ALTAMONT — Wrestling at Labette County High School is revamping with a new head coach for the boys program.
Chas Thompson, a Parsons High School and Labette Community College wrestling alum that spent the previous 12 season as head coach of the wrestling program at Fort Hays State University, has been hired as the new head coach of the LCHS boys wrestling team.
Labette County is splitting its wrestling program into a boys and girls program just one season after KSHSAA officially sanctioned girls wrestling and held its first girls state tournament. Jason Storm, who was the head coach of the entire wrestling program for Labette County, will remain as the girls head coach.
“We were looking to the future as our girls program grew to splitting and having two separate programs,” Storm said. “When the opportunity to bring someone in like Chas, we saw it as the perfect time to make the move.”
Labette County Athletic Director Sean Price said the opportunity to hire Thompson developed quickly.
“We had an elementary physical education job open and this fell in our lap,” Price said. “We brought Chas down here after we reached out to him. I’m really familiar with him and he’s a type of person we want with our kids. He’s a quality person and a great wrestling coach.”
Thompson resigned from Fort Hays State in late May after 12 seasons. He accrued a 91-77-1 dual record and coached 12 wrestlers to 17 All-American honors. Twice Thompson guided Fort Hays State to 12th-place finishes at the NCAA championships.
Thompson said he chose to step down from Fort Hays State to move closer to family.
“My wife and I wanted to slow things down. I know it’ll be a tough transition because I loved coaching at the collegiate level,” Thompson said. “But when COVID-19 hit, we started looking to make a change. We actually looked around in Ohio for jobs that are closer to her family, but then I got contacted by some people at USD 506.”
Thompson credited Storm for leaving a solid, growing foundation for the boys wrestling program he will inherit.
“The numbers are going up and have been under Storm,” Thompson said. “Now I want to see how many guys we can get on the podium. I want some state medalists and eventually state champions on our wall.”
Price also tipped his cap to Storm for helping facilitate the opportunity for a former NCAA head coach to take over the boys program.
“For Jason to help facilitate this, my hat’s off to him,” Price said. “Our girls program had an outstanding state tournament. We just got lucky.”
For Storm, he now takes control of a girls program that saw two state medalists in 2020.
“We had other girls close to qualifying for state last year,” Storm said. “I’ve got a great group of freshmen girls coming in and some of them have some real experience. It’s going to have to be an accelerated growth curve for them. We’ll have the opportunity to have that growth.”
Thompson said he and Storm will work closely together in developing a comprehensive plan for wrestling at Labette County.
“I’ve known Storm, from a distance at least, for quite a while now,” Thompson said. “We’ll work hand-in-hand and not stepping on each other’s toes. We’ve meshed well so far. But it’ll be an interesting dynamic.”
Thompson said he also holds nothing but positive memories from his time at Fort Hays State.
“I loved my time there,” Thompson said. “I still talk with a lot of former wrestlers. It was hard to walk away. But it’s a beautiful town and great university. They got a great new hire, so I’m pumped to see what happens with that program up there. I’ll push kids to go there.”