Aurora police officer Joe Orosco doubles as Kaneland’s wrestling coach. Or is it the other way around?
Addressing his plans for the program after his recent approval by Kaneland District 302, Orosco used rhetoric that might jolt a crop of new cadets as well as a mat room full of Knights.
“My big thing is preparation,” Orosco said. “Preparation as a coach is going to help me with their preparation as wrestlers. As long as I’ve got my ducks in a row, I think we can get them prepared for hitting that next level and beyond.”
Kaneland restored some prominence to the program under former Knight Monty Jahns, who retired – for good – at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
Leaving his alma mater initially was Jahns’ plan a year earlier, but he returned after apparent successor Jeremy Kenny elected to take a position in Plano District 88.
Orosco applied for the opening in December, interviewed in April and quickly ascended a top the list of approximately 20 candidates. Although he is not a faculty member, Orosco has a son, Nathan, who is an incoming eighth-grader at Harter Middle School, and coached many of Kaneland’s freshmen-to-be with the Kaneland Knights Wrestling Club.
“The thing that really stood out was just how he was focused on the kids have to have their educations before anything,” incoming Kaneland athletic director Peter Goff said. “Wrestling is just an extension of the classroom, and he just wants to bring his 19 years of experience of coaching the sport at all levels, to bring it to Kaneland High School.”
A 1991 graduate of East Aurora, Orosco served as an assistant at his alma mater for a few seasons, which led him to a later stint as an assistant for the Martinez Fox Valley Elite club.
Throughout his stops, whether he has guided his son or someone else, Orosco has found the value of positive reinforcement.
“These kids are capable of so much and they push themselves so much and so hard that I think all they need is that guidance,” Orosco said.
Orosco’s dayside schedule allows him to be available for afternoon workouts and evening duals, and also gives him Fridays and Saturdays off.
He already has signed the team up for a four-day camp at the Wisconsin Dells’ Chula Vista Resort later this month.
“It’s going to be a good glimpse of what to expect,” Orosco said, “and I’m hoping these guys are ready and prepared.”
Change ahead: Goff officially will begin his Kaneland tenure July 1, as he transitions from his role as Sycamore dean of students.
His loyalties overlapped Wednesday, as Sycamore’s Colan Treml threw a no-hitter to defeat the Kaneland baseball team, 1-0, in a Class 3A Rochelle Sectional semifinal.
Goff attended the game and spoke with Knights coach Brian Aversa afterward. The Spartans advanced to Saturday’s sectional championship.
“Wish them the best of luck, and I’ll be following them, because I’m here until July 1,” Goff said. “Or June 30.”
Kaneland interim athletic director Ralph Drendel worked his last day Monday.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.