2014 Dennis Kosloski Manitowoc (Small).jpgDennis Kosloski was born and raised in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He is the oldest of two sons (brother Tim wrestled for the Hodags in the 70’s) raised by parents Victor and Hester Kosloski. Dennis graduated from Rhinelander Union High School with the class of 1967. He went on to attend the University of Wisconsin – Superior, graduating in the spring of 1971. He received a B. S. degree with a major Physical Education and a minor in Biology. Of interest is that on the same day he walked across the stage in the morning, to graduate from college; he walked down the church aisle in the afternoon, to marry his college classmate and fiancee, Alice Riggle.

After student teaching for the second semester of 1971 in Park Falls, Dennis moved his young family to Manitowoc, where they were to spend the rest of their lives to date. As a young teacher, “Kos” was an instructor in the physical education department and taught at both the junior and senior high school levels. Teaching and coaching assignments included many of the aquatics classes at Lincoln High School, head junior high wrestling coach at Wilson Jr. High, assistant and head coaching positions in football at the junior high and high school JV level, junior high golf coach, and a volunteer assistant coaching position at the high school level in track. During the early years of assisting in coaching sports in Manty, he was part of a track staff, who’s athletes won the 1976 WIAA state Div. I championship, and part of a Lincoln HS football staff that won 3 consecutive WIAA state titles in 1984-86.

Dennis and Alice began a family during the early 1970’s that was to grow to include four children and now includes 8 grandchildren, as well. Both parents are extremely proud of: oldest daughter, Jennifer (an often sought after clinician and teacher at the Valley New School in Appleton…), middle daughter, Emily (a Broadway performer in Les Miserables and on several TV shows, of late, living in LA…), youngest daughter, Allyson (a doctor of podiatric medicine practicing in Philadelphia…), and son, Michael (an electrical engineer who works in Minneapolis, and a 3-time FRVC champ, and a 100+ match winner for Lincoln…). Other wrestling coach’s wives will know approximately how many concession stands Alice has operated, and how many cheer squads advised, over Dennis’ 40 year career.

“Kos” became the head wrestling coach at Lincoln High following the retirement of Hall of Fame coach, Richard Frailing, in 1978. Having spent several years in the wrestling program under coach Frailing’s excellent tutelage, he was extremely excited to move to the head coach position. Other coaches who had a positive effect on his early coaching and teaching career in Manitowoc included, Lincoln track coach Earl Herbert, Manty football coach Ron Rubick, and Frank Granitz, who was Lincoln’s outstanding baseball coach.

As a young wrestler, growing up in northern Wisconsin in the 60’s, at a time when the sport of wrestling was in it’s infancy, it was difficult for school districts to find knowledgeable wrestling coaches. Dennis was extremely lucky to become part of a team directed by two excellent head coaches, Gerald Haney and John “Jack” Blosser, and outstanding assistant coach, Bill Chamernick. It was also a great learning time when he was able to attend one of the inaugural Badger Wrestling Schools, which were directed by then Badger’s coach George Martin. These coaches helped make the young Rhinelander program competitive in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, which was even then becoming one of the great wrestling conferences in the state. The Hodags managed a second place team finish in the 1964 WVC tournament, the school’s highest WVC finish ever.

Having been thoroughly “bitten” by the wrestling bug, Dennis joined the outstanding collegiate program that had been developed by coach Americo “Mertz” Mortorelli at UW-Superior. “Humbling” is the best word to describe what it was like to walk into a wrestling room that included high school state champion wrestlers from mostly New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio at that time. coach Bill McCreary, coach Ken Cox, and coach Joe Dowler contributed much valuable knowledge over those years. During those four seasons, the Yellowjackets won the WSUC team title 3 times and finished second the other year.

Upon becoming the head coach at Manitowoc Lincoln, one of the first things that became obvious to the young coach was the tremendous value of assistant coaches, and of the parents and fans of wrestling in Manitowoc. Many families contributed multiple sons (and some daughters, too…) to keep the program strong and growing. While multiple families worked very hard, one family in particular was known throughout the state. The Luedtke family contributed sons Mike, Bill, Dave, Jon, Al, Chip, and PJ and accounted for 1 state championship, 1 second, 2 thirds, and 6 other individual state qualifications and contributed 451 match victories to Lincoln’s remarkable history. Assistant coaches like Ron Rubick, Byrl Malmanger, Rod Figueroa, John Pethan, Vince Miller, and others gave untotaled hours to the Manitowoc Kids Wrestling program over the years. The legacy of state champions David Meister, Mike Meunier, B J Rubick, and Chase Wetenkamp continues at Manty.

After completing the 1996 high school season, “coach Kos” tried college coaching for four years. As the head coach at Lakeland College, again the word “humbling” came into play. The young athletes at Lakeland were amazing in their work ethic, scholastic achievement, and wrestling success. During the 1996 Lake Michigan Collegiate Conference tournament, Lakeland wrestlers won four LMCC individual titles which stands as the most ever won in a season. At the NCAA Div. III West Regional at the University of Chicago in 1998, by placing 2nd in his weight class, Dominic Schanen became the first athlete in any sport in the history of Lakeland College to qualify for a berth in an NCAA tournament. Dom also graduated as a two-time academic All-American.

Dennis believes one of the most intense and proud moments a coach can experience, happens when, at the international level, a team stand together as the USA national anthem is being played in a foreign country. In 1982, he had the chance to do just that, 6 times, with a remarkable group of undefeated athletes. He gives special thanks to them.

Coach Kosloski has participated in several “hobbies” over the years. He is the principal 1st clarinet player/concertmaster of the UW Lakeshore Wind Ensemble; plays guitar and saxophone; has been a regatta winning sailor in two sailboat racing classes; has been a WIAA, and an AAU/USA Wrestling Freestyle/Greco referee for 42 years; and has worked as the waterfront director for Camp Menominee for Boys for 41 summers teaching swimming, waterskiing, sailing, and windsurfing.

Dennis is particularly grateful for his life with Alice and his kids. Without them, nothing would have been possible. He loves them greatly because family is everything.