New Jasper coach preaches mindsetApril 28, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — New Jasper wrestling coach Alex Lee doesn’t want to make a bunch of changes to the program. Rather, he just wants to change the mentality of his wrestlers.
"They know how to wrestle," Lee said. "They have a winning mindset, they're very confident. Now, we just got to get their mindset transferred over to believing they're a contender in the state, and being a very strong program."
The Greater Jasper School Board approved the recommendation to hire Lee on Monday to take over the position. He replaces Jace Brescher after eight seasons at the helm.
“We want to thank Jace Brescher and his entire staff for everything that they’ve done over the years and the hard work and the dedication to our wrestling program and to put it in a position where it is an attractive position to fill,” Jasper athletic director Brian Lewis told the Herald on Tuesday.
Lewis felt Lee's high energy and intensity stood out as someone to bring to Jasper and lead the program to new heights.
This will be Lee’s first job as a head varsity coach. He's originally from New York and graduated from high school in North Carolina in 2008. Lee has served in the U.S. Army and was an assistant wrestling coach at Evansville North.
He won’t say he’s nervous about being a first time head coach at the varsity level, though - lauding the mentor that Huskies wrestling coach Billy Hewig is.
Lee are similarities he sees between the military and in wrestling.
“You have to do your part,” Lee said. “It’s huge that, especially for a wrestling program — it’s easy to go off on your own and do your own thing, and you probably won’t go too far. But if you actually do your part and push your teammates and things like that, you can become very successful.
“As far as being disciplined, waking up early in the mornings, doing the extra — you can see that you’re making yourself a better wrestler as well as a better person,” he continued. “Eating right, doing the right thing, making sure you’re healthy — if you’re in the military, you want to do those things so you always stay ready and ready to deploy and things like that.”
Lee hailed Jasper as a “beautiful community” and a place for him and his wife, Shannon, to make their home. Alex has talked with some of Jasper’s wrestlers, and he lauded them for being disciplined and respectful — where schoolwork won’t be an issue with them.
Alex is inheriting a program rich in tradition — one that has won 33 team sectional championships, and will hope to win more with him at the helm. The Wildcats haven’t won a team sectional since 2015, however.
He’ll also have some accomplished wrestlers to work with next year. Ashton Schuetter and Ian Giesler will both be seniors. Schuetter's won two individual sectional championships and has made it to semi-state three times. Giesler has won a sectional, qualified for semi-state two times, as has Jeb Prechtel, who will be a junior.
Jasper sent five to semi-state in 2020, and four in 2021, but the Wildcats haven’t had a state qualifier since Zach Flynn in 2019.
“For kids like that, it’s changing the mindset — really getting them to believe that they are definitely state qualifiers, state placers there at that level and they’re ready to do it,” Alex said.
Alex has served as the owner and coach of Intense Wrestling that’s based out of Evansville. He told the Herald that Intense Wrestling will still be a thing and still be year round, but now he wants to incorporate Jasper into things. Alex has considered possibly moving Intense Wrestling closer to town.
He said there will be talks before every practice and what practice means for the day. Alex is looking to hold a team meeting, and sitting down to talk with them and getting them to believe.
“I’m really excited to get started,” he said. “I just got the job, what, maybe two days ago, and I’m just ready to go. I’m excited — I can’t wait for November to show up, it can’t show up fast enough.”
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