to pass up and the fact that he has family in the area as the driving forces behind his decision.
His son, Ben LaPrad, has taken over as the head coach for the Fort wrestling program.
“We hate losing B.D. because he did such a great job for us but Ben has been his assistant coach for several years so we feel it will be a smooth transition,” Fort Dorchester Athletic Director Steve LaPrad said.
Ben LaPrad joined the Patriot coaching staff nine years ago so he was a part of both state championship teams (2006-07 and 2009-10). Prior to that, he was an accomplished college and high school wrestler.
Despite breaking his arm and missing most of his sophomore season at Dutch Fork High School he tallied nearly 160 wins on the mat. He earned an individual state wrestling championship in the 130-pound weight class in his final year with the Silver Foxes and was named the 1988-99 Class AAAA Senior Wrestler of the Year.
He earned a wrestling scholarship and went on to wrestle at both Iowa Central College and Anderson College. After working his way into a Top 10 Division II ranking, an injury cut his wrestling career short.
Considering the success the Patriot program has experienced in recent years he knows the expectations for him will be high but LaPrad says he is excited about taking over for his father.
“I wasn’t certain the school was going to offer me the position so I’m glad they did,” LaPrad said. “I feel honored they want me to take over. I’ve really enjoyed working with the kids here. I think Fort Dorchester is a special place and it takes a special kind of coach to get the job done here. There is pressure on me but I think I deal well with pressure so I’m excited to see what happens.”
He comes from a family rich in wrestling history. In addition to the titles at Fort Dorchester, his father coached state championship teams at Irmo and Dutch Fork. His uncle (Steve LaPrad) coached the Summerville wrestling team to several state titles and is a former collegiate All-American. His cousin and assistant wrestling coach, Brent LaPrad, was a state-champion high school wrestler and has also been around the sport his entire life. His brother-in-law is also a wrestling coach.
Fort Dorchester has added two-time All-American wrestler and three-time high school champion Darrel Brown as an assistant coach so there will be no shortage of places for LaPrad to turn to for advice.
“The years I spent wrestling for my dad and coaching with him are definitely going to help me and I’ve been fortunate to have been around a lot of good people who I’ve learned from,” LaPrad said. “They have taught me what it takes to compete at a high level.”
Of course, he wants to put his own stamp on the Patriot program.
“There is nothing my dad did that I wouldn’t do but I think I will relate to the kids in a different way,” he said. “I’m younger and have a different way of explaining things so I’m hoping the wrestlers will respond well to it. We have a good group of guys so if we put our heads down and work hard we should do well. We have an All-American coming back, some wrestlers who were injured last season and some promising young guys so we are setting high goals.”
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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