WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas wrestlers are mourning the loss of a well-known youth coach who helped train athletes across the nation.
People who worked with coach Mike Krause said he is remembered for his high energy, charisma and caring about his athletes.
He died suddenly in early October, but he’s still leaving a lasting impression on young wrestlers.
Initial intrigue turned into friendship for wrestling coaches Nate Blevins and Mike Krause.
“I was immediately like, ‘Who is this guy?'” said Nate Blevins, a youth wrestling coach at Triumph Wrestling Club in Wichita. “He’d come in. It’d be a full arena. He’d blow his whistle, and then boom, 500 kids would be on a knee listening to him and following his directions.”
Blevins said Krause had a vibrancy that people wanted to be around.
“There were people in our neighborhood that didn’t even know anything about wrestling but would say, ‘Oh, Coach Kraus is over, we’ll come have, we’ll go cook out.'”
His energy also ignited drive for his athletes, noticed by parents like Cassie West, whose 12-year-old son wrestles.
“It inspired new wrestlers and experienced wrestlers alike,” West said.
Krause gave students a place to belong.
“He made a lot of the kids feel special,” said West. “For example, my son… he would always come up with a new nickname for him based on his hair color. So one time he was bluey because he had blue hair, another time it was kind of faded, so he called him Aquaman.”
His death is leaving the wrestling community’s players, coaches and families across the country grappling with loss.
“It’s gonna be a tough year,” said Blevins. “I think as youth coaches, if we can live up to the standard that he set, we’ll be better for it.”
Krause’s family has not yet released the cause of his death, although they said it happened suddenly.
A tribute to Krause will be held at the December Warrior Clash wrestling event in Park City, where he used to lead the warm-up.