Big Rapids wrestlers enter season with new coach

BIG RAPIDS — A familiar face to the wrestling program takes over as the Big Rapids Cardinal head coach.

Bruce Hoffman is in his first year of coaching the team.

“I have coached middle school wrestling at Big Rapids in the past on two different occasions,” Hoffman said. “I wrestled for Big Rapids, under (then coach) Bruce Miller. I graduated in 1992.”

Practices started in mid-November and Hoffman has been working on his roster.

“I’m just getting to know the team, I like what I see with some of the dedication and work so far,” he said. “It is difficult to determine what this team is capable of since I am new to them and they are new to me. Our numbers look a little small this year, but if they will work hard, we should see some success.”

Big Rapids opens its season in a quad at Kent City on Wednesday. Coopersvile and Newaygo will also be there.

“It’s early but the core group seems motivated and excited to wrestle,” Hoffman said. “Of course we are going to work on the basics and then improve on those. I would like to see the wrestlers swiftly move from one move to the next without hesitation.”

A long-time tradition continues with Cardinal Invitational the first weekend of the season, on  Dec. 9.

“We need to keep everyone healthy,” Hoffman said. “With the lower numbers we won’t have backups in most weight classes.”

The Central State Activities Association season opens at Tri County on Dec. 13. Big Rapids is at the Chippewa HIlls Invitational on Dec. 16 and at Montabella on Dec. 20

“I am really excited for this first season as the coach of the Cardinal wrestling team,” Hoffman said. “I think it will take a little time for the wrestlers to get used to my coaching, and some time for me to get to know how my wrestlers learn. Hopefully we will get it figured out in time to win some matches and be competitive this year.”



Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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