MOORHEAD-Moorhead announced Wednesday, May 24, Kenard Booker as the new head wrestling coach for the Spuds, pending school board approval June 12.
Booker was a college wrestling coach for eight years between being head coach at Bacone College (Okla.) and an assistant coach at the the University of Mary in Bismarck, where he also wrestled. In all, he coached 46 All-Americans and two teams to runner-up finishes at the NAIA national championships.
He's tired of finishing second.
"I need a first place," Booker said. "That's kind of the selfish part. To come back and see if i can push these guys to aspire to winning state championships."
Booker is from Del City, Okla., and finished fourth at 141 pounds in 1988 at Del City High School. Booker was an All-American, four-time national qualifier and finished third nationally at 150 pounds as a senior at Mary. After his college career, Booker was an assistant coach for three years at Mary before coaching three years at Bacone College.
Booker started a wrestling academy in Oklahoma in 2005 until moving to the Fargo-Moorhead area for an associate director job at North Dakota State University in 2015. Booker has a son, Kobe, who wrestles for Moorhead and a 10-year-old son, Kendall, who will also most likely wrestle for the Spuds.
"It's more than just coaching my sons," Booker said. "I actually came in and volunteered a lot of time with all of the Spud wrestlers. I felt like it was a good feeling that I knew all of the guys, and I knew they were willing to accept my experience and background and know that all my intentions are good in getting them to the next level."
Booker takes over Skip Toops, who took a job coaching and teaching at Pierz High School (Minn.)
"Kenard has a wealth of experience at all levels," Moorhead athletic director Dean Haugo said. "He's had much success at the collegiate level. He has a really good vision and focus for how to continue to grow the program."