BELGRADE, Minn. (WCCO) – A well-respected and much-loved wrestling coach was remembered in a unique way on Saturday.
Rich Vos started an old-timer’s wrestling tournament in Belgrade last year. This fall, Vos was killed while biking to school.
The tournament, held at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa High School (BBE), has now been renamed in his honor.
Very few people could talk a bunch of former wrestlers in their 30s and 40s to come out on a Saturday and beat up on each other.
But then again, very few people are like Rich Vos.
“Rich was one of the most humble people I know,” said Rich’s wife, Beth.
As humble as he was, Vos was a competitor. So the long-time wrestling coach and eigth grade math teacher started an old-timer’s tournament last year.
This year’s tournament featured a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help create a scholarship in Vos’s name.
Beth Vos says the positivity was palpable.
“Sitting out there a little bit ago, seeing all the smiles on these guys. You aren’t sure if it’s nerves or whatever. There’s positive stuff coming out of today. It’s good stuff. There’s lots of positive feedback,” she said.
Among those competing was Vos’s brother, who won his first match.
B.J. Friedrichs coached with Vos at BBE. He says the coach always had a question for his wrestlers – what do you want your legacy to be? The question has found its way onto t-shirts made in the coach’s memory.
“I miss the man. I mean, he’s a great friend, great comrade. The last time I saw him was on my birthday,” Friedrichs said.
With every takedown and every pin, that legacy is building. And all because of a man who was loved not just as a coach and teacher – but as a friend, a husband, and a father.
“Wrestling in general has been, you know, a great family community. And then when you lose somebody like Rich, everybody in the wrestling community – they come out and it’s overwhelming support,” he said.
Friedrichs says the BBE wrestlers ran to Vos’s grave the first day of practice to honor the coach.
Over 100 wrestlers attended Saturday’s tournament. Vos was an advocate for students going to college, so a scholarship in his name will support the effort.