2003 Joseph Kaster  Lifetime Service  Janesville.gifJoe Kaster grew up in Cuba City, graduating from Cuba City High School in 1957. He went to UW-Platteville, graduated in January 1962 and received his Master's Degree in 1979 from UW-Whitewater.
Since neither Cuba City High School nor UW-Platteville offered wrestling, it wasn't until Joe got his first teaching job at Waterford High School that he was introduced to the sport. Despite his acknowledgement that he didn't know anything about wrestling, he was appointed assistant wrestling coach and one year later was made head coach.
Like many other coaches of that time, Joe turned to George Martin for help. He bought George's book and attended every fall clinic and summer camp that George held. This established a pattern that lasted as long as Joe coached. He attended every clinic he could get to, even travelling as far as Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and Tucson, Arizona.
During this 3 years as head coach at Waterford, Joe coached 6 individual conference champions. His 1965-66 team recorded a 9-2-1 dual meet record and received honorable mention in the Sweet 16 state rankings. Two of his Waterford wrestlers (Jerry Guth, Monroe and Peter Edwards, Reedsburg) went on to become successful high school wrestling coaches.
Joe left Waterford in 1966 to go to Big Foot High School in Walworth. He started the wrestling program there before moving on to Janesville Craig a year later.
For the next 21 years, Joe was head coach of the Cougars. During that time Craig had 33 individual conference champions, 20 state qualifiers, seven state medallists and 3 state finalists.
Fifteen of Joe's wrestling went on to compete in college, with 2 qualifying for the NCAA Division I national tournament and 8 qualifying for the NAIA national tournament. One wrestler, Fred Townsend, became an NAIA national champion from UW-Whitewater.
Joe's contributions to wrestling were not limited to coaching. For over 25 years he was a high school and college official. He officiated the 1989 WIAA state tournament, the 1979 NAIA National Tournament, the 1993 NCAA Division III National Tournament, and the 1991 and 1994 NCAA National Tournament. He also officiated UW-Madison's Northern Open 1970-1993.
Joe also worked hundreds of dual meets, invitational and conference tournaments. He was also active in officiating off the mat, as a charter member and past president of the Southern Wisconsin Wrestling Officials Association and an active member of the National Wrestling Officials Association.
In 1986 Joe became a reporter and columnist for The Crossface. He wrote his own column, covered Big Ten Tournaments, NCAA tournaments, the 1988 Seoul Olympics, 1990 Goodwill Games, the 1993 Olympic Festival and numerous other big meets. He has interviewed such notables as Cliff Keen, Bill Koll, Bill Nelson, Dale Thomas, Lee Kemp, Sergei Beloglazov and others.
Joe retired from coaching in 1987, from officiating after the 1993-94 season, and from teaching in January 1995. He started coaching again in November 1994 as the freshman wrestling coach under Bill O'Leary at Craig and intends to continue.