When Mark Lardy made the move to Bismarck in 2002, the possibility of head coaching one of the most powerful teams in North Dakota in any sport wasn’t really on the radar. Lardy left his head wrestling coaching job at Oakes High School for a math position at Wachter Middle School and the opportunity to be nearer to his family in the Beach and Dickinson area. Upon arrival, he was recruited to spearhead the Wachter wrestling team as well.
“Scott Knowlen got me into the coaching job at Wachter,” Lardy noted, “and from there (Coach Knowlen) taught me a lot about how to operate a program and continuing to strive to be the best.”
Now, after 15 years in the Demon system and multiple role changes later, Lardy will be listed a co-head coach along with longtime front man Jeff Schumacher for the 2017-18 wrestling season. The opportunity to coach the most dominant wrestling program in state history isn’t one that Lardy takes lightly, but giving himself fully to Demon wrestling is something he has felt pushed to for some time now.
“It’s extremely humbling to be chosen for this role,” Lardy stated to NDwrestle over the phone. “I felt called to continue pursuing my passion, and it evolved into this position that I’ve gotten to now.”
Lardy’s appreciation for coaching partner Jeff Schumacher, as well as the rest of the strong Demons staff, was clear throughout our conversation.
“With (Schumacher), every day in the room is a clinic,” Lardy stated. “Jeff is a man who puts in countless hours in the room for minimal pay because he has the passion for the sport and kids. We have and and will have our differences, but when you know the guy you are working with isn’t in it for himself but for the development and betterment of the wrestler, it’s a win win.”
Though Lardy is changing positions in all official capacities, dont expect much to change for the Demons this year or in the future. Lardy was clear that the Demon program, was, is, and always will be based on a team coaching philosophy at its core.
“Demon wrestling isn’t just Jeff and I, but an entire coaching staff of great people including Travis Lang, Scott Owens, Dallas Heid, and Moses Tamali; as well as others behind the scenes that want to continue to keep this program great. When you have the number of players, I feel like one piece in a puzzle moreso than someone in a leading role.”
Lardy also maintains roles with USA Wrestling of North Dakota as the NCEP (National Coaches Education Program) and Matpac wrestling club as Vice President and coach.
The Demons will start the season as they always do, with a dual against Mandan High at home next Tuesday.