DeRoehn returns to Lakeland to take over men’s wrestling program

Courtesy of Lakeland Athletics – Link

Lakeland University has landed a big fish to lead the Muskies men’s wrestling program.

Veteran wrestling coach Mike DeRoehn, a familiar face on the NCAA Division III wrestling scene, is returning to Lakeland as head men’s wrestling coach and director of strength and conditioning for LU athletics.

DeRoehn brings a wealth of experience, highlighted by successful head coach roles at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and UW-Oshkosh in addition to Lakeland.

He also has a passion for helping people, especially student-athletes, maximize their physical fitness. He returns to LU after serving as health & fitness coordinator this past school year for the Two Rivers School District, where his wife, Nicole, is a special education teacher.

“That year off from college coaching provided me a good chance to evaluate some things in my life and just how much I love coaching,” said DeRoehn, who lives with his wife, a 2012 Lakeland graduate, and daughters Madalynn and Audrey in Nicole’s hometown of Two Rivers. “And now to have the opportunity to come full circle with Lakeland and do so with our family living right where we want to be is a special opportunity.

“I’m excited to get to work on revitalizing the wrestling program and eventually want to help return us to being competitive regionally and nationally. We did this work before and I’m confident we can get back there. I’m always learning and trying to get better as a coach, but building successful programs is something I’ve done before, so I’m confident in my ability to hit the ground running.”

DeRoehn’s first tenure at Lakeland saw him serve as assistant athletic director, head men’s wrestling coach and strength & conditioning coach from the fall of 2010 through the 2013-14 school year.

He led the development of the first dedicated wrestling space at Lakeland in the program’s history, and he established and led the Muskie Tough strength and conditioning program for all Lakeland student-athletes. He led the wrestling team to the Northern Wrestling Conference Championship in 2011 & 2012, trained the sixth and seventh NCAA qualifiers in school history and Scholar All Americans in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He also held several leadership positions off the mat.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Mike back to Lakeland,” said LU Director of Athletics April Arvan. “He is a proven, passionate leader with a track record of having a positive impact in whatever areas he is involved. We cannot wait to work again with him, and I am especially excited for our student-athletes whose lives he will impact.”

At Two Rivers, DeRoehn established Raider TRained, a long-term athletic development program for grades 7-12 with over 150 participants in the first year. His program became one of only 40 schools nationally to earn recognition as a “Program of Excellence” by the National High School Strength Coaches Association. He also created the Raider Challenge, a staff health and wellness program with 40-plus participants.

“Developing as a strength and conditioning professional is an area where I have really grown since I was here before,” DeRoehn said. “To have the opportunity to truly build a sports performance department at Lakeland and establish a core philosophy and continuity in training methods across all programs is very exciting.

“The work we will do can help all our athletic programs continue to climb the ladder of success, one rung at a time. It has the unique ability to make a positive impact on the entire athletic department and subsequently a positive impact on the entire university.”

DeRoehn left Lakeland for UW-Platteville where he served seven years as head men’s wrestling coach, strength & conditioning coach and staff development coordinator.

He immediately reinvigorated the program from the bottom of the conference to consistently ranking in the top 25 in NCAA Division III. His tenure included coaching 16 NCAA Qualifiers, 15 Scholar All-Americans and the first NCAA Finalist in UW-Platteville history.

Off the mat, he led a $30,000 revitalization of UW-Platteville wrestling room, earned the 2017 “Best of Brand” award from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and created and facilitated Headlocking Hunger, an annual community service event which engaged the entire athletic department to benefit local and campus food pantries, as well as Sharpen the Axe, a monthly, department-wide staff development program.

DeRoehn was head men’s wrestling coach at UW-Oshkosh from 2005-10, leading the program to consistent Top 25 national rankings with multiple NCAA qualifiers. During that same period, he also served as the state coach for the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation from 2006-10. During his tenure, Team Wisconsin won three national championships and DeRoehn earned recognition with USA Wrestling as the Junior National Coach of the Year as well as the Kids/Cadet Person of the Year.

He received a master’s degree in educational leadership from UW-Oshkosh and a bachelor’s in physical education from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, N.H.

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