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Radabaugh to retire as EHS wrestling coach

Jack Radabaugh has held up this first place state championship trophy five times as head coach.

EL PASO - After 36 seasons leading the Ellsworth High School wrestling program, head coach Jack Radabaugh announced his retirement from coaching during the team's banquet Monday evening at the El Paso Bar and Grill.

Ellsworth assistant coach Chad Steldt has Radabaugh's strong recommendation to be named the next head coach. The job will be posted as per district procedure and a new coach chosen by June.

Starting next season Radabaugh said "he will still be around" in some capacity with the program, in the same fashion as former long-time Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln head coach Lewie Benitz is with the Raiders' program while son Scott Benitz is the head coach.

"It's time for a change and I know Chad is going to do an outstanding job, Radabaugh said. "And I will be around to help wherever and whenever I can."

Steldt had been an assistant with the varsity program the past few seasons and before then coached the middle school program with Jim Hauschildt.

Radabaugh has compiled an overall record of 463-89-4. He has been the head coach for 24 Middle Border Conference titles, 27 regional championships, 20 sectional titles and all of Ellsworth's state championships. Under his tenure Ellsworth has collected 17 individual state championships, including two this past season along with the state titles and 94 state place winners.

The Hastings native and Minnesota State-Mankato grad was an assistant to the program's founder Kirby Symes during the early the 1970s and took over during the 1975-76 season when Symes stepped down to focus full-time on his duties as EHS' athletic director. He coached Ellsworth to its first state team title in 1985 in Class B

"They're all special, but you remember the first one especially," Radabaugh said after winning the school's fifth title in this past winter.

He also coached EHS to the state boys' golf championship in 2000 being only one of two coaches in state history ever to coach two state championships in one season.

Radabaugh is a member of both the Wisconsin and National wresting halls of fame.