Ladd Rupp is returning to Perry High School -- the place where he won four Oklahoma state wrestling titles before going off to Oklahoma State -- to become head coach of the Maroon mat program, the Stillwater News Press reported Saturday.
Rupp, who most recently coached at Cushing High in central Oklahoma, replaces Ronnie Delk who announced in early June that he was leaving the helm of one of the nation's winningest prep programs to be an assistant coach at Bentonville High School in Arkansas.
"I'm very, very honored and flattered to be blessed with this opportunity, that's for sure," Rupp told the Stillwater paper. "I can remember going and watching high school duals in Perry when I was in grade school, thinking back then that it would be a dream come true to be the coach. It's been a dream of mine for a very long time."
Rupp will be returning to a familiar wrestling room. What's more, to help ease the transition, current Perry assistant coach Jared Minor will remain in that position.
"I was very, very thankful that he (Minor) wanted to stay," Rupp said. "… He was there to bridge the gap between me and the boys. I think him being there provided that comfort level because you could see some of the guys wanting to ask me something, but they didn't want to step on my toes, so they would go to him and he'd come to me so I could then approach the kids about it. Obviously, having him stay and already knowing the boys was great, but he's also just a great coach."
Rupp, who graduated from Perry in 2009, is one of just three Maroon wrestlers to have won four state championships in the long, successful history of the program, having won his titles consecutively from 2006 through 2009 under coach Scott Chenoweth, who, like Rupp, wrestled for Perry before becoming head coach.
After graduating from Perry, Rupp headed over to Oklahoma State, where he wrestled for legendary coach John Smith, compiling a 15-3 overall record, with five falls.
Rupp returns to head up a wrestling program that has a rich legacy going back more than 90 years. Located in the small town of Perry in north-central Oklahoma -- about halfway between Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas -- the Perry Maroon mat program has tallied remarkable accomplishments, especially for a high school that has just over 300 students, including 43 Oklahoma state championship teams ... 20 dual state champion teams ... and 112 individual state champions ... not to mention two Olympic medalists: Jack VanBebber (gold medal, 1932 Los Angeles Olympics) and Dan Hodge (silver medal, 1956 Melbourne Olympics).
What's more, just this past season, the Perry Maroons won their 1,000th dual meet… an accomplishment only a handful of high school wrestling programs in the nation can match.